Two Yarshagumba collectors killed

Mahendranagar, May 21:

Two Yarshagumba collectors were killed while thousands of them had to halt collection due to continuous snowfall on Monday and Tuesday.

Twenty-year-old Birendra Singh of Darchula’s Dhari VDC-5, who had gone to collect Yarshagumba, died of altitude sickness. Singh, a Grade XII student of Mahendra Higher Secondary School at headquarters Khalanga, breathed his last while he was being taken to a hospital, Darchula district police office said.

Another Yarshagumba collector, 43-year-old Banki Kunwar of Chhapari Dhar village, who had gone to Sitola VDC’s Saptaganga highland to collect the prized herb, fell to death from a cliff, Sippti resident Karbir Thagunna told THT over telephone.

As major areas for Yarshagumba collection — Dudhiwan, Humdumti, Tilchhade, Dharmaghar, Bachali, Sataganga, Chaimate including the lakes of 50 VDCs — are under heavy snow, many youths have returned to their villages while children and women were sheltering near the lakes.

Narapati Thekar who climbed down from Khandeshwori’s Dharmaghar peak today after the snowfall, told THT over phone that 5,000 Yarshagumba collectors have descended from the highlands.

Stating that many villagers have returned due to the snowfall, Darchula CDO Yagyaraj Bohara said the incidents of death were yet to be confirmed.

District Forest Office at Darchula had collected Rs 57,27500 from the revenue of Yarshagumba

last year. The government has been taking Rs 10,000 tax for a kg of Yarshagumba.

A report from Sankhuwasabha said Yarshagumba collection came to a halt here yesterday due to snowfall. After the snowfall, hundreds of people, out to collect the herb, have taken refuge in houses of locals, said a local of Makalu VDC. Others are stranded at Num, Makalu, Pathibhara and other VDCs, locals said.

With the melting of snow, hundreds of people from different parts of the district head to a dozen VDCs, including Makalu, Hatiya, Chepuwa, Kimathanka, Pawakhola, Yafu, Diding, Mantewa, Wala and Sisuwa to collect the herb. Last year, people had complained about rampant smuggling of the herb, saying that the Makalu Barun National Park was to blame for it.