Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Monday directed officials to identify additional land for rock salt mining in Drang area of Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh.
The CM gave the directions on the request of Chairman-cum-Managing Director of Hindustan Salts limited SP Bansal who met him in Mandi on Monday.
Bansal has urged for providing surplus land on lease for further processing and increasing the production of rock salt (known as Gumma Salt in local parlance) in Drang constituency of the district.
The area is famous for the best mines of rock salt in India after Pakistan and Afghanistan.
These mines were started in May 1963 and were closed in January 15, 2011 due to non-forest clearance from the Environment and Forestry Ministry and non deposit of royalty by the company.
However, after re-commissioning in March, 2016 the rock salt mine was extracting around 7,000 to 10,000 metric tonnes of salt every year from Maigal, Darang and Gumma mines.
The mines had 58 million tonnes of total deposits used for animal lick and used by locals for various applications and getting relief from sore pains.
The company has got clearance from Ministry of Forest and Environment (MoEF) for setting up a plant for the extraction of rock salt at a cost of Rs 300 Crore. Besides being a point of tourist attraction the Rock Salt mines when fully commissioned will provide employment to around more than 2,000 youth.
The CM asked Deputy Commissioner, Mandi to look in the issue of land so that HP rock salt could make its mark in International market as well. He said that the Member of Parliament from Mandi Ram Swaroop Sharma also took keen interest to get these mines to restart.