The Rann of Kutch, the largest salt desert in the world is an exquisite sight to behold. Vast expanse of salt and glistening white in the scorching sun is more than just a tourist spot. It is a thriving salt industry where clusters of salt makers have been adding taste to our food. But today, they seem to have got caught in a bind and the their very survival seems to be at stake.
There are around 14 refining salt units in Kutch and of these , two have already shut down. Most of the those surviving are working at very reduced capacity. High transport costs and operational costs have taken a toll and to add to the woes, neighbouring state, Rajasthan is taking the lead and supplying salt to UP, Delhi, Bihar. Cuttack, another ‘salt’ hub is also growing fast and is supplying salt to Southern India. Also, within Gujarat itself, Kutch is losing its monopoly with new salt clusters coming up at Halvad and around Bharuch region.
The Kutchi salt makers need to look at ways to survive, they need to either start supplying locally at much lower costs or improve their quality drastically to get an edge over competition. Yes, sometimes, competition is good and this particular one, will only enhance the taste further.