Unseasonal rains bring early end to small-scale salt production in Vedaranyam

According to sources, the season lasts between February and October. "A lot of time went in draining water and resetting our salterns.

Published: 12th September 2022 08:10 AM  |   Last Updated: 12th September 2022 08:10 AM   |  A+A-

The salterns remain flooded with rainwater at Agasthiyampalli in Vedaranyam | Express

Express News Service

NAGAPATTINAM:  Unseasonal rain has end small-scale salt production season in Vedaranyam this year, affecting salt producers. According to sources, the season lasts between February and October. "A lot of time went in draining water and resetting our salterns.

The time loss affected our overall productivity this year. I have achieved only less than 50 % of what I would have achieved in a complete season without any rain interruption," said S Tamilmani, a salt producer from Kodiyakadu. Unlike paddy fields, salterns are not designed for draining of water naturally. The saline water let into them are meant to be evaporated.

Salt producers either direct the saline seawater through channels or pump the saline groundwater into the salterns. When the salterns are flooded with rainwater, the producers pump them out and reset the salterns, which takes time. A Vetharathinam, a salt producer based in Agasthiyampalli, said, "Salt production depends on factors such as sunlight, humidity and wind velocity.

The concentration will be less if there is less sunlight. The rain has affected our productivity throughout the year. More rain would be there in the monsoon season. We cannot continue production beyond this point. Our focus would be storage, handling and transport of produced salt over the next month."

Small-scale salt production takes place in villages such as Agasthiyampalli, Kodiyakadu, Kovilthavu, Kailavanampettai, Kadinalvayal, and Kodiyakarai in Vedaranyam block on an area of 3,000 acres. There are around 800 salt producers in the block. There are also two corporate companies, GHCL and Chemplast Sanmar, which produce salt on about 6,000 acres.

The early ending of salt production has also affected workers who are employed on daily wages. Their livelihood is dependent on work such as scraping, shovelling, heaping and loading salt. They also took a hit due to shortened season last year.

V Kannadasan, a representative of salt workers from Kovilthavu, said, "Only loading will be there in days to come. Thereafter, male workers will leave for other work such as fishing. Female workers will go for such as MGNREGS scheme work and farm work. Wages will be lesser than as salt work though."


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