MANGALORE: The total shut down of MRPL (Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Limited), a first for the two decade old refinery, due to shortage of water supply will hurt investment and investor sentiments, say captains of the industry and the refinery management.
Kanara Chamber of Commerce and industry president Lata Kini told TOI: "We have enough and more problems for investment here like infrastructure and environmental activism. The water crisis will add to the woes."
"We have not seen this kind of problem earlier in a region where rainfall is plenty. This is due to mismanagement of water by the authorities. We should have coordinated efforts to see that this problem does not recur in future," she said.
"We need alternate solutions," she said. Regrading what solutions chamber will propose to the administration or the state government, Kini said: "We pay our taxes. Finding solutions and providing infrastructure is their problems. We cannot pay taxes also and find solutions also."
P P Upadhya, Director (Technical), who will take over as Managing Director of the refinery with effect from July 1, also echoed the same sentiments. "This episode will definitely hurt investment in the region. Total shut down of a major refinery due to water shortage is unprecedented. Earlier, we had managed to run the plant with some units shut down."
"We have studied the rainfall pattern in this region for the past 25 years. It is not availability of water - but mismanagement which has created this problem," he said.
Regarding MRPL looking at alternate solutions, Upadhya shot back: "Tomorrow I put up some alternate plan. What is the guarantee that we will be allowed to use the water?
Sarapady weir is constructed by MRPL for the plant and not for drinking purpose. When I’m not able to use that water, what guarantee do I have that I will be allowed to use water from the alternate plan I put up?
On having a desalination plant, Upadhya said: For MRPL, investing Rs 1,000 crore for a desalination plant is not a problem. "To what end will it serve? Will I invest public money of Rs 1,000 crore for using the desalination plant just for two months in a year? It sans logic," he said. Moreover, while 1,000 lts of water costs Rs 2.50, the same amount through a desalination unit will cost Rs 85.
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