Trouble underground

Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

HEAVY flow of water has rendered the country's only underground salt mine at Gumma in Himachal Pradesh unsafe. Some of the salt from the rocks gets dissolved due to the heavy flow of water which, makes them loose and unstable. As a result, one of the mines has collapsed and another one faces the threat. The authorities have failed to take any remedial measures. The salt mines are being managed by Hindustan Salt Limited since 1963. Before this, it was under the control of the Union ministry for industries.

About 50 workers engaged in salt mining at Gumma complain that they risk their lives everyday while entering the tunnel. The unit is also running in loss as the demand for rock salt is confined to Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal and parts of Punjab. Only with the setting up of a refinery can edible salt and caustic soda be produced. The move for establishing a refinery has been hanging in midair since the last 15 years. The factory workers have resorted to indefinite agitation for their demand for a refinery.

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