Saturday, January 5, 2008

Salt production in India

Salt is not only a need for human body and tongue, but also is one of the reasons for human advancement. Salt seasoning made us independent of seasonal availability of food. It is used in textile, glass, soap, fertilizers, medicine, leather,  and many food industries. Accidents after snowstorms will be decreased because of the salt.

Saltpetre was only next bigger item to cotton and spices in East India company's business in India. There were times salt played role in politics and wars and even people are payed in salt instead of money. The word for salt comes from Latin word for salary. See salt history page at wikipedia.

India is the fourth largest country in salt production, with China and US contending for the first place and Germany being the second. [ update Jan 10th 2014: China is topper and produces 22% of the world production, US is second and produces 14%, India with 8% crossed Germany's 6%. ]

India produces 16 million tonnes yearly [update jan 10th 2014: India produces 24 million tonnes]. Households consume 8 million tonnes and the Industry consumption is 6 million tonnes and the rest is exported earning 2000 crores. Among the 11 salt making states, only three states, Gujarat, Tamilnadu(mainly because of Tuticorin) and Rajasthan(mainly because of Sambhar Lake) produce surplus salt than they consume. Gujarat produces 11 million tonnes or 71% , Tamilnadu makes 16%, Rajasthan makes 9% and the rest of other states make 4%.

Environmentalists say now that salt production will be in problems again. See video about pollution in Gandidham salt and news about salt going black. Gandhidham, salt capital of India, alone produces 5 million tonnes of salt every year. We do have Salt Institute and I do not know what their reaction is to the situation. I wish they publish annual statistics at least on their website.

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