Packaged water manufacturing units may also go on strike

Chennai: At a time when owners of private water tankers continued their indefinite strike on the second consecutive day, the can water-manufacturing units across the state also joined the strike from Tuesday, giving an alarming situation to the public, as there is a high possibility that an acute water scarcity might loom large in Chennai region and rest of the state.

 According to members from packaged drinking water manufacturing units, they are facing issues similar to that of owners of water tankers. Under such circumstance, they are not allowed to tap water from open wells and agricultural renting wells, as revenue officials tightened court order that banned drawing groundwater from private lands, considering depleting groundwater table.

“We held talks about strike and we have decided to go on strike. Since court order banned drawing ground water in private bore wells and agricultural renting wells, we cannot draw water anywhere,” said a staff from private packaged water units in Coimbatore. However, more number of such units was functioning even on Tuesday and a meeting regarding this would be held on Wednesday.

As far as Chennai is concerned, over 4,000 private water tankers are off the road. Further, the strike of can water supply units would add to woes of drinking water supply. “Since Tiruvallur and Kanchipuram districts remain major sources for drinking water, such strike would lead to acute water shortage of drinking water cans in the suburban areas of Chennai,” said R Manikandan, a member of South Chennai Private Water Tankers Association.

Even after they went on strike, there is no any call from the government to hold talks, he said, warning that people would come to street with empty pots in the next couple of days, waking up the officials.

It may be noted that the Madras high court ordered banning ground water exploitation in the private lands. Meanwhile, environmentalists backed court order. Dr Sekhar Raghavan, water expert and director of The Rain Centre, welcomed the court order.

 “At the same time, the government should have taken precautionary measures and maintained records of groundwater regulation. Even the government would not be aware of how many private water tankers and borewells are in Chennai and other regions in the state,” he pointed out.

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