Tamil Nadu Private Water Tankers Association have once again declared a strike across the state starting from August 21, Wednesday.
Murugan of the Tamil Nadu Private Water Tanker Lorry Owners’ Association tells TNM that the decision to strike comes following multiple police complaints being filed against water tanker drivers and owners. “Our drivers are being booked under non bailable sections. One driver was recently arrested. People are accusing us of illegally extracting groundwater. We are not doing this for our personal reasons.”
Adding that it was difficult to function under such difficult situations, Murugan stated that the strike will continue indefinitely. “Why should we continue to function when we are facing such severe backlash? The strike will continue indefinitely until we are given legal permission to continue operations,” he said.
Nijalingam, President of the Tamil Nadu Private Water Tanker Lorry Owners’ Association, told reporters that the government and the police were not cooperating with their operations. “The drivers and assistants have informed the owners that they are being threatened while doing their work. In the name of giving us license, the police and the government are filing cases against us,” he told reporters on Saturday.
This is not the first time the private water tankers association have declared a strike in the state. In July this year Tamil Nadu Private Water Tanker Lorry Owners’ Association announced an indefinite strike beginning July 8.
Earlier, in May as well, the association had called for a strike but however, called it off at the last minute, hoping to gain an audience with the Chief Minister.
Frequent clashes between private water tankers and local residents of Chennai’s neighbouring districts like Thriuvallur and Kancheepuram have ensued during the past few months. Residents have alleged that water extraction from their lands depletes their already reducing groundwater levels at alarming rates.