Salt mill owners want sodium sulphate import as salt to stop

Dhaka, July 22 – The owners of salt industry on Monday demanded to stop importing toxic sodium sulphate in the name of salt considering the health risks as well as to save the local industry.Leaders of the ‘Bangladesh Labon Mill Malik Samity’ raised the demand at a press conference at the Jatiya Press Club in the morning.
The leaders demanded that they have huge quantity of salt, produced locally, that is enough to meet the demand during the coming Eid-ul-Azha for preserving the raw hide.
The leaders accused the Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) of providing wrong information about the production and demand of salt saying that time has come to unmask the government agencies concerned who provides opportunity to the dishonest traders to import toxic sodium sulphate in the name of salt.
President of the Samilty, Nurul Kabir, who read out the written statement, said currently there have no fear of increasing salt price ahead of Eid-ul-azha. The price of 75 KG sack will not cross Tk 700, he said.
He said the country needs additional 2.50 lac metric tons of salt to save the leather of the sacrificial animal during the period of the largest holy festival.
“We sent application to the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to protect the industry through mitigating the problem. We also informed the matter to the Industries and Commerce Ministry and the chairman of Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) to resolve the crisis promptly, but no step is yet to be taken”, Kabir added.
Salt industry owners said the industrial sector needs some 9 lac metric tons of bonded salt and caustic soda annually. On the other hand, according to the BSCIC information, the industrial sector is utilizing 4 lac tons of salt. In this calculation, the deficit of the salt is 5 lac metric tons. However, such miss-leading information is a concern for the stakeholders of the salt industry.
The leaders underlined the need for accurate data for saving the salt industry in the country, saying that some 60 thousand hectors of land were utilizing for salt production.
Of the total land, the government has acquired some 15 thousand hectors of land for power generation as well as developing infrastructure in the recent years resulting lower salt production in the country, they said.
The BSCIC ignored the calculation and provide inappropriate data, they claimed. As a result, some 5 lac metric tons of salt are entering in the country through illegal channel, they added.
Nurul Kabir further said that the BSCIC information related with salt production and demand is imaginary and unrealistic. The vested groups are importing almost 5 lac tons of toxic salt (soda) and sodium sulfate due to the misinformation of the BSCIC, he further said. He urged the authorities concerned to stop such illegal import of soda to save the salt producers.
Some 300 salt owners have lost their market for such illegal import of toxic salt, Kabir added.
“To overcome the crisis, they informed the Industries and Commerce Ministry as well as BSCIC but they still did not get any solution”, he said.
He urged the Prime Minister to resolve the problem for the sake of saving the salt producers in the country.
He said the sodium sulfate which is recognized as salt is importing at zero percent tax. The unethical traders are importing such toxic chemical and selling it in the local market. Meanwhile, some corrupt businessmen are also importing sodium chloride which is considered as salt.
As a result, the government is incurring huge loss every year. On the other hand, the salt producers are failed to seize the local market. – Staff Reporter