The government will import some 5 lakh metric tonnes of crude salt to meet the domestic demand, keep its price and supply stable in the market as its local production has marked a fall.
The Commerce Ministry has decided to import crude salt as there has been lower salt production in the country this time compared to its target, a senior official told UNB on Wednesday.
The crude salt will be imported within a few days on completion of necessary paperwork.
A Statutory Regulatory Order (SRO) will be issued in this regard as the country's current import policy does not support salt import to protect domestic interest, said the Commerce Ministry.
According to an Industries Ministry estimate, the total annual demand of salt is around 15.76 lakh metric tonnes while the production is 13.64 lakh metric tones, showing a deficit of 2.12 lakh metric tonnes.
Cyclone Mora and heavy rainfall caused disruption in salt production this year and the Commerce Ministry has decided to import crude salt considering the overall situation to keep salt supply stable, the ministry officials said.
The government has been providing support to salt producers to help meet the domestic demand.
The latest decision to import salt is taken in a bid to protect consumers' right to get salt in a fair price, said the Commerce Ministry.
The government designated importers will be able to avail of the opportunity to import salt but the quality must be ensured ensuring the presence of iodine in it, the ministry said.
Last year, the government imported some 2.5 lakh metric tonnes of crude salt in two consignments through similar measures..