Water crisis: Small time auto wash service stations shut shop

With several automobile majors switching over to waterless and recycling techniques to tide over Chennais acute water shortage, small-time vehicle wash service stations with fewer options are shutting shop. The operators say the number of requests (car washes) have plummeted ever since the crisis broke out in the city. Running a small service station in central Chennai for three years now, Suresh Kumar said he had to request one of his two employees to quit as part of a cost-cutting measure. Usually summers are not good for our business. But this one, coupled with water crisis, has affected us to a large extent. I myself do not have work in hand, Kumar said. He said some of his friends in the business in other parts of the city too are facing a similar situation. His friend Magesh K, who runs a bike wash service station in north Chennai said he did not have access to water for his own needs. I carry water from tankers to my home.None will pay if I just wipe vehicles with a cloth. Moreover there is no business, he said. However, a person in-charge of a franchise outlet of a global car care company said they had migrated to waterless service three weeks ago. We had to wait for several days for water tankers. Also it would be unethical to continue wasting so much water during the crisis. So we adopted something called dry wash, a liquid we spray on vehicles and wipe later, he told PTI. Other franchises said they had already switched over to waterless services. Iconic motorcycle manufacturer Royal Enfield last week announced that it has adopted dry wash system in all its service centres in the city. Similarly, auto-companies like Hyundai and Nissan, which have set up manufacturing units near here, have taken steps to reduce dependence on water or recycle the commodity. Babu, a worker at a service station, said he was given other menial jobs by his employer due to lack of orders (car wash).


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