By Chandra Pandak Taplejung, May 2: Local businessmen have collected 35 tonnes of Dhupi leaves (Juniperus communis) in Taplejung this fiscal year. According to the Division Forest Office (DFO), businesses collect the herb, which is only found in mountainous regions of the district, and sell them in markets inside and outside the district. Forester Sita Yogi informed that individuals were required to pay Rs. 2 for each kilogram of the Dhupi they collected as permit fees. “Many people have applied for the permits and we have already raised Rs. 37,000 in revenue from permit fees this fiscal year,” she said. “People are motivated to collect the leaves because they fetch good prices in the market,” shared Pasang Sherpa, a Dhupi leaf trader in Papung, Mikwakhola Rural Municipality–5. “We buy the collected leaves at Rs. 60 per kilogram and sell them in the markets of Darjeeling and Sikkim.” Sherpa informed that the leaves were transported to the district headquarters Phungling by yaks. “Then the DFO completes all the necessary processes and exports them to India through the Pashupatinagar border point of Ilam where they sell for up to Rs. 160 per kilogram,” Sherpa said. Dhupi is used to make incense for religious worship and is processed to make oil and various medicines. The herb is collected from Papung in Mikwakhola Rural Municipality, Lelep, Gyabla, Phale, Ghunsa and Olangchungola in Phaktanglung Rural Municipality and Yamphudin in Sirijangha Rural Municipality.