SWG pipe industry on verge of closure: State SWG pipe industry stares at grim future as orders dry up

SWG pipe industry on verge of closure: State SWG pipe industry stares at grim future as orders dry up

Telangana govt stops purchase of environment-friendly pipes, preferring to opt for plastic pipes instead

Hyderabad: The 150-year-old industry of Standard Wire Gauge (SWG) pipes, which are made with clay, is on the verge of collapse in Telangana. The state government has stopped purchasing the environment-friendly pipes which have been used for drainage and sewerage development in the public places for decades. The drainage pipe industry is worried that all the existing units will shut their shop in one or two months if the government does not come to their rescue.

The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), which is one of the biggest purchasers of the pipes in the state, has not been inviting tenders for the procurement of the pipes for the last 18 months, and the pending bills were also not cleared so far. Another big client, Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (HMWSSB) has also stopped purchasing the pipes for local needs during the laying of drainage and sewerage pipelines.

Telangana SWG Pipes Manufacturing Association President P Vara Prasad Rao said that 36 SSI (Small Scale Industry) manufacturing units were facing difficulties in their business ever since the government bodies began preferring plastic pipes over SWG pipes, which are made with clay without using chemicals, in laying the sewerage pipelines. “The Association approached the state government and submitted memoranda to Chief Minister A Revanth Reddy requesting to resume the tendering process for the procurement of the pipes for public works in the local bodies including Municipalities and Gram Panchayats. We are not insisting on any subsidy on power or other infrastructure development but only asking to revoke the ban on pipe purchases and ensure our survival. If the government does not respond, the association will be forced to knock on the court’s doors for seeking relief to the pipe industry from collapsing,” said Vara Prasad Rao.

Telangana is the largest manufacturing pipe industry in the country with the highest number of units. The industry has its own historical significance since the rule of the Nizams in Telangana. The old drainage and sewerage system in Hyderabad developed by the Nizam dynasty still exists because it was developed with clay pipes, which have a lifespan of more than 150 years.

The association president said that SWG pipes are resistant to corrosion from acid, alkali, termites and rodents. They are rigid and can withstand shocks from traffic travelling above the underground pipelines, whereas the plastic pipes are hazardous to the environment. The closure of SWG pipe industry would affect the livelihoods of 5,000 workers directly, with 26 units established in Mancherial and another 10 in Rangareddy and Nalgonda districts. “Thousands of jobs were provided to rural people in these districts. Moreover, the cost of clay pipes is cheaper than that of plastic pipes,” said Vara Prasad Rao, and wondered why the government is preferring to buy plastic pipes which are cost intensive as well as posing grave threat to the environment.

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