15 April 2017 Current Affairs:
The Central Salt Department recently closed down all quality check laboratories in the State, excepting one in Tuticorin. The laboratories at Cuddalore, Vedaranyam, Marakanam, Veppalodai near Tuticorin and one at Tuticorin had been established to check the quality of iodised salt and quantity of salt produced.Sources in the Department said the laboratories became irrelevant after quality control of salt came under the purview of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). “We have no authority under any Act to penalise salt manufacturers if the salt is not of the prescribed quality. But the FSSAI can... so it made sense to shut down the labs,” explained an official. Another reason for the closure was that the country had become self-sufficient in production of salt and produced quality salt. Employees — three attached to each lab — have been redeployed by the Government of India, said an official.In neighbouring Andhra Pradesh too laboratories at Ongole, Chinna Ganjam and Naupada have been closed. Only the one at Kakinada continues to function.Tamil Nadu produces about 27 lakh tonnes of salt a year with Tuticorin being the highest producing centre. Tuticorin, Vedaranyam, Marakanam and Kovalam are the other big production centres. There are several small salt producing centres including Nagapattinam and Morekulam in the State. Andhra Pradesh produces 3 lakh tonnes of salt annually.Salt manufacturers in the State say the move to close the labs is yet another step towards the closure of the department itself. “The government is not for continuing the present leases to salt manufacturers. They had planned to lease out through tender system. But that has been put on hold. They are not renewing leases and instead plan to convert the land as real estate, ” alleged a salt manufacturer.
Manufactures - Tuticorin. The laboratories at Cuddalore, Vedaranyam, Marakanam, Veppalodai
Tonnes - 27 lakh per year