TAMIL NADU

PVC pipe shops flooded with orders, thanks to RWH

CUDDALORE Aug. 26. With the State Government and local bodies pressing ahead with the implementation of rainwater harvesting system scheme, the order books of PVC (polyvinyl chloride) pipe dealers are overflowing.

The racks have gone empty, and dealers find it difficult to meet the demand, while the masons have to work overtime to complete the task. Though the traders consider RWH a windfall, they are hardly equipped for executing the orders within a short span.

According to S. Sudhakar, who runs a hardware shop as well as cement works here, the demand far outstrips supply, and therefore, the PVC pipes and elbows (meant for joining pipes) are in acute shortage. He says the normal requirement for the pipes is three-inch diameter, and a 20-ft piece costs Rs. 150-180.

Mr. Sudhakar says the pipes have to come from Salem and elbows from Chennai. As the manufacturers are now flooded with orders, they are reluctant to accept fresh requirements. However, to retain the customer base, certain dealers are making advance bookings, collecting a token amount.

The masons in the cement works are engaged throughout the day, stretching well into night. And yet, they could not fulfil the demand, owing to various constraints.

According to a seasoned mason, K.Rajagopal, cement rings are being made in standard sizes of two, two-and-half and three feet diameter, with one-ft height and one-hand-half inch thickness.

The output per mason could at the most be 14 pieces a day, and it could be stretched up to 18. Intermittent rain is playing spoilsport, because, for want of roofed enclosures, the masons would have to work in the open.

It would take 21 days for a freshly-laid cement ring to dry up, but owing to extraordinary demand, wet rings would have to be despatched within five to seven days. Hence, there are problems of damage in transit and handling.

Though, the RWH gives enormous employment opportunities, making cement ring requires skilled manpower. If the workers do not know the right mixture of cement and blue metal (the mixture is poured into an cast iron mould for a fixed duration), the right kind of products could not be obtained.

The plumbers too are much sought after, for fixing the system, so also cartmen in transporting the articles. Yet, amid the flurry of activities, many households and commercial establishments hope that the Government might extend the deadline, so they could put up the structures in an organised manner, without rushing through the process.

Stars to take the RWH message home

The Tamil film industry too is pitching in to spread the State Government's message of rainwater conservation.

The Tamil Nadu Producers Council has come out with a short film titled `Mazhai thuli, uyir thuli' (Rain drop, a lifeline) and a song-and-dance sequence featuring leading stars in the tinsel world to drive home the message of the need to harvest rainwater.

At the Secretariat here this morning, the Chief Secretary, Lakshmi Pranesh, and a host of other officials viewed the film and song-and-dance sequence, and gave suggestions for a few changes.

"The film is ready and it will be screened at all cinemas and showed on television channels after the Chief Minister, Jayalalithaa, gives her approval," the council president, L.M.M.Muralitharan, told the media.

The film was a voluntary initiative by the council to extend support to the Chief Minister's programme.

The five-minute film unfolds with a comic interlude between actors, Vadivelu and Parthipan, on the lines of the comedy track in the film `Vetri Kodikattu'.

The song-and-dance sequence, also of five-minute duration, has some popular heroes and heroines dancing with umbrellas and singing the `rain' song.

Barring Rajnikant, almost all lead stars — Kamal Hasan, Vikram, Surya, Madhavan, Jyotika, Simran and Sneha to name a few — put in an appearance.

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