BY HARI KRISHNA AIDI,Mugu, Mar. 8: Believe it or not, people in Karmarong Rural Municipality of Mugu district have to walk for two days to reach Gamgadhi, the district headquarters, to get 5kg salt at subsidised rate!
The municipality lies near Nepal-China border in the northern part of the district. They have to walk for two days to reach the depot of the Salt Trading Corporation (STC) in Gamgahdhi in order to receive the salt provided by the government in subsidy.
The depot provides only five kilograms of salt per person at a time. Since there has been no STC depot office in the municipality, the locals have to travel to the headquarters just to receive the salt.
Tundul Lama, a local, informed that when the border was open before the COVID-19 pandemic, he used to bring salt from China, but after the pandemic, the border has remained closed, forcing him to walk to the district headquarters to get the salt.
Futik Tamang, another local, said that he had to walk for two days and paid Rs. 1,400 in transportation fare to reach the Gamgadhi to receive the subsidised salt. He complained that even after reaching STC deport, he could not get enough salt.
Meanwhile, acting administration officer Khadak Bahadur Rokaya informed that the district had been receiving 3,200 quintals of salt at the subsidised rate every year.
Of these, 1,000 quintals are handed out to the depot office of Soru Rural Municipality, 1,000 quintals to the depot office of Khatyad Rural Municipality and the remaining 1,200 quintals to the district headquarters, he added.
They had only 950 quintals of salt in the district depot for the distribution till October, he said. "For the convenience of the locals of the Karmarong Rural Municipality, they had reached an agreement that the deport will distribute the salt in the rural municipality if it bears the transportation cost,” he said.
The rural municipality’s administrative officer Subash Rawal said that they were planning to bear the transportation cost of supplying salt from the district headquarters to the rural municipality.
The STC depot has been selling subsidised salt at the rate of Rs. 9 per kilogram. Rup Bahadur Malla, coordinator of the District Civil Society, said that it was necessary for the depot to provide salt easily to the locals and other concerned bodies. He added that the yearly subsidy was not enough for the locals and it should be increased soon.