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Agaria community: Feeding nation with salt but forced to live in extreme conditions

Publish Date: 31 Jan 2013, 06:38 PM
Last Updated: 31 Jan 2013, 06:38 PM
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Plight of people who make salt for us
Plight of people who make salt for us

Ahmedabad: Salt is linked to loyalty in our culture and there is a famous adage that one has to prove his or her loyalty to the person whose salt is consumed. But on the contrary, the people belonging to Gujarat’s Agaria community, which is feeding nearly 75 percent of our population with salt, is paying a very painful price for their job.

Agaria workers are believed to be in the profession of making salt since pre-independence era.

During the process of making salt, their feet get extraordinarily thin and harsh causing adverse impact on their health. These workers are forced to live in extremely painful conditions. More importantly, after their death, the whole body is cremated but one has to bury their feet as it does not get burned.

Covered in an abrasive coating of salt at work place, their life expectancy is reduced drastically. Forced to work in painful atmosphere, each Agaria worker produces 60 tonnes of salt on an average.

Agaria community is one of the India's poorest communities whose children hardly go to schools. The community also remains unemployed for about four months due to the land being submerged in water and salt making process is stopped.


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