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India's IT giants left gasping after water shortage

Strike by suppliers nearly cripples IT services industry

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IT execs from some of India’s biggest tech firms are set to meet government officials this week after crippling water shortages almost shut down a large chunk of the country’s multi-billion pound industry last week.

Businesses in Chennai’s Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR) district apparently account for around three-quarters of the £5.4bn worth of exports shipped from the entire state of Tamil Nadu.

However, IT services giants including Tata and Infosys came within a day of a forced shutdown last week after a 52-hour strike by water tank suppliers, which could have cost the local economy as much as £10.8m per day, Economic Times reported.

The problem is that Chennai’s official water supplier doesn’t cover the area and therefore local businesses have to rely on water tanks, transported in from surrounding villages by the lorry-load.

The water tank operators apparently pay villagers around £2.70-4 for a 12,000 litre tank, which they can sell on in OMR for double that amount.

A report from the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry cited by Economic Times revealed that 60 per cent of respondents felt the availability of water was impacting their business.

An even higher number, 87 per cent, said it would be a problem by 2021. ®

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