Owners of private water tankers in areas around Tambaram did not operate their vehicles on Wednesday, protesting crackdown by Revenue Department staff.
Staff from the Sholinganallur taluk office on Tuesday seized 11 tankers transporting drinking water extracted from farm wells in Medavakkam, Sholinganallur and Pallikaranai among other areas, citing violation of norms.
Reacting to this, water tanker operators staged a protest. More than 200 private water tanker lorries were parked on the margins of Pallavaram-Thoraipakkam radial road. N. Nijalingam, president of South Chennai Water Tanker Owners' Association, conceding that some of them violated regulations meant to protect groundwater, said many others pumped water from their farm and other wells they owned.
Water scarcity was becoming acute and they were simply transporting water from one area to another. “The water is not going to be wasted. Someone, somewhere will be drinking it or using it for cooking purposes,” Mr. Nijalingam said, adding that several hundred families in the southern suburbs of Chennai were dependent on it. They were also protesting against the steep charges collected at toll plazas on Rajiv Gandhi Salai. The charges in turn would be passed on to their buyers.
However, staff at the taluk office said that they were acting on instructions from the Kancheepuram district administration and the State government. There were several complaints of indiscriminate water extraction, over speeding and rash driving and continuous extraction of water from wells using loud generators and pumps even through the night causing disturbance to residents, they added.