The ‘salt’ of your plate is in discussion these days. The reason is President Draupadi Murmu’s statement on salt and then Congress leader Udit Raj’s controversial tweet on it.
Actually, President Draupadi Murmu had recently visited Gujarat. During this, while addressing a gathering, he said that 76% of the country’s salt is made in Gujarat, so it can be said that all the countrymen eat the salt of Gujarat. After this, Congress leader Udit Raj tweeted and wrote, No country should get a President like Draupadi Murmu. Chamchagiri also has its limits. It is said that 70% of people eat salt from Gujarat. If you live life by eating salt yourself, you will know.
India is the third largest producer of salt after China and America. According to statistics, Gujarat is the largest producer of salt in the country. In 2021-22, more than 266 lakh tonnes of salt was produced in the country. Out of this, 227.65 lakh tonnes i.e. 85% salt was produced in Gujarat. After Gujarat, the highest salt production was in Tamil Nadu (17.21 lakh tonnes) and Rajasthan (16.90 lakh tonnes).
According to the annual report of the Salt Department, out of the salt produced in the country in 2020-21, 76 lakh tonnes of salt was brought for domestic use, while 66 lakh tonnes of salt was exported abroad. The rest of the salt was sent to industries.
But depend on Pakistan for rock salt!
India is the third largest producer of salt. In 2020-21, 66 lakh tonnes of salt worth about Rs 870 crore was exported. Indian salt is eaten in countries like China, South Korea, Japan, Qatar, Indonesia, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Nepal and Taiwan. But we depend on Pakistan for rock salt.
Rock salt is most commonly used in fasting or fasting. In India, fasting is observed during Navratri. Apart from this, there is a tradition of fasting on some special occasions as well. During the fast, food is eaten without salt. In such a situation, instead of common salt, rock salt is added to the food.
Rock salt is not produced in India. Whereas, Pakistan is far ahead in this. There is a salt mine named Khevda in the Punjab province of Pakistan. More than 4.5 lakh tonnes of rock salt is produced here every year. Rock salt is also known as Sandhav salt, Lahori salt, halite, pink salt or Himalayan salt.
According to the report of the Indian Bureau of Mines, in 2018-19, India imported 74,457 tonnes of rock salt. Out of this 74,413 tonnes i.e. more than 99% rock salt came from Pakistan.
However, now India has also reduced its dependence on rock salt. In 2019-20, India imported 60,441 tonnes of rock salt, out of which 19,037 tonnes i.e. 31% salt came from Pakistan. In 2019-20, the highest amount of 31,839 tonnes of rock salt was imported from UAE. Apart from UAE and Pakistan, rock salt also came from Iran, Malaysia, Germany, Afghanistan, Turkey and Australia.
The biggest mine is Khevda
The salt mine of Khevda is on the Koh hill. It is considered to be the largest mine in the world. Every year 4.5 lakh tonnes of salt comes out from here. More than 99 percent of this is rock salt.
Some reports suggest that this mine is so big that salt can be supplied from here for the next 450 years.
The story of the discovery of this mine is also very interesting. It is said that when Alexander was crossing the Jhelum river, his horses licked this mine. Due to this his sick horses were cured. Then it was found that there is a salt mine here. However, the salt business started from this mine during the Mughal era.
In the end, how important is salt?
The most important element in salt is sodium. This is very important for our body. Because sodium works to make the water level right in our body, to deliver oxygen and other essential elements to all the organs. It is often advised to eat less salt. But it is another matter that this does not happen.
According to the guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO), a person should eat less than 5 grams of salt every day. But every person in India eats almost double the salt than the prescribed standard. According to the George Institute of Global Health, Australia, every Indian consumes an average of 10 grams of salt every day.
Overall, both high and low salt intake are dangerous. Because excess salt increases blood pressure, the body starts getting dehydrated due to its low amount.
However, the WHO says that if you eat less than 5 grams of salt a day, then it not only keeps blood pressure under control, but also reduces the risk of heart attack and heart-related diseases. According to WHO, if salt is taken in the right quantity, it can save 25 lakh lives every year.