Industry fears more than 60% dip in production

Aurangabad: The Bombay high court asking the state government to cut water supply to beer and liquor manufacturing units by 50% has come as a rude shock for industrialists in the region.
Terming the court directives unfortunate, they said the industries in Aurangabad will have to bear the brunt of water shortage despite contributing a sizeable revenue to the state government.
Aurangabad district has over 4,000 small, medium and big industrial units. “The decision would adversely impact production by 60-70% and subsequently the revenue generation for the state. It may also have an affect on employment since industrial units in the more critical zones may have to scale down their operations,” industrialists said.
“Water cut to Aurangabad industries is uncalled for, especially when they are contributing approximately 1% of the national GDP, which is about 1.8 trillion dollars,” Ritesh Mishra, secretary of the Chamber of Marathwada Industries and Agriculture (CMIA).
“As industries are a big solace to large a section of population in the form of employment, such a decision would impact the social status of workers in the drought-like situation,” he said.
Rishi Kumar Bagla, vice-chairman of the state Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), termed the decision a knee-jerk reaction to the present situation. “But we need to abide by the HC ruling and simultaneously need to find long-term solutions to tide over the consistent water shortage problem. The industries should not be impacted by water cut as their consumption is not so high comparatively,” he said.
“But such water supply cuts would not only create a bad impression among those looking forward to invest in Aurangabad and put Marathwada on the backfoot, but also have a cascading effect on industrial production and exports,” he said.
“Aurangabad industries will face a big global challenge of fulfilling the export orders in because of water cut. The global export, especially of the auto components, will have a telling effect. The decision will have a cascading impact on industrial growth, eventually leading the industries getting wiped out,” he added.
Bagla said while addressing water crisis, it is also necessary to assess other factors. “The Aurangabad Municipal Corporation should recylce sewage water and supply it to the industries. It should focus on plugging pipeline leakages immediately. Water thefts through illegal connections too need to be curbed,” he said.
“It is high time that the Maharashtra government takes concrete steps for addressing the burning issue of water supply to the industries on a broader perspective,” said Ashish Garde, president of CMIA.
“To meet the water requirement of the industries in Aurangabad and Jalna and also plan for meeting the future water needs in the upcoming Shendra-Bidkin DMIC, the CMIA has appealed to the state government to arrange a high-level meeting,”he said.
“The government should seriously give a thought to ensure that water from upstream dams is released into Jayakwadi dam as per the water distribution agreement and at an appropriate time. It should come up with a plan to desilt Jayakwadi dam, which has not been done for the last four years. It would help improve the dam’s water storage capacity so that the industries are benefited to some extent,” he said.
Subhash Lomte, vice-president of state Hamal Mapadi Mahamandal, said the government is free to take the decision to cut water supply industries, but also take care that the workers employed in these units do not suffer.
In a memorandum submitted to the district collector, Lomte stated that the government might have taken the decision considering the impending water crisis, but should also ensure that there are no lay-offs and the workers get their regular salaries.
Welcoming the HC move, water expert Pradeep Purandare said, “Such decisions should also be applicable to all the sectors which promote swimming pools and soft drink and water bottling plants. Long-term measures should be implemented to save water from getting wasted. Water metres should be installed on industrial pipelines to monitor the exact usage. Besides, the industries should also have two different pipelines – one for drinking purpose and other for industrial use.”