Salt manufacturers worried about impact of southwest monsoon

Production affected due to lockdown too, the say

Published - June 19, 2020 04:17 pm IST - CHENNAI

The salt pan at the ancient port town Marakkanam which is about 120 km from Chennai. File photo.

The salt pan at the ancient port town Marakkanam which is about 120 km from Chennai. File photo.

Managing to work with just 50% of labourers, salt manufacturers in the State are now worried about the impact of the southwest monsoon on salt production this year.

“Already, due to the stoppage of work for about 10 days during initial days of lockdown, production has been hit and there is a shortfall of 10%. At present, the State also does not have any stock left over from last year since the Gaja cyclone had washed out salt pans along Vedaranyam resulting in only 60% of annual production for 2019,”said M. Kandaswamy of the S.K.M. Subbiah Pillai and Son Salt Works.

Rains are a worrisome factor for the salt industry that depends on sunshine and brine. The industry does not get compensation for cyclones and other natural calamities though it is very prone to it since most salt pans are along the coast.

“We have not been able to withdraw the compensation provided by the government for last year’s cyclone.

This is due to some technical issue. We got the amount just before the lockdown. And we are yet to get any compensation for the 2015 floods, and the reason given to us was lack of funds. We did not get any funds for Gaja cyclone,” said a manufacturer of Kovalam near Chennai.

Meanwhile, the demand for salt has gone up with supplies from Thoothukudi going to neighbouring States. “We were able to manufacture during the lockdown thanks to the officials in the Tamil Nadu Salt Corporation. If they had not intervened and sought permission from respective Collectors, we might have not have been to manufacture since this is the peak season for salt, which is an essential goods,” said a manufacturer.

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