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What beverage industry is doing for drought hit Maharashtra?

Activists want these industries to suspend their manufacturing operations until the arrival of monsoon.

What beverage industry

Maharashtra may be reeling under severe drought but beer industries in Aurangabad are receiving regular supply of water. At a time when residents of Marathwada are struggling for every drop of water social activists and opposition party leaders have demanded curtailment of water supply to beer manufacturers. Beer industries in Aurangabad consume a minimum of 35 million litres of water daily. Activists want industries to take some initiative for addressing the water shortage issue faced by the state. They want some portion of water used by industries to be diverted for providing relief to farmers affected due to drought. They also added that industry must come forward to fulfil social obligations for overcoming drought problem. Even soft drink manufacturers too are receiving flak for the huge consumption of water. Activists also want these industries to suspend their manufacturing operations until the arrival of monsoon.

“Priority must be given to address the drinking water scarcity first. Marathwada holds 70 per cent of Maharashtra’s brewing capacity for beer. This needs to stop immediately. By the admission of beer manufacturers themselves, they can use treated water for their product and should do so immediately,” said an activist from Aurangabad.

“Breweries in the city produce about 180 million litres of beer a year, or about 70% of Maharashtra’s total brewing capacity, according to a state excise department official, who didn’t want to be named.

“Various industry units located in and around Aurangabad currently consume around 55 million litres (mld) of water per day. Out of this, nearly 35 mld is used by breweries in Aurangabad, and due to very less storage left in the dam, we are currently receiving only 50 mld of water,” said an official in the Aurangabad region office.

“Beer industries must temporarily suspend their operations until the arrival of monsoon season. There needs to be prescribed a water quota above which water will not be released to them, this will also encourage more efficient processes in these water intensive industries,” he added.

Around nine litres of water is required for producing 1 litre of beer. All major beer manufacturers have plants in the Waluj and Chikalthana industrial areas of Aurangabad, managed by the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC).

A senior MIDC official said that industries in the area drew water from the Jayakwadi dam, which has a storage of only 4.6 per cent of the total capacity.

On the other hand, a special train carrying around five lakh litres of water for parched Latur in Marathwada region, which is battling the worst drought ever, reached the destination after 18 hours. The district administration has acquired a huge well located near Latur railway station to store the water which will then be supplied to Latur town. On April 8, the train had left from Kota workshop for Miraj in Pune division.

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