Biggest bird tragedy at Sambhar lake affects salt industry, employment crisis for thousands

Rajasthan Refined Salt Manufacturers Association's  President, Anil Gattani says, 'the areas where the dead birds have been found, the salt is not being manufactured in those areas.'

Published: 26th November 2019 09:20 PM  |   Last Updated: 26th November 2019 09:20 PM   |  A+A-

For representational purposes. (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

JAIPUR: The largest bird tragedy at the Sambhar lake of Rajasthan has badly affected the salt industry in the area. Now there is a ban on the salt trading on the new crop for the time being as it is suspected that harmful bacteria might have spread in the lake water due to the death of thousands of birds.

This has affected the salt industry worth thousands of crore Rupees annually and around 40  thousand people are said to be dependent on the salt business.

After the confirmation of the cause of the death of more than 18 thousand birds in the Rajasthan' s Sambhar Lake, the salt supply has been stopped from country largest inland salt lake. Avian Botulism germs were found to be the cause behind the death of birds.

The Salt Commissionorate had asked not to send salt out by sending circulars to more than 1000 units producing salt. Thousands of dead bodies of the birds dissolved in water, which is why this step is being taken by Commissionorate of Salt which comes under commerce and industry department.

Rajasthan Refined Salt Manufacturers Association's  President, Anil Gattani says, "the areas where the dead birds have been found, the salt is not being manufactured in those areas."

The salt traders though don't feel that salt has been affected due to the death of birds. They say that the Government should make a decision on the matter soon so that the salt industry can be given a relief.

However, on Monday, the state's salt commiserates submitted a report to the Health Ministry and has sought instructions as to what to do on this matter. Earlier, the salt officials wrote to the state agencies FSSAI and CMHO regarding the matter and informed about the incident.

"We have only given information to the Health Ministry about the places where birds have died and buried. After the disclosure that the birds have died due to bacteria and viruses, the Health Ministry has to investigate whether there is an infection of salt in the new crop. We can only do a chemical investigation of salt", said a senior salt official in salt commission rate on the condition of anonymity.

"Traders are making unnecessary hue and cry. We have not stopped them from trading, they can trade the old crop by giving an undertaking to us and the option to sell the new crop to salt-based industries other than human use is open to them and will continue". The official further added.

Almost 70 per cent of the salt production in the country is in Gujarat, but a large part of the remaining 30 per cent salt production is from  Sambhar Lake. It produces about 25-30 lakh tons of salt annually and it is supplied to various parts of the country.

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