Water shortage, rise in prices of vegetables hit Chennai hotels
June 18 2019 01:51 AM
Protesters shout slogans during a rally against the deaths of children from encephalitis in Bihar, in New Delhi yesterday.

IANS /Chennai

Facing severe water shortage and high vegetable prices, restaurants and hotels in Chennai are mulling ways to tackle the situation, including stopping lunch, an official of a hotel association said yesterday.
“It is a major crisis faced by the hotels in Chennai and also in other parts of Tamil Nadu. With rains failing, the prices of vegetables have gone up. Further with the severe water shortage, the hotels are facing a very serious situation,” R Srinivasan, secretary of the Tamil Nadu Hotels Association (TNHA), told IANS.
According to him, the use of water will be high if a typical South Indian lunch is served. Dishes are served in cups and plates which have to be washed in fresh water.
“Instead of using plates, food can be served on banana leaves. But the failure of rains has hit the crops and the cost of leaves has gone up. The single usage plastic products have been banned by the state government, so that option is ruled out,” Srinivasan said.
He said only food grade plastic items are to be used to serve food, which would increase the cost for the hotels. 
“It is a multiple whammy for the restaurant owners,” Srinivasan said.
One of the ways to reduce the water usage is to use dish washers.
“But dish washers are not very effective in cleaning the greasy plates or cups. Some of our dishes are greasy owing the use of oil and ghee,” Srinivasan said.
According to him, a typical mid-sized restaurant serving South Indian food would need about 10,000 litres of fresh water every day.
“The cost of water too has gone up several times. Earlier a tanker load – 12,000 litres – would cost about Rs2,500 and now it is Rs5,000 with supplies not assured,” Srinivasan said.
One of the options that is being looked at is to serve quick/executive lunch – premixed dishes like sambar/rasam/curd rice, he said. Srinivasan, however, said that no restaurant has stopped serving South Indian meals for lunch.
“While families would prefer to go to restaurants and have their food so that the water consumption at home could be reduced, the restaurants are interested in pushing takeaways so that they can cut their water consumption,” he said.
Meanwhile, Municipal Administration Minister S P Velumani said no hotel has been shut down for want of water.
According to him, water supply in Chennai has been increased to 525mn litres per day (MLD) from 450 MLD and the number of trips by tankers has been increased.

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