Toxic salt o' the earth

 
Published: Saturday 04 July 2015

-- The first-ever comprehensive study on the agarias, salt workers in Gujarat's Rann of Kutch, reveals their serious occupational health problems. They show symptoms of slowly turning numb from the feet upwards. The culprit is the way the salt is produced: the agarias dip their salt in the brine and scrape it off when it dries. As it is progressively absorbed by the skin, it renders the workers immobile.

The study on salt workers of Kharaghoda in Gujarat by the Society for Participatory Research in Asia (pria), a Delhi-based ngo, also reveals that most workers suffer from spinal deformities, hairline fractures and backaches as the spinal cord receives intense pressure when the salt is paddled.

These inhuman working conditions violate all protective measures prescribed for workers by the International Labour Organisation, states the pria study.

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