Chennai: Water tanker crisis averted as strike is withdrawn

CHENNAI:  A major crisis in the metro has been averted with the Tamil Nadu Private Water Tanker Lorry Owners' Association announcing that it was with drawing the indefinite strike that was scheduled to start on Monday (July 8). This is the second time the association announced a strike and withdrew it in the interest of residents who are struggling for regular supply of water. The association, according to sources, was told by officials not to resort to the agitation and further aggravate the problems of the people. We have decided drop the stir in the interest of the people. Also we were told by officials that the case on drawing groundwater was : in the court and hence no de cision could be taken till the court settles the matter," says state president. Speaking to this reporter on Sunday he said the association has decided to resume normal supply of water. The decision follows a meeting with the State authorities who had strictly on. told the tanker owners not add to the existing problems of the people. "Moreoverthe officials said a decision on the issue could not be taken due to a case in the court,” Mr. Nijalingam said and added that the officials have assured to take up the issue with the Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami swami for appropriate action. In June this year, the Madras High Court had reiterat that tapping groundwater water illegally was equivalent to theft. The private tankers were drawing water from agriculture wells the area. Villagers in neighbouring Tiruvallur districttion protested against the tapping of water from their wells. There are over 25.000 tanker lorries which supply water to the people throughout the State and in Chennai about 5,000 tanker lorries fetching water from the neighbouring districts. D enying that their members have been fleecing the people, Mr. Nijalingam said the association members have been supplying water to hotels, IT parks and high-rise apartments on con- tract. “We have not hiked the prices for those who have entered into a contract with us. However, the residents who have been buying water after the groundwater level dwindled drastically, have been charged upto Rs. 1,000 extra,” he said. But this segment constitutes only about one or two percent, he claims. Earlier, in May, the TN Private Water Tanker Lorry Owners' Association had called a strike but later called it off.

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