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Salt is used by mankind since several centuries and the uses of common salt are plenty. Ranging from cooking to preservation, salt plays an important role in our day to day life. India proudly ranks third in the list of major salt producers in the world. In India, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh actively engage in salt production. In Tamil Nadu, salt production in Thoothukudi occurs at a large scale.

Thoothukudi aka Tuticorin

Thoothukudi is one of the major cities of Tamil Nadu with a lot of industrial opportunities. This place is a hotspot for small and large scale industries with a number of natural and raw material sources available abundantly.

Thoothukudi has more feathers in its cap as it is the only Tamil city, apart from Chennai, which is connected by road, rail, air and sea. This enables a lot of opportunities for trade imports and exports.

Salt production fields – Uppalam

The weather conditions and long sea shores provide a great chance for salt production. Salt producing fields, called “Uppalam” in Tamil, are abundant across the district. Salt production methods are based on – evaporation and crystallization.


Sea water is the major source of salt which is also non-exhaustible. Prevalence of a sunny weather for most of the year provides a suitable environment for uninterrupted salt production. In general, this process is carried out from February to October. Shallow ponds are created and filled with sea water which evaporates slowly under the influence of sun and wind. The salt which sediments itself underneath is then collected and purified.

Usage of more than one pond makes the produced salt purer and better. Hence, a second or third pond is used to eliminate other impurities to produce pure sodium chloride. Such salt production methods are carried out traditionally for several decades. However, there are new conventional methods which enable to produce salt with better quality.

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Industrial hub

Thoothukudi is well known for salt production and satisfies 90% of salt demand in the state. A number of chemical industries and factories contribute to the state’s growing economy. The entire district is well known for its industrial businesses which attract a lot of investors. Apart from these, Thoothukudi actively involves in power generation and supply.
Most of the inhabitants engage in sea and sea-related occupations. This include salt pans, fishing, port management etc. Thoothukudi has earned the label of “salt producing area” over several decades.

Advantages of being a port city

The history of Thoothukudi dates back to 6th century CE and it was well known for pearl fishing. The city also bears the name “pearl city” or “muthu nagar”. The word “muthu” means pearl in Tamil. The city has one of the major ports of the country and plays an important role in the country’s imports and exports.

The port of Thoothukudi has a history tracing back to the period of Pandyan rulers. The port of Korkai, as it was called, is found to appear in a few old Tamil literary works. The region also witnessed the rule of Chozhas, Dutch, Portuguese and British. It also holds a place for ship building works.

At present, the port bears the name of a famous Tamil freedom fighter, V O Chidambaranar. He was originally from Thoothukudi district and he initiated the sea trade by owning a ship company, against British. Due to his enormous contribution, the port of Thoothukudi is named after him.

Being a port city makes Thoothukudi more successful in terms of trade and economy. The enormous amount of salt produced gets exported across the globe, via ships from Thoothukudi. The ability to handle large number of cargos makes Thoothukudi a well-equipped city where production and supply go hand in hand.

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Featured Photo by Sharada Prasad

Salt Production In Thoothukudi

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