Target 2.3 m metric
tons in Cox’s Bazar
HM Faridul Alam Shaheen, Cox’s Bazar: In intense heat, the whole country is fertile. But the exception is only in the production of salt. As the intensity of heat increases, the production of salt increases. Salt farmers are accustomed to producing salt in tandem with the heat. The ideal time for salt production is when people across the country pray for rain to escape from the unbearable heat.
Sufficient salt has been produced during several consecutive days of burning. Despite the damage to various crops during the intense heat, the daily production of salt is double that of other times. A daily record of 35/40 thousand metric tons of salt is being produced on 66 thousand 291 acres of land in Chittagong’s Banshkhali and Cox’s Bazar district. 45 to 50 thousand marginal salt farmers of Mahakhushi coast.
Farmers say that if such conditions prevail throughout the month of Baisakh, there will be a bumper yield of salt. In the current season, production has been a little more than 16 lakh metric tons in the last four months. In all, it will be possible to meet the annual demand of 2.3 lakh metric tons of salt till this month. However, the farmers say that natural calamities, cyclones, storms or storms will disrupt salt production. If it rains for a day, salt production stops for about a week. Then it will be difficult to meet the target of 2.3 lakh metric tons of salt production.
According to the information of Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BCIC), in the current season (5 months from November 15 to May 15), salt is being produced in 66 thousand 291 acres of land in Cox’s Bazar Sadar, Maheshkhali, Kutubdia, Pekua, Chakaria, Eidgaon, Ramu and Banshkhali upazilas. The target of salt production in these lands has been fixed at 2.3 lakh metric tons.
According to the Meteorological Department, there may be multiple depressions and a cyclone in the Bay of Bengal this month. Then there will be severe loss of salt cultivation.
Khurushkul, Choufaldandi, PMkhali, Maheshkhali, Kutubdia, Chakaria, Pekua and Teknaf areas of Cox’s Bazar Sadar Upazila were visited and saw that salt production is going on in thousands of acres of land. Farmers spread black tarpaulin on the fields to keep the salt water from the sea.
By drying in the hot sun, the brackish water is turning into salt. Some farmers are putting (stockpiling) salt produced in the field into pits. Some people are storing salt in sacks and piles in their courtyards. Someone is stocking the warehouse.
Bisik salt development project field inspector. Idris Ali said that during the last season, maximum 30 metric tons of salt was produced daily. This time, as a result of intense burning, 35/40 thousand metric tons of salt is being produced daily for three consecutive days, which is the highest salt production of the season.
In the last two days, referring to the experience of visiting the different coasts of Teknaf, Chakaria, Cox’s Bazar Sadar Upazila, an official of Salt Project (BCIC) said that salt is being sold at Tk 410 to Tk 420 per maund at the field level. Taking an average of 400 taka, the price of 35/40 thousand metric tons of salt produced daily comes to 35 to 40 crore taka. Zafar Iqbal Bhuiyan, Deputy General Manager of Salt Industry (BSIC) mentioned the salt production season till May 15. He said, every year in the middle of April, Kalbaisakhi rains occur. In this, salt production stops for seven-eight days. If such a situation prevails this time too, the farmers will suffer.
Salt is being cultivated on 66 thousand 291 acres of land in Cox’s Bazar district including Banskhali. Recently, Kharankhali of Hnila Union of Teknaf, salt farmer Saiful Islam of Hnila, Nabi Hossain Kabir Ahmad and Noor Mohammad.
Talking to the farmers, it is known that the production of salt was stopped for seven consecutive days due to the strong wind and rain on April 2. Salt production started in full swing from April 10. Before this, salt production was stopped for seven days due to rain and wind on March 20.
President of Cox’s Bazar Salt Farmers Welfare Association and salt farmer of Maheshkhali, Mostafa Kamal Chowdhury said that the price of salt is being fixed differently by syndicate. Last February, farmers sold salt at Tk 250-300 per maund, in March at Tk 320-370, and now at Tk 410-420. Farmers demanded that the price of salt per maund should be fixed at 500 taka.
Member of Parliament for Cox’s Bazar-2 (Maheshkhali-Qutubdia) Constituency Ashek Ullah Rafiq is involved in salt production. He said that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina stopped the import of salt and allowed farmers to sell salt at the maximum price of Tk 500. Salt was also sold at Tk 500 in January and early February. Later the syndicate cycle reduced the price to a minimum of Rs 250.
EKK Maheshkhali Upazila Chairman Md Sharif Badshah said that one third of the country’s demand for salt is produced in Maheshkhali. However, salt farmers are the most neglected. At the field level, salt is an agricultural product and salt is considered as an industrial product, so farmers are deprived of many benefits. President of Cox’s Bazar Salt Mill Owners Association, Fakhrul Islam Chowdhury said that most of the mill owners in Cox’s Bazar are salt farmers.
Therefore, the interests of salt farmers and mill owners are one and the same. We want to set a fair price for the farmers, the minimum price of salt should be 500 rupees. Because the most diligent labor in the country are the workers engaged in salt production and transportation. Meanwhile, 1.75 lakh metric tons of salt has already been produced.
The target is 23.5 million metric tons. There is one more month left. The old salt reserves are about 7 million metric tons. So, showing the salt crisis, a group of salt mill owners are running a scam to import salt by giving false information to the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, which will cause serious damage to the salt industry. .
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