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Indian earthquake: soda ash industry trembles

The salt industry may just be another casualty of the Gujarat earthquake. And with it, the soda ash, caustic soda and chlorine manufacturing units all over the country, which use salt as basic raw ma…

The salt industry may just be another casualty of the Gujarat earthquake. And with it, the soda ash, caustic soda and chlorine manufacturing units all over the country, which use salt as basic raw material, will also be affected. According to industry sources, over 60% of the country“s salt is produced in Kutch and Bharuch. Of the 144 lakh tonnes of salt produced in the country, last year, 100 lakh tonnes were produced in Kutch alone. Not only has the earthquake affected salt pans in the region, shortage of manpower has brought work to a standstill for the predominantly labour-intensive industry. Chemical manufacturers fear that there will be a 40% increase in the cost of industrial salt, used to manufacture caustic soda and chlorine. “From the information we have received so far, water levels surrounding salt producing areas in Bharuch have gone down considerably. Also manpower availability will be a problem for units in the area for a few weeks to come,” said the vice-President of marketing of National Rayon Corporation. Gujarat is the centre of chemical manufacturing units and the earthquake has paralysed operations and raw material procurement for a number of units in other parts of the country.

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