Bangladesh Salt Mill Owners Association (BSMOA) on Monday urged the government to take immediate measures to protect the local salt industry.
The association pointed the local industry is passing a critical time due to some initiatives taken by the Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC).
Leaders of the association raised the demand at a press conference at the National Press Club in the capital. They put forward a four-point demand to save the local industry, and farmers associated with it.
Their demands included a halt to the import of toxic sodium sulphate in the name of salt. Leaders urged to take into account health risks as well as survival of the local salt industry.
It accused BSCIC of giving scope for dishonest traders to import toxic sodium sulphate in the name of salt import.
The association demanded a categorical data of demand and production in the local market. The BSCIC is providing manipulated information on domestic industry, it alleged.
Salt industry owners said the industry needs some 0.9 million tonnes of bonded salt and caustic soda annually.
It also protested BSCIC’s claim that some 60,000 hectares of land are used for salt farming. The government has already acquired 15,000 hectares for power generation and other developing purposes and thus areas for salt cultivation have shrunk, it said.
Besides, a strong syndicate is importing some 0.5 million tonnes of salt through illegal channels in association with BSCIC, the millers’ association mentioned in the written statement.
A vested group is importing almost 0.5 million tonnes of toxic salt (soda) and sodium sulfate due to misinformation of BSCIC, it alleged. Some 300 salt owners are currently under threat for such illegal imports of toxic salt, Nurul Kabir, president of the salt millers’ association said.
There is no fear of hike in salt prices ahead of Eid-ul-Azha, Mr Kabir said.
The price of 75-kilogram sack will not cross Tk 700, and the country will need an additional 0.25 million tonnes of salt to save the leathers of the sacrificial animals during the period of the largest festival of the country, he added.
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