May 20: Security forces and the locals of Dolpa have started patrolling the highlands to prevent smuggling of Yarsagumba, a prized herb for its purported aphrodisiac property.
Authorities at the Shey-Phuksundo National Park told New Business Age that Nepal Police, Armed Police Force, and Nepal Army personnel have been deployed in large number in different parts of the district in order to stop the illegal trade of Yarsa.
As the season for collecting the precious medicinal herb has begun, the locals and the police are on guard to thwart the theft of Yarsa.
The national park authorities say they have decided to allow people to pick Yarsa only at Yarsapatan after May 27. Those entering the area before the announced date will be arrested by the security teams. They further said that security has been tightened in community forests as well as the district’s border and entry points.
In previous years, groups of smugglers were found to have entered the area before the authorities had given permission. A local youth Sushil Buda said that security patrol has been started from May 11 to avoid smuggling of the prized herb. He further said that security forces have been deployed this year following a shootout between the local patrol team and the traffickers last year.
Thousands of people enter Yarsapatan of Dolpa to collect Yarsagumba. Besides Dolpa, Yarsagumba is a major source of income for the locals of the nearby districts such as Rukum, Jajarkot, Jumla, and Mugu.
Majority of locals of Rukum enter Meli Community Forest area for collecting the herb. It is assumed that around 200 to 300 kilogram of Yarsagumba is found in Meli Community Forest.