BAJURA, Jan 5: Karna Bahadur Shahi, a resident of Tolidewal VDC-2 in Bajura district goes to the market once in three months to buy uniodized salt for his family. Unaware of its negative impacts on health, Shahi´s family has been consuming this salt for many years.
The Shahi family´s is not a one-off case. Most of the people in the far-flung villages of Bajura district have been consuming uniodized salt, which can be found everywhere.
"I have always been using this salt," said Shahi, whom Republica caught up with in Bajugad market of Bajura. "Everyone from my village uses this salt. We have never seen iodized salt."
Gangaram Shahi, another local from the same village, said that he and his neighbors have no knowledge about iodized salt. “When it comes to salt, whatever is sold without any packaing is our choice," said Shahi.
Uddhav Bahadur Thapa, a local businessman in Bajugad market, informed that the villagers always buy uniodized salt. However, he said, “The iodized salt distributed by the government never reaches these villages. They are limited to the district headquarters only."
Thapa said a kg of iodized salt costs between 20-22 rupees while uniodized salt sells for around Rs 12.
Agreeing with Thapa, Amrit Thapa, a local from Kausalmandau VDC-3 of Bajura, said, "The low price of uniodized salt is one major reason why so many people still prefer it to iodized salt."
Highlighting the negative aspects of the use of uniodized salt, Dr Nar Bahadur Mauni shared that iodine deficiency can cause goiter and mental retardation, among many other health problems.
According to a local teacher, Narendra Bhatta, most of the villagers still are unaware of the beneftis of iodized salt. "People are only concerned about the low price not the long term effects of the use of iodized salt," he said.