The Kozhijampara grama panchayat council on Monday cancelled the licence it had given for a fruit drink unit “as it was found that the company required huge quantity of water for the unit”.

President of the grama panchayat K.S. Thanikachalam said a panchayat council meeting on Monday decided unanimously to cancel the licence given to the unit last month.

“The company in its application to the grama panchayat had not revealed the huge quantity of water the unit required.  Since the panchayat is facing shortage of water, such water-intensive units cannot be sanctioned in the area,” he said.

He said the panchayat had given sanction for the unit on March 26 as it was being started on the Bhagavathy Textile mill complex that was closed down some years back retrenching nearly 2,000 workers.  Preliminary sanction was given for the unit as it would have created some employment opportunities,” he said.

There had been protests from various sections against the decision of the grama panchayat to give licence to set up the fruit processing unit. Excessive exploitation of groundwater in the eastern parts of Chittur taluk had resulted in fluoride contamination of water, making it unfit for consumption. The area falls in a rain shadow regionThe failure of the monsoon and the absence of water from the inter-State Parambikulam Aliyar Project have compounded the problem.