Floodwaters Wash Away Marakkanam's Salt Pans

Around 25,000 tonnes of salt produced by 60-70 manufacturers washed away in this monsoon’s deluge; they are now struggling to repay loans and offer wages to employees

Published: 11th December 2015 05:46 AM  |   Last Updated: 11th December 2015 05:46 AM   |  A+A-

CHENNAI: After a year-long hard work, the salt produced by more than 60 to 70 salt manufacturers in the Marakkanam region has been washed away in the floods.

M E Vardan, secretary of Marakkanam Salt Pan Association told Express that around 25,000 tonnes of salt was washed away in the deluge.

“This season was good for producing salt and we were about to sell it to far off places in Andhra Pradesh, Bengaluru, Puducherry and neighbouring Kerala, said Sundaramoorthy, who has sub-leased salt pans from the license holders.

The land belongs to the Central government, who have leased it to license holders. “We sub lease it from the license holders after paying `10,000 to `15,000 per acre,” he said.

Sundaramoorthy’s salt pan produces 350 tonnes of salt, but most of them got washed away.

“Now I have to start all over again from February. This season was initially good but now all my earnings have been washed away,” he says.

Many salt pan workers had taken loans and were hoping to pay their debts and also their workers from the amount they would earn with the sale of salt. That will not happen now, says Vardan. At Marakkanam, the going rate for 100 kg of salt is `250, says Vardan. “But since nearly 25,000 tonnes have been washed away, we have sought financial assistance from the salt commissioner.” “We have sent in letters to collector, tahsildar and other officials,” he informs. When Express tried to contact the salt commissioner’s office, officials refused to comment on the extent of loss.

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