Left Menu
Development News Edition

Manipur village trying to preserve art of making circular salt

PTI | Imphal | Updated: 16-08-2019 13:12 IST | Created: 16-08-2019 13:12 IST
Manipur village trying to preserve art of making circular salt

Ningel, a small hamlet in the foothills of Imphal valley, is the only village left in Manipur which is struggling to preserve the over three- century-old art of making circular salt slabs. Despite the lure of higher-income generating occupations, availability of packaged iodized salt and the disappearance of salt wells in neighbouring villages, people like Maibum Mutum works tirelessly throughout the day to make the circular salt slabs.

Inhabited by less than 1,000 people, Ningel has three salt-wells of which two were constructed in the not-so- distant past. "Salt is extracted from nearby salt wells after the presence of salt springs is confirmed when subtle vapours are found hovering from potential sites. A shaft is sunk down to the spring by the locals to extract the water from which salt is made," Mutum said.

These salt wells are 45 feet in depth and six feet in diameter, said 51-year-old Mutum. Only six households of Ningel are engaged in making circular salt slabs and multiple salt wells located at nearby villages of Chandrakhong, Nongbram have become obsolete.

Explaining the reasons for the declining popularity of making the circular salt slabs, village chief Naomi said, the younger generation, particularly women, was now preferring to opt for weaving, as it yields higher income. Unlike packaged salt available in local supermarkets, the salt slabs procured from Ningel, located 28 km from the state capital, are not sold in fancy packets.

Circular in shape with a diameter of 12 cm and thickness of less than one inch, Ningel salts are marketed not in powdered form but in unpackaged slabs placed on a palm- sized banana leaf, which is then moulded into the same shape with one's hands. Salt making at Ningel is a relatively simple process.

Salt water is taken out from the wells in bronze containers and heated in medium or small sized vessels, resembling wok or rectangular-shaped pans. After an hour or more of continuous heating by firewood, the salt water evaporates leaving behind brightly coloured salt in the form of paste. The paste is transferred to another large bowl and allowed to cool down.

The salt-maker then collects the paste in a locally made simple tool known as "chilel" and puts it in a palm sized banana leaf, which is then moulded into its familiar circular shape. The circular salt slabs are later taken to the busy salt-section of the Ima Market in Imphal and sold at the rate of Rupees 10 per slab.

She says she would like to make more of such salt slabs but the amount of firewood required for heating the salt-water is huge, which is hindering the process. At present, wood worth Rs 300 is needed, which is a burden for the poor villagers.

However, Maimu claimed that the circular salt slabs are better than packaged iodized salt and are in demand during the Manipuri festival of Cheiraoba or Manipuri New Year, as well as in the months of "Lamta" and "Fairen" (February/ March). Former pradhan M Ingocha told PTI, "The locals have petitioned the government to preserve the salt wells but to no avail." Still, the villagers have made voluntary efforts to preserve them by cleaning the areas around the salt wells, said Ingocha.

Noting that 40 to 50 tourists visit this site every year, the former pradhan said, the possibility of total disappearance of the salt wells is "very high" because of the alleged negligence and low income generated from selling the salt slabs..


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

5G will be the key driving force for COVID-19 recovery: Here's how?

... ...

Canada’s COVID-19 pitfalls highlight need for integrated health information system

In the globalized world of today where outbreaks can spread far and wide within a matter of days, a global-level integrated health information system is ideal but Canadas provincial barriers show that the country lags much behind in deployi...

Pandemic must be impetus, not obstacle, for clean water access

To make matters worse, there are suspicions that the inadequacy of wastewater treatment methods in California, the rest of the USA, and indeed around the world may help to propagate the disease even more widely. ...

3D printing and the future of manufacturing post COVID-19

The on-demand, customizable, and localized manufacturing of product components facilitated by 3D printing has the potential to redefine manufacturing but there are certain technical, mechanical, and legal limitations that, unless ...

Videos

Latest News

Gandhi Maidan: The impressive historical legacy of Patna's I-Day celebration venue

Patnas Bankipore Maidan, silent witness to some of the landmark events in the countrys history, was renamed in the honour of Mahatma Gandhi after his assassination and before the first anniversary of Independence Day in 1948. According to a...

'PM SVANidhi' scheme can reduce dependence on high interest- charging money lenders: Hawkers' body

The newly-launched PM SVANidhi scheme -- which aims to provide street vendors loans of up to Rs 10,000 to restart business post the COVID-19 lockdown -- can go a long way in reducing their dependence on money lenders, who charge exorbitant ...

Cholamandalam Financial Holdings makes Rs 589.46 cr as PAT

Chennai, Aug 13 PTI Cholamandalam Financial Holdings Ltd, formerly TI Financial Holdings Ltd, on Thursday said it has made Rs 589.46 crore as consolidated profit after tax PAT for the quarter ending June 30, 2020. The consolidated PAT was R...

Cong to move confidence motion in Rajasthan Assembly

The Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government will move a confidence motion in the Rajasthan Assembly during the session beginning Friday, a party leader said. This was announced Thursday at the Congress Legislature Party meeting chaired by Gehl...

Give Feedback