After denying for days that there was a drinking water crisis in Chennai, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Friday said a water crisis was looming large in the city. He added that the state government has allotted Rs 65 crore to bring water from Jolarpettai near Vellore to the state capital, about 210 km south of Chennai, using rail wagons.
Speaking at a press meet, Palaniswami said the government is planning to bring 10 MLD (millions of litre per day) everyday from Jolarpettai for a period of six months. However, he maintained that the situation is under control and the government is able to supply 525 MLD water in Chennai even if all four water sources — Poondi, Chembarambakkam, Sholavaram and Red Hills reservoirs — dry up.
Speaking of the Kerala government’s offer of sending 2MLD water in rail wagons to Chennai from Thiruvananthapuram, Palaniswami thanked the neighbouring state, but said that a one-time supply of water will not be enough.
“We are already supplying 525 MLD a day in Chennai in this crisis scenario. We will request the Kerala government to see the possibility of sending 2 MLD water everyday, not one time,” he said.
He said senior officers have been given charge of every zone in the city corporation and they are monitoring and coordinating water supply. “Wherever there is a shortage, we have a coordinated system to ensure supply now,” the Chief Minister said.
He said metro water authorities are using around 700 lorries everyday for about 9,700 trips to supply water across the city.
About complaints of private water tankers fleecing the people and unequal distribution of drinking water in certain areas, he said the government will soon meet private water tanker owners to discuss these complaints.
Palaniswami also requested the Kerala government to obey the Supreme Court judgment and ensure that the strengthening works are allowed on the Mullaperiyar dam to ensure that it can be filled to its storage capacity of 152 ft. “Five districts in Tamil Nadu will benefit from this water,” he said.
Asserting that his government has also taken steps to ensure adequate supply in rural areas of the state, Palaniswami also said that about 11 TMC water was supposed to have come from Andhra’s Krishna River, which is now sending only 2 TMC water.
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