The Times of India: Ahmedabad: Tuesday, July 25, 2017.
As heavy rains lashed Gujarat, salt production across the state was significantly hit. Salt manufacturers fear huge financial losses as around 50% of physical stock at various saltworks in major salt producing districts has been washed out.
Maliya in Morbi alone has witnessed losses upto Rs 100 crore, claimed salt makers. Salt production in Surendranagar, Kutch, Jamnagar, Rajkot and Morbi have been hit on account of heavy rains and subsequent flooding.
"Some 30,000 tonne stock was lying at our salt works and it is completely washed out. We cannot ascertain exact damage till the water recedes, it could be more," said Ambarish Patel, a Maliya-based saltworks owner.
There are more than 500 salt manufacturers in Maliya, a loading station located some 20km off the coast. "Of the total 10 lakh tonnes salt loaded at the units in Maliya, 7 lakh tonnes was completely washed off within three days due to flooding," added Dilubha Jadeja, president, Marine Salt Manufacturers Association.
"Gujarat has received over 60% of season's rainfall within a month. With heavy rains and flooding, salt production and salt works in districts such as Surendranagar, Kutch, Jamnagar, Rajkot and Morbi among other have taken a hit," said B C Raval, president, Indian Salt Manufacturers Association (ISMA).
Overall, salt industry has been hit hard and government should assess the loss and declare financial assistance to help salt industry recover their losses, claim industry stakeholders.
Due to flooding and overflow of surrounding dams, there has been heavy damage in terms of earthworks and brine dilution.
"Salt produced in the last six months was lying at the manufacturing unit. Nearly 8,000 tonne was washed away. We were in the process of loading another 10,000 tonne at our Saltworks in Maliya which is also destroyed," said Sauddin Samtani, owner of a manufacturing unit in Maliya.
Gujarat produces 200 lakh tonnes of salt every year and accounts for 75% of India's total salt production. Salt industry players also fear that incessant rains may also delay the salt production season, which normally starts from September month.