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Hello

I am Aarjav Jain, a high school student at Ahmedabad International School.

After completing my 9th standard examinations, I had the opportunity to visit a salt refinery in Little Rann of Kutch, Gujarat. During the visit, I witnessed the process of refining and iodization of salt obtained from the salt farms. I also had a chance to observe the salt farms firsthand. The sight of workers toiling under the scorching heat, wearing torn shirts and salt-dusted khaki pants, left a lasting impact on me. Their tireless efforts and the sweat dripping down their faces painted a poignant picture of their struggles.

 

Through conversations with the local villagers, I learned that these workers were known as Agariyas, which translates to "one who farms salt." They have been involved in salt cultivation since the late 1900s and contribute nearly 30% of India's total salt production. Witnessing their difficult circumstances made me contemplate the future, realizing that if we continued to neglect and mistreat these hardworking individuals, India might eventually have to rely on other countries for its salt needs.

 

Motivated by this concern, I embarked on a journey to develop a project aimed at assisting the Agariya community in any way possible. Thus, Project Agarakshak was born.

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WHO ARE AGARIYAS ?

Agariyas are a salt-making community residing in Little Rann of Kutch, Gujarat. Many years back, the government decided to give a major part of the little Rann of Kutch as a lease to some farmers to start salt farming. The farmers accepted this proposal and started cooking salt in huge salt pans. These salt-pan workers came to be known as Agariyas, literally meaning "the ones who make salt".For almost decades, Agariyas were the ones who would make salt in India.Being unaware of shrewdness in the Indian market, the workers were getting cheated, by getting underpaid.Seeing this, many people began setting up their salt farms in the land owned by Agariyas at a comparatively cheaper price than its worth. Though they were still working, but at each stage, they were getting heavily underpaid. This was only the beginning of their downfall, in 2016 government declared an unnotified land in the periphery of LRK as "Wild Ass Sanctuary". The same un-notified land was also a home to 3500 Agariya families who meant no harm to these animals. However, they were forced to leave their village due to which many families didn't even get a chance to send their children to school.

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