Climate ‘flavours’ production activity in Vedaranyam salt pans

With the coastal districts in the central region in the State witnessing a gradual rise in temperature, the salt pans spread over 9,000 acres in Vedaranyam of Nagapattinam district-which lay idle for about four months-appear to be back in business as preliminary production activities have begun in almost 40 per cent of the total pans there.
The Vedaranyam pans account for as much as 5 lakh tonnes of salt production every year
The Vedaranyam pans account for as much as 5 lakh tonnes of salt production every year

Thiruchirapalli

Having reportedly seen only an average yield in the output the previous year, salt pan owners in the district, riding on high hopes, have commenced production activity for the season and are packing saline water in the pans.

The Vedaranyam pans account for as much as 5 lakh tonnes of salt production every year, coming next only to Thoothukudi in accounting for the total output of the commodity in the State. Nearly 9,000 acres of salt pans, including 6,000 acres managed by corporate companies and the remaining 3,000 acres belonging to small scale manufacturers, are now gearing up for production in the southern coastal strip of the district.

With the temperature playing a crucial role for the brine solution to evaporate and produce salt, the soaring heat now recording an average of 30 degree Celsius during noon time has led to manufacturers taking up preliminary production activities in nearly 40 per cent of the total salt pans in and around Vedaranyam, sources said.

V Senthil, secretary of the Vedaranyam small scale salt producers’ association, said that despite there having been unseasonal showers in the months of December and January, the present weather conditions have brought hope to the salt producers. “We have swung into performing the preliminary activities, including the strengthening of salt pan beds,” Senthil said.

Further, producers said that the preliminary activities of levelling the salt pans and carrying out strengthening activities of the barriers are said to be carried out to fill the saline solution (brine) in the pans. The manufacturers added that even full-fledged production has commenced in the region since the beginning of February. “For the time being, we are using the saline ground water pumped from the borewells to fill up the salt pans. As we proceed further during the months of April and beyond, we will use the salt water from the sea directly flown through canals to manufacture salt,” Senthil added.

Over 20,000 workers are found to be directly and indirectly dependent upon the salt production activities at Vedaranyam.

The salt pans in the region also facilitate the meeting of domestic and industrial salt requirements of several southern states, including Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

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