TIKAPUR, May 25: People in the bordering villages of Kailali district have been consuming substandard salt which is smuggled into the country from India via the porous border. Indians have been supplying the non-iodized salt in the bordering villages on their bicycles.
Locals are attracted to this type of illegally imported salt due to its cheapness and the option of bartering it with grains, scrap metals and plastic waste. Most of them are not aware that non-iodized salt is not good for health.
“We have no idea as to what type of salt is fit for consumption,” a local from Bhajani Municipality, Bajire Saud said, “We have been consuming such salt since the time of our forefathers,”
“India has been producing non-iodized salt for industrial use. Such salt is generally used in the manufacture process of leather products. Packaged in packets of iodized salts, such salt is sold in the bordering areas of Nepal,” head of Salt Trading Corporation (Dhangadi) Keshav Prasad Pandey said.
“The salt smuggling takes place in the villages bordering with India,” he added, “People from both countries (India and Nepal) are involved in this,”
“They enter Nepal freely. No one stops them,” a local from Tikapur Municipality, Setraj Buda said about the traders. He further added, “It is our fault too because we have been using the salt they sell.”
Iodized Salt (Production, Sale and Distribution) Act, 1998 restricts the import of salt by organizations not permitted to do so. Only the Salt Trading Corporation has been authorized to import salt in Nepal. Salt import by any other individual or organization is prohibited by the law.
Salt Trading Corporation has complained that police offices in the bordering areas have not been paying attention to the problem. According to Pandey, such leniency from the police is suspicious.
In-charge of Kalakundi Police Post of Tikapur Municipality, Raghu Nath Bhandari said he is unaware of the smuggling of salt.
“I am unaware of the smuggling,” he said, “If it is true, strict action will be taken.”
He said that Nepalis who go to Tikuniya ~Ibazaar ~Iin India could be importing such salt for household use.