Retailers run loot scheme on government grant salt

BAJURA: It has been revealed that edible salt procured by Salt Trading Corporation under government grant is traded with black marketers and the latter sell it to villagers at exorbitant prices.

According to local Bhuwan Thapa of Budhiganga Municipality, Salt Trading’s Bajura depot sells salt directly to local retailers who in turn sell it to consumers.

The salt under Bhanu brand purchased by the retailers costs Rs 9 per kg and is traded at Rs 25 per kg in the market.

According to a local entrepreneur, despite knowing that the relatively less expensive salt is procured for consumers under government grant, businessmen purchase it as employees of the depot sell it to them.

“We sell the salt as per necessity; we have sold quantities up to two quintal. However, we have no information on whether the salt is purchased by black marketers or others,” Mahabir Saud, an employee at the depot said. “We sell it at Rs 9 per kg and we do not know what happens at the market.”

On the contrary, locals of rural municipalities in the district say that they purchase the same salt at Rs 25 per kg.

“We pay Rs 25 for a kilogram of salt and are not aware about who sells it,” Bhana Thapa of Khaptad, Chededaha Rural Municipality said.

Three different brands of salt -- Shakti, Aayo and Bhanu -- are traded in Nepal. Shakti and Aayo brands are allowed to be traded at the market whereas Salt Trading Corporation mandates the sale of Bhanu salt to direct consumers at cheaper prices under government procurement grant.

“Purchase or sale of Bhanu salt for trade at the market is direct black marketeering,” Bajura Chief District Officer Chet Raj Baral said. “We have questioned the depot employees and will take actions against those if they are found to be guilty.”