Students, teachers go herb hunting; schools shut

MUGU: Schools, health posts and service centres have remained shut for a week in Karan area of the district as the locals, teachers and staffers are busy collecting yarshagumba in the upper reaches of the imalayan region.

A secondary school, a lower secondary school, 16 primary schools, five health posts, two agricultural offices and two livestock offices of Magri, Pulu, Krimi, Mugu and Dolfu village development committees have been shut as the students and teachers of the schools and the administrative staff are away collecting the precious herb.

Dattatriya Adhikari, principal, Buddha Secondary School in Magri, said, "We have shut the schools as all the teachers and students have left the village for collecting yarshagumba.

Locals said one could earn anything between Rs 10,000 and a lakh per month in the season. According to Sonam Lama, a Pulu local, the teachers, students and other school staff are lured by handsome income.

He said the gold rush had not spared even the government staffers.

Last year, Mugu VDC collected Rs 5 million in revenue from yarshagumba pickers. Yarshagumba is primarily exported to China.

Some local traders still have last year's stock as the Chinese did not come to buy it due to Olympics.

Students of Jumla, Kalikot, Jajarkot and Bajura districts have also ventured out to make the most of the windfall.