Gujarat: Salt-pan workers anticipate delayed harvest due to unseasonal rain

UNSEASONAL RAIN and winds damaged huts and solar power generating equipment of agariyas (salt-pan workers) in the Little Rann of Kutch (LRK) with the salt-cultivators apprehending that the harvest will be delayed by about 10 days.

LRK areas abutting Tikkar, Halvad, Kuda, Kharaghoda and Santalpur experienced unseasonal rain accompanied by gusty winds on Friday and Saturday.

“The rain flattened solar panels and blew away huts of agaraiyas, especially towards Tikar, Halvad, Kuda and Santalpur. It also damaged the earthwork we had been doing for the past one month,” Santa Bamaniya, an agariya from Kharaghoda told The Indian Express on Sunday.

Agariyas usually start digging wells and tubewells and building earthen embankment of their saltpans from September. However, as it rained heavily this September this year, they could start the work only in the third week of October.

“Unseasonal rain lashed just as we started filling up the saltpans… Now we shall have to wait for saltpans to lose the soil moisture caused by the rains to evaporate before we can resume earthwork and start filling saltpans with water,” Bamaniya said, adding, “We apprehend this will delay the harvest of salt by about 10 days.”

Bamaniya added that agariyas start filling up their salt-pans in November-December, then cultivate salt for about three months before harvesting in April-May.

“Many agariyas had set solar panels to generate power to run their motor pumps to draw water. The panel arrays were flattened by gusty winds,” said the Kharaghoda agariya.

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