Water tanker operators in the district have withdrawn their strike following talks convened by District Collector P.I. Sheikh Pareed on Thursday.

The meeting decided to allow round-the-clock operation of water tankers except during peak time considering the severe water shortage in the district. Supply of water in tanker lorries will be restricted from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

The Collector, however, made it clear that the combined inspection of water tankers by police, road transport, revenue, and health authorities will continue in the coming days.

The Ernakulam District Drinking Water Welfare Association had gone on strike on Wednesday in protest against the alleged highhandedness of health authorities and strict regulations imposed on the operation of water tankers by the district administration.

Tankers have been permitted to collect water from 26 private sources. Besides, water will be provided round-the-clock from the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) sources in Aluva, Paravur, and Thammanam and from Choondy, Perumanoor, and Muppathadam during day time. KWA will charge Rs.30 for 1,000 litres of water from these sources.

Mr. Pareed said that separate passes will be issued on advance payment for collection of water from these sources. The ban on collecting water from the Periyar is still in force. The district administration said that all steps had been taken to check the spread of water-borne epidemics in the district. The Collector said that all precautionary steps had been taken to control jaundice though the number of reported cases this year is lower compared to last year. Separate medical squads are functioning especially in western Kochi.

Steps have also been taken to check the illegal practice of cutting off pipelines of KWA to take water as it led to the pollution of water through the incursion of impurities from drains.

Assistant police commissioner T. Gopalakrishna Pillai, Regional Transport Officer T.J. Thomas, district rural health officer P.N. Sreenivasan, KWA superintendent engineer Vinaya G. were present at the meeting.

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