Chennai's IT corridor may shut down as strike by water tankers continues

The owners of water tankers began protesting after revenue officials seized five vehicles for drawing from agricultural wells

Published: 09th March 2017 05:43 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th March 2017 08:02 AM   |  A+A-

Private water tankers remain idle in south Chennai as their owners went on strike demanding the release of five seized vehicles | Sunish P Surendran

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The city’s IT hub on the OMR is on the verge of coming to a standstill as the strike by private water tankers entered its fourth day on Thursday. It was yet another manifestation of the battle between farmers living on the outskirts of the city and IT companies for precious groundwater. 

The seizure of five water tankers by Kancheepuram revenue department officials, for drawing water from agricultural wells has been cited as the reason for the protest by South Chennai Private Tanker Lorry Owners’ Association.

While the association has demanded unrestricted access to water from agricultural wells, the revenue department officials are understood to have seized the tankers after pressure mounted from the villagers.  

With water reserves exhausted, some residents in the IT hub are also contemplating moving out of their houses. The IT industry also fears disruption in operations as their offices cannot function if the water supply does not resume in a day or two.

With Chennai Metro Water Board hardly able to meet the rising demands of this newly-developed area, residents and companies are totally dependent on water from agri-wells supplied by private tankers. 

“As much as 90 per cent of water requirement of firms on OMR are met by private suppliers,” says K Purushothaman, senior director of Nasscom for TN and Kerala. “If the crisis continues, offices would have to shut down from Wednesday.”

Purushothaman also raised concerns on how this could affect the brand image of the State. “OMR has so many multi national companies, which support work in the United States and several other countries. Suspension of work due to water crisis will have its impact all over,” Purushothaman said.

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