STC dismisses salt shortage rumours

  • The state-run salt supplier says it has stock for over six months
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Nov 13, 2016-

Salt Trading Corporation (STC), the sole distributor of edible salt in the country, on Saturday dismissed shortage rumours, stating its stock will last for more than six months.

“We have more than 80,000 tonnes of salt in our warehouse, and it will last for more than six months,” said STC CEO Urmila Shrestha. “Nepal’s annual salt demand stands at 120,000 tons.”

Media reports about slat shortage in India led to panic buying in bordering districts and Kathmandu, given India is Nepal’s sole salt supplier.

Sita Khanal, a resident of Dillibazar, visited a local grocery store to purchase a few packets of salt, immediately after hearing about the shortage in India. “In the first two stores I visited, there was no salt,” she said. “I managed to buy two kilos from the next store.”

Dismissing the possibility of a shortage, Shrestha said STC will start market monitoring from Sunday. “I have already directed our staff members to monitor hoarding or black-marketeering,” said Shrestha. “I have also asked Chief District Officers of districts bordering India to intensify market inspection to curb any possible black-marketeering of salt.”

Meanwhile, the police arrested two individuals from Nepalgunj involved in selling salt at higher prices, and confiscated 51kg salt from them. Aslam Khan and Nabiahamed Rai of Nepalgunj-14 were found selling salt at Rs30 per kg, against official price of Rs18. “They were selling salt from a rickshaw,” said Police Inspector Bir Bahadur Thapa.

As panicked consumers rushed to purchase salt in droves, the local administration has increased vigilance and has mobilised the police in plain clothes to curb any malpractice. “Considering the possibility of smuggling of salt to India, security forces have been alerted,” said Banke CDO Rabi Pantha.

Meanwhile, the Indian government has also clarified that there is no shortage of salt.

“There is no shortage of salt. State governments have all powers to ensure its availability at reasonable prices,” local media quoted spokesperson of the Indian government.

Published: 13-11-2016 11:01

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