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Industrial unitsin Kutch district face severe water shortage

Industrial units located in the border district of Kutch are facing severe water shortage after a Gujarat government company stopped supplies to them.

Gujarat Water Infrastructure Ltd (GWIL) on April 11 stopped supply of 85 million litres per day (MLD) of water to industrial units in Kutch, which borders Pakistan, from its Anjar-Mandvi pipeline.

The state-run firm supplies Narmada water to residents and industries in Kutch.

As many as 250 large and medium industrial units apart from 3,000 small and micro facilities are located in Kutch district and the prevailing water shortage is adversely affecting them, an industry representative said.

Their total water requirement is 300 MLD, he said.

While 85 MLD of water used to come from the government company, the remaining requirement is met through captive desalination plants, sewerage treatment plants and other sources.

Nimish Phadke, Managing Director, Federation of Kutch Industries Association (FOKIA), said,"Some of the industrial units may be compelled to close down if the state government does not take urgent steps in the next couple of days to meet their water needs."

"The possible closure of industrial units may result in retrenchment of thousands of workers andalso affect indirect employment," he told PTI.

These industries have made an investment of Rs 70,000 crore in the district and provide direct employment to 50,000 workers and indirect jobs to one lakh people, he said.

For the last one month, these industrial units are not getting 85 MLD of water from government sources, Phadke said.

He said GWIL used to allocate 85 MLD of water to these units from the Sardar Sarovar Dam, built across the Narmada river at Kevadiya, about 100km from Vadodara.

However, the dam does not have enough water for industrial use due to scanty rainfall in its catchment areas in Madhya Pradesh last monsoon. This led GWIL to suspend its water supplies to industrial units in Kutch, he said.

FOKIA has written multiple letters to the Gujarat government, drawing its attention to the water shortage issue, but there has been no response, Phadke said.

"We have requested the government to allow the use of GWIL's pipeline network to take water from captive desalination plants to industrial units.

"We will not only bear the cost of desalination of water, but also the expenses incurred in its transportation," Phadke said.