Nearly 900 water packaging units remain shut; shortage anticipated

Several customers in the city stocked up on packaged drinking water on Thursday anticipating a shortage due to the ongoing indefinite strike by manufacturers.

Protesting the National Green Tribunal’s directive on Wednesday to close over 252 units across the State, members of the Tamil Nadu Packaged Drinking Water Manufacturers Association started a strike.

Following this, several retailers received more orders for bubbletops on Thursday. V. Murugan, a retailer in Perambur, said he exhausted his stock as many residents had purchased two or three bubbletops anticipating a shortage during the next few days.

Nearly 900 units across the State remain closed since Wednesday evening. Of this, about 320 units are located in and around Chennai.

Tamil Nadu Packaged Drinking Water Manufacturers Association’s president V. Murali said the units were directed to be closed as they were located in regions where groundwater resources was said to be over-exploited. Of this, 12 were located around the city.

The association’s general secretary A. Shakespeare said the units already had licences from the Bureau of Indian Standards and Food Safety Standards Authority of India. “We are not a polluting industry. The State government must provide us exemption from the licensing system of Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board.” The association members had also represented their issues to officials in the Chief Minister’s cell on Thursday, he added.

While 3.5 crore litres of water is supplied across the State every day, consumers from the city and its suburbs consume nearly 90 lakh litres of packaged water daily. Nearly 90 per cent of the supply is in the form of bubbletops.

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