The government has decided to seek private sector investment to resume operations at the Elephantpass Saltern which ceased work in 1980s due to the escalation of violence between the military and the LTTE, officials said today.
At that time, 50,000-70,000 tonnes of salt were manufactured annually at this place, and the amount accounted for 35 per cent of the country’s requirement.
V. Sivagnanasothy, the Secretary of the Ministry of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development, told the Daily Mirror that Cabinet approval had been given for a private-public partnership arrangement for the resumption of salt manufacturing at this plant.
He said that the government would examine the possibility of leasing out the land area of the slatern to the private sector to start work in this regard.
“We have not finalised it yet. However, it is a possibility which we will examine. Valuation is being done at the moment. Once it is complete, we will call for expression of interests from the private sector,” he said.
Asked about the government’s share in this partnership arrangement, he said that it would be decided later.
He said that mine clearance work had been completed at the moment in the landmass of the saltern, which was around 1,000 acres in extent.
After the end of the war in 2009, the government decided to revive a number of industries that remained defunct in the north due to the volatile security situation. The cement factory in Kankesanthurai, the Achchuveli industrial zone and the Elephantpass saltern are some of them. (Kelum Bandara)