Dandi is history, reality rubs salt workers sore
Mahatma Gandhi may not have envisioned this. He created history by breaking the salt law imposed by the British in 1930. But 75 years later, those who make Gandhi’s dream a reality by manufacturing salt are rotting with the disease.
A latest study on 1,500 salt workers by the National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOH) has revealed that an alarming 77 per cent of the salt workers are ailing with one or the other disease.
Headache, giddiness, joint-pains, muscle pain, heat cramps, heat pyrexia, hypertension, malnourishment, skin and eye problems and a host of other diseases plague the salt workers as they toil in hostile work environment and sub-human living conditions with less than pittance as remuneration.
In the Little Rann of Kutch, poor salt workers do not have Rs 250 needed to buy gum-boots and goggles to protect their feet and eyes from excessive salt and hazardous UV-rays, reflected in the salt-pans.
Seventy-four per cent of the salt workers who spend over 8 hours in the salt water bare feet were found to suffer from severe skin disorders like excessive dryness of the skin, scaling, warts, cracks and ulcers in the heels that become breeding ground for infection.
TIMES NEWS NETWORK