The water crisis that hit the Pithampur industrial area early this year has gone from bad to worse, forcing many units, including those in special economic zone (SEZ), to curtail production.
The piped water supply, which was available in the SEZ and sector 1 in April, was stopped by the Audyogik Kendra Vikas Nigam (AKVN) about a week ago due to sharp decline in water levels of major reservoirs. Now, industrial units are almost completely dependent on water tankers.
The entire Pithampur industrial area has a demand of about 18 MLD (million litres per day).
The pharmaceutical industry, which requires clean water for its daily needs, has been the worst hit as the water supplied by tankers is hard water. As a result, the units have to incur extra input costs on softening it.
Indore SEZ, which has 49 operational units, is home to some of the biggest name in the pharma sector in India including Cipla, IPCA and Lupin.
“We have curtailed production by about 15-20% due to severe water crisis. The problem is more acute this year and piped water supply has totally stopped since last one week,” IPCA labs assistant general manager Rajendra Khandelwal told HT.
The hard water supplied by tankers is also causing problems. “We have no other option but to use treated water and are trying to fulfill our supply commitments even if it means a rise in input costs,” said Kedarmal Bankda of Syncom Formulations.
The Pithampur industry association has lamented apathetic attitude of the government in addressing the problem. “The problem is that, while the number of industries has gone up steeply, no new water sources have been added in the last two decades. The situation has worsened to such an extent that the industry is totally dependent on tankers,” Pithampur Industry Association president Gautam Kothari said. “The government should expedite the first phase of Narmada water supply project so that we don’t face the same problem in 2018.”
Pithampur also faced acute water shortage last year when the piped water supply was stopped due to maintenance work at the main reservoir.
“The recurring problem will be resolved when the Narmada water supply project becomes operational,” AKVN Indore managing director Kumar Purushottam said.
The government agency plans to come out with tenders soon and the project is expected to become operational in 2018.