Packaged drinking water firms in Tamil Nadu launched an indefinite strike on Thursday after the Madras High Court directed the state to take action against unlicensed units and illegal extraction of water.
According to a report in The Hindu, the packaged drinking water companies have called a strike, highlighting the need for no objection certificates needed to extract groundwater. The newspaper reports that 1,612 units around Tamil Nadu were in possession of requisite licences while only 600 of these had no objection certificates from the Water Resources Department.
The Greater Tamil Nadu Packaged Drinking Water Manufacturersâ€™ Association has said that while they await no objection certificates from the government, they are only drawing limited quantities of water. According to The Hindu, the state, on average, sells around 25 crore litres of drinking water.
The units have sought permission to draw upto 30,000 litres of water per day.
According to a report in The New Indian Express, Tamil Nadu Packaged Drinking Water Manufacturers Association and Coimbatore Region Packaged Drinking Water Manufacturers Association have also joined the strike. They say that the High Court's direction comes as a blow to units without no objection certificates; the units are unable to meet the area-wise criteria required for issue of NOCs.
According to the newspaper, the units have to be approved by the Tamil Nadu Public Works Department, Directorate of Food Safety and Drug Administration, and Directorate of Town and Country Planning prior to the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board issuing them permits.
During the drought-like situation in summer 2019 too, the companies had gone on strike after being pulled up for drawing water from village wells. They had called off the strike after the government agreed to look into their demands. The Madras High Court had upheld a 2014 order that regulates the extraction of groundwater for commercial purposes by commercial establishments.