The salt processing industry in Jhalakathi is facing collapse due to various reasons, including a shortage of fuel supply. Out of the 20 refineries in the district, 11 have already closed down, while the remaining nine are in dire straits. Workers blame the lack of uninterrupted gas supply, while owners cite other factors. Three of the operational factories are centrifuge type, and the rest are traditional refineries, collectively producing 3,500 tonnes of edible salt and 7,000 tonnes of industrial salt per month.
The traditional refineries, struggling to compete, upgraded to vacuum systems but are now hampered by the ongoing gas crisis. Jhalakathi’s once-thriving salt industry, established in the late nineteenth century, is now under threat as modern vacuum system factories in other districts outpace them. Challenges include a shortage of labor, increased wages, and navigability issues. Efforts are being made to develop and modernize the industry, including potential low-interest bank loans and government support to sustain and expand the salt industry in Jhalakathi.