The BSCIC has decided to set up a modern salt research centre in Cox's Bazar district at the cost of Taka seven crore for offering training to the salt growers in the country. It will also conduct research on salt cultivation and method of production replacing the traditional one existing in the country. The decision of setting up the salt research centre was initiated following climate change in the country especially during season of salt production (October-April), the insiders of the BSCIC said.
Moreover, Industry Ministry sources said that the decision was taken to make the country self sufficient in salt production. The government is planning to set up modern refineries to crush raw salt putting sufficient iodine for the people of the country. The Salt Research Centre will be set up at Chowfaldandi in Cox's Bazar, the sources said. The Deputy Commissioner (DC) of Cox's Bazar district was also asked to acquire land for the research centre.
Experts said that the rapid change of climate has created a lot of barriers in salt cultivation as the climate is not eco-friendly for salt production.Due to the ecological imbalance, the sun ray is not enough to create evaporation in the saline water used for having salt at the salt field of Cox's Bazar, Satkhira and other coastal belts of the country.
So new technology, ignoring the traditional method, need to be created for meeting growing demand of salt. Bangladesh has no enough land beside the coastal area for using as salt field. Though the cost of salt production is very low, the field for salt production is not sufficient to meet the growing demand of the nation causing salt crisis over the years, sources said.
During the crisis period, the unscrupulous traders used to milk the nation by selling salt Taka 30 to 50 per kilogram although the import cost of the salt is below Taka two, the sources in the BSCIC and the Commerce ministry said.
With the supervision of the BSCIC, a total of 45,000 salt farmers have been working on a total of 70,000 acres land to produce salt especially in Cox's Bazar and Satkhira area, sources in the BSCIC said adding that a total of 267 salt crushing mills were provided with the salt iodine plant machines for producing iodized salt.
Total production of salt in Bangladesh is 18 lakh tons, but it varies from time to time. About 16 lakh tons of salt were produced last year where the requirement of salt is about 20 lakh tons.
-Tapan Khan, AA
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