Officials have permitted locals of Manang district to collect yarsagumba (Cordyceps synensis) amid the COVID-19 scare.

Authorities said that they issued the permit for yarsa collection in order to give a boost to the economy of the district, which has been hit hard by the present health crisis.

Locals of Namke Kharka are charged Rs 2,000 as permit fee, while Dingsyang locals will have to pay Rs 30,000.

Yarsa collection in the area had been banned last year as the infection rate had reached the peak during this time, said Chief of Annapurna Conservation Area, Lekhnath Gautam.

Economic crisis has hit the locals following the COVID outbreak.

So the ban on yarsa picking, a major source of income for the local people, has been lifted this year, he said.

A meeting of the local crisis management centre attended by representatives of local levels, the district administration office, Nepal Police and Armed Police Force took a decision to allow the locals to collect yarsa, said Chairperson of the CMC Yad Ghale.

Meanwhile, the district administration office has urged yarsa pickers to follow health protocols.

A version of this article appears in the print on April 27, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.