The production of salt at the Vedaranyam pans have begun belatedly this year due to the unseasonal rains experienced a month back, which is likely to send salt prices soaring.
The Vedaranyam salt pans which produces as much as five lakh tonnes of salt every year, and standing only next to the salt pans of Tuticorin in total salt production in the state, had suffered successive blows in the last three months, with the unseasonal rains affecting the preliminary activities related to salt production.
The conventional time to begin salt production here is said to be late January. Sources said that the delay could result in as much as 15 to 25 percent shortage in production of salt.
During the previous years, a metric tonne of salt was sold at Rs 500 to Rs 800 in 2012. Due to the shortfall in production, the estimated price for a metric tonne of salt this year is expected to swing between Rs 800 to Rs 1,000 respectively.
V Senthil, Secretary, Vedaranyam Salt Producers Association, told Express, “Production should have begun by January-end, and by this time we would have completed one phase of production. Due to this shortfall in salt production, we can expect salt prices to go up in the future.”
As much as 9,000 acres of salt pans are directly involved in salt production, including 6,000 acres of land held by private companies. According to salt manufacturers here, infused rain water from the concentrated brine have been drained from the pans with the help of electric pump sets.
About 20,000 workers are directly and indirectly dependent on salt production activities at Vedaranyam.
The Vedaranyam salt pans supply salt to Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. Hence, the delay in production is likely to make an impact in the salt prices across South India.