Strike almost shuts down major Indian IT biz park

IT executives from Indian vendors including Tata Consultancy Services and Infosys arrange to meet with government officials, after a 52-hour worker strike threatened to shut down Chennai's IT business district.

Southern Indian IT executives will meet state government officials this week to resolve a water shortage that threatens to shut down operations in a major IT business district. 

According to a report Wednesday in the Economic Times, a delegation of IT executives presenting outsourcing vendors such as Tata Consultancy Services, Infosys, and Cognizant, initiated the talks after water-tanker operators went on a 52-hour strike last week. The strike was called off as it threatened to shut down busineess in the Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR) district, which is completely irrigated by water tankers rather than pipes.

A single-day shutdown would have cost US$16.6 million (1 billion rupees), the report said.

Chennai's official water supplier does not have presence in the OMR region, which does not have access to bore wells or water treatment mechanisms. These problems affect all Indians, according to Rohini Nilekani, chairwoman of Arghyam, a public charitable foundation working in the water and sanitation sector.

"The crisis faced in Chennai's [OMR stretch] by the industry, due to the strike by ground water tanker suppliers, is typical of the water conflicts arising everywhere in India," Nilekani said in the report. 

Every day, hundreds of water tanker operators drive to nearby villages, where they can buy 12,000 litres of water for between US$4 and US$7 (250 to 400 rupees). They will sell this in the city for nearly twice the amount.


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