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|June 5, 1997||
Ernakulam may spark petro drought in Kerala
D Jose in Thiruvananthapuram
The Cochin Refineries Limited suspended production on Monday due to acute water scarcity in the Ernakulam industrial belt, creating panic in Kerala.
Fearing acute shortage of petroleum products including LPG in the state, people resorted to panic buying. Cautioning that this would disrupt supplies, a CRL spokesman said that the company had enough supplies for one week, by which time the water problem might be solved.
Even if normal water supply is restored, the company will resume its operations only when its reservoirs reach a comfortable level. At present the company has a storing capacity of 11,000 kl as against a daily requirement of 22,750 kl. The government will incur a loss of Rs 30 million due to the closure.
However, CRL is not the only victim of water shortage. Carbon and Chemicals Ltd has already shut down it plants, and several other units including the Hindustan Organic Chemicals are likely to follow suit. HOC has been getting less than half its daily requirement of 6.8 million litres. Residents fear that insufficient water supply to chemical units may cause accidents.
Expressing its helpness, the Kerala Water Authority -- which supplies water to the industrial belt -- has blamed low voltage and leakages in the 30-year-old pipelines for the crisis. KWA managing director Krishnaveni told Rediff On The NeT that pumping was resumed after leaks were plugged. She said that supply will become normal later this week.
As for low voltage, the KWA managing director said the problem has been taken up with the electricity boards.
Meanwhile, representatives of the affected companies are expected to meet Chief Minister E K Nayanar and request urgent remedial measures. The water crisis has come at a time when several units were reeling under power shortage, which has badly affected their production.
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