Packaged Water Strike Sparks Parched Pongal Fear - The New Indian Express

Packaged Water Strike Sparks Parched Pongal Fear

Published: 10th January 2014 07:28 AM

Last Updated: 10th January 2014 07:28 AM

With water can suppliers going on an indefinite strike, plenty of women in households across Chennai are worried about whether they will have enough drinking water to tide over the Pongal holidays. “Already my water can supplier told me that his delivery boys were going home for Pongal and so I had asked for four cans on Sunday,” explained Srimathi M, a housewife who lives in Alwarthirunagar, “Today he told me that only one can could be given because of the strike. My husband’s relatives are coming and I don’t know what to do,” added the perturbed lady.

The strike was called by the Tamil Nadu Packaged Drinking Water Manufacturers Association (TPDWMA) to protest the closure of 252 water manufacturing companies by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Wednesday. Given how things are going, it does not appear as if an end to the strike is in sight, “The same treatment was meted out last year in May to about 91 companies. The NGT has closed down companies without worrying about the immediate effect this will have,” said Shakespeare, General Secretary of the TPDWMA. There are over 900 water manufacturing companies across the state and “almost one third” have been shut down in the recent past.

Though the smarter suppliers have begun hoarding existing stocks and only issuing as few water cans as possible, some like G Sambanthan from K K Nagar admit that it will run out by Monday, “if the strike continues and new loads don’t arrive”. The water manufacturing companies in the state produce and distribute about 14 lakh water cans everyday and about 4 lakh of this is consumed by Chennai alone.

Talk of a water shortage has set off panic ‘water can’ buying. Some people like Balasubramanian M from Mylapore admitted that they bought three cans to be safe, while Vimala J said that she was mulling getting an aquaguard to be rid of this can supply headache permanently.

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