New Delhi, April 17 (IANS) BJP Vice President and Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Sahasrabuddhe has made a unique request to Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
He has written a letter to Shah, requesting him to amend the lockdown rules to allow salt farming and manufacturing amid the nationwide lockdown in place to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
Sahasrabuddhe hails from Maharashtra’s Thane district that has many salt producing units, which are presently non-functional due to the countrywide lockdown that has now been further extended till May 3.
“Basically, this is one kind of farming. But salt farmers are not considered as farmers like those whose profession is agriculture or those who farm fruits,” Sahasrabuddhe told IANS.
In his letter to Shah, he said, “This summer time is the ideal season for salt farming. Hence such workers and salt farmers must get some reprieve in their movement and professional work during the lockdown.”
He added that since it is not a labour intensive sector, maintaining social distancing should not be a concern.
Making an emotional pitch to Shah, who hails from Gujarat, Sahasrabuddhe said, “Thousands earn their livelihood through salt farming in my home district Thane and Palghar. Even in other parts of India, including Gujarat, thousands are involved in this activity.”
Maharashtra figures among the top five salt producing states in India along with Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Andhra Pradesh.
Gujarat being the largest salt manufacturing unit, any decision to amend the current lockdown exemptions will help many salt farmers in Shah’s own state as well.
There are about 11,799 salt manufacturers engaged in production of common salt in an extent of about 6.09 lakh acres of land in the Country. It is estimated that 87.6 per cent of the total number of salt manufacturers are small salt producers.