Shortage of drinking water : IT professionals in Chennai are asked to work from home

Chennai : Officials in the information technology sector in Chennai’s Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR) agree the water shortage situation in the business district is grim but say they are managing the issue for now.

Officials of some of big IT companies having their development centres in the OMR belt told IANS that they are minimizing the usage of white/fresh water while the grey/treated water is being used for flushing toilets.

Though a media report said about 5,000 IT employees in 12 companies have been asked to work from home owing to the water problem, industry officials including officials in the industry body NASSCOM said they are not aware about companies that have asked employees to work from home.

“There are about 250,000 people working in IT companies in the OMR belt. Compared to this 5,000 is a very small number. Further each company may have their own work-from-home policy,” an industry official told IANS.

However, he said companies might have asked their employees to bring drinking water from home.

Officials of major IT companies like Cognizant, Intellect and BCT Digital told IANS that they have not asked their employees to work from home owing to water shortage problem.

“We are reusing the grey water/treated water in our toilets for flushing. With regard to tap water, the water pressure has been reduced to minimise the consumption. We are also advising the employees to minimise the water usage through notices,” Jaya Vaidhyanathan, CEO, BCT Digital Pvt Ltd, told IANS.

She said no employee has been asked to work from home owing to water issues.

According to her, the usage of grey water and white water in her office are in equal proportion.

One IT sector official told IANS preferring anonymity: “It seems concentrating the IT companies in one belt is a mistake. With about 250,000 people working in this stretch, residential colonies and other social infrastructure has cropped up resulting in strain on water resources.”

Though Tamil Nadu has IT parks in other parts of the state, companies prefer to locate their offices near Chennai.

A NASSCOM official told IANS that not many IT companies have approached them with the water problem as it is a problem for all in the city.

According to an industry official, the companies are not approaching the industry body as they do not want to reveal their current source of water.

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