Tiruchirapalli

Salt production begins on an insipid note

Due to closure of salt pans over the last couple of years, most of the workforce has migrated elsewhere in search of jobs.

Due to closure of salt pans over the last couple of years, most of the workforce has migrated elsewhere in search of jobs.   | Photo Credit: M_Moorthy

Manufacturing is yet to recover from the havoc caused by Cyclone Gaja

Only a few hundreds among the about 1,500 salt manufacturers of Vedaranyam have commenced production work after the monsoon.

The manufacturers are waiting for a further rise in intensity of sun for the brine to crystallise into salt from a month from now.

The works began in recent weeks with the usual poojas in the pans along the coastline of Agasthiyampalli, Kodiakadu, and Vedaranyam.

Salt production could not be carried out last year, as the pans were inundated with slush brought in by Cyclone Gaja in 2018. A combined stock of nearly one lakh tonnes of salt produced during the preceding seven to eight months was completely washed away by the flood triggered by Gaja, Sivakumar, a salt producer in Vedaranyam said.

Unfortunately for the manufacturers, neither the Centre nor the State Government had responded to the request made by the Vedaranyam Salt Manufacturers and Merchants Association and the Indian Salt Manufacturers' Association for providing relief to resume production.

Left to fend for themselves, a section of the manufacturers produced salt only to the extent of 25 percent of their capacity.

“The off-season storage was exhausted last November. Though the Salt Department has acknowledged comprehensive damage to the pans, there has been no support from the Central and State governments,”A. Vedaratnam, president of Vedaranyam Salt Manufactuers and Merchant's Association, said.

The pans that were cleared for production activities during January were inundated a fortnight back due to unexpected rainfall. The manufacturers are now pinning their hopes on the summer season.

The salt producers have another problem to contend with. Due to closure of the pans over the last couple of years, most of the workforce has migrated elsewhere in search of jobs, and the existing workers were also more inclined to take up work as farm hands, said Kumar, another manufacturer.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 6:13:46 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/salt-production-begins-on-an-insipid-note/article30785299.ece

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