Banned medicinal herbs in Nepal being smuggled to Tibet

Smuggling of medicinal herbs from different districts of the far-west, despite the government’s ban on the sale of such herbs, has been on the rise.

Valuable medicinal herbs like Hatagirea (Panch Aunle), wild garlic, walnut roots, among others, are illegally collected on a regular basis in the Khaptad area, Tale lake area of Doti, Badimali of Bajura and Surma of Bajhang.

According to sources, local cowherds are used in the illegal collection of such items that are exported to Tibet through local contractors.

Man Bahadur Rawal, a local of Kanda, Bajura, said contractors have been smuggling herbs to Tibet via Bajhang. “Some Tibetan contractors have invested huge amounts in medicinal herbs in the surroundings of Khaptad National Park,” he added.

Locals said Tibetan contractors enter Bajhang and Bajura districts during the last week of September. Another local, Harka Bahadur Rawal, of Dogadhi, Bajura, said smuggling of banned items has been going on since the past four years. “Tibetan contractors deploy local agents to collect such herbs,” he added.

The border areas of Khaptad National Park have been open due to lack of staff. Meanwhile, the park’s warden Kishower Meheta said that patrolling and monitoring in park areas was launched recently.

Forest officer Krishna Datta Bhatta of District Forest Office, Dadeldhura, said that as many as three trucks of illegal medicinal herbs were seized from Attariya in April and May. “The Forest Office is unable to do anything to stop smuggling because a huge network of smugglers are involved,” he said.

- Courtesy of Himalayan Times