Priority for people living in close proximity:
Boost for salt industry in East
Women working in a saltern in Puttalam
The Kumburupiddi saltern site
The Government Information Department has organised a series of
awareness campaigns and workshops to make provincial journalists aware
about development projects at district level. In line with the workshops
and awareness campaigns the Government Information Department has
organised several development tours consisting of the media personnel
representing media institutions in Colombo.
The Department conducted a series of workshops under the theme "the
Role of Provincial Journalists in District Development" in various parts
of the country last year.
A workshop was held at the Trincomalee District Secretariat under the
same theme. Several development sites such as the Trincomalee General
Hospital, Kappalthurai Industrial Park, Eastern Saltern project
implemented under the Neganahira Navodhaya, Codbay Fishery harbour and
the paddy store of the Paddy Marketing Board (PMB) in Trincomalee were
visited by the media personnel from electronic and print media.
During the visit to the Kappalthurai Industrial Park, Regional
Industrial Director, Eastern Province Nalaka Ratnayaka said the
Trincomalee district is gifted with natural resources including human
resources. Once the ongoing projects are completed it will be a
state-of-the-art district. There are several major development projects
implemented by the Government along with the private sector, he said.
The Raigam Eastern Salt Company Limited, a subsidiary of Raigam Group
of Companies has invested in the Kumburupiddi Saltern in Kuchchaveli
under the Neganahira Navodhaya accelerated eastern development drive. In
an area containing 1,800 acres the Saltern will be set in an extent of
400 acres and the remaining area will be maintained as a water retention
area. The total estimated cost of the project is Rs. 900 million of
which Rs. 200 million has already been invested.
Five-hundred direct jobs could be given, 150 of which have been
given. During the season a large number of workers will be required to
crush salt in the field and employment opportunities will increase
twofold. Priority will be given to the people residing in close
proximity to the saltern. A large number will receive indirect
employments too. Nearly 10,000 metric tons of salt is imported per year.
Around 170,000 metric tons of salt is required every year. Fifty
thousand metric tons of salt was imported before the Raigam entered
production industry. After we started the projects in Puttalam and
Hambantota, the import of salt declined drastically. But still 10,000 to
20,000 metric tons of salt is imported, Finance Manager, Perera said.
"It is hoped to produce 30,000 metric tons of salt per year while
providing 800 direct and indirect employments. During a development tour
organised by the Government Information Department M.R. Perera said the
project will be implemented in three phases. Under the first phase a
Saltern will be set up. Under the second phase produced salt will be
processed and a refinery will be set up under the third phase, and
distribution network prepared.
"We also hope to improve the living and economic standards of the
people in the region. We have also implemented a large number of sub
projects parallel to the Saltern project", he said.
|A saltern in
"The surrounding areas of the site is occupied by the fishery
community and we have taken steps to improve their living and economic
standards in line with the Saltern project. The people residing in close
proximity to the Saltern will be permitted to catch prawns and fish in
the water retention area without hampering the project.
"Plans are afoot to breed fingerling in the water retention area. We
will develop facilities in the retention area to facilitate the fish
breeding. There are several natural prawn breeding locations in the
area. We will provide opportunity to the people to catch prawns in these
places", the Finance Manager Perera said.
"There is a small prawn variety called Artemia, which is imported. We
have allocated an area in the site to breed Artemia. Imports of Artemia
will then be reduced. The fishing community will receive ample benefits
via the project," Perera said.
We conducted a series of studies in relation to the life pattern of
the fishing community in the area and released Rs. 2.5 million worth
fingerling and prawns to the water retention area. The fishermen have
understood what we have planned and extended support to carry out the
development works uninterruptedly, the Finance Manager said.
He expressed confidence that the livelihood of the fishing community
in the area will be improved parallel to the project.
We also do CSR activities in the area. The people approach us for
assistance to develop the Montessori, Kovils, Temples and development
projects to be carried out in the area, he said
The Coordinating Senior Manager Wasantha Weerasekara said the
production capacity of Kumburupiddi is 40,000 metric tons. We run two
Salterns in Puttalam and Hambantota. Salt production is successful in
both places, and refineries have been constructed. Kumburupiddi is the
third project of the Raigam Group of Companies. It is expected to be
completed by 2015.
Last year 500 metric tons of salt was produced during test
production. Nearly 70 percent work in the Saltern has been completed
now. Only 30 percent remains while 40,000 metric tons of salt can be
produced on completion of project. It would take nearly five years to
achieve the target. We hope to produce 30,000 metric tons of salt by
2015. Next year our target is 10,000 metric tons, he said.
Weerasekara said when compared to the production cost transport cost
is high. Raigam has selected three locations to reduce the transport
cost. A large sum of money is spent to transport salt to various
locations in the country. Raigam will be helpful to reduce the transport
cost of salt. Hambantota, Puttalam and Trincomalee have been selected
with the same view.
"The National Aquaculture Development Authority provides
technological assistance. They conducted several studies in the site and
have given a plan to set up and operate the Saltern. We have agreed that
utmost attention will be paid to the well-being of the people in the
area. We work with several institutions, but NAQDA is the main
institution working with us closely", he said.