Water scarcity in Chennai: Train to transport water in 2 weeks 

chennai water crisis 7

Water scarcity-scene in Chennai has not eased much.

A June 22, 2019 report said:

Heavy rainfall in several parts of Chennai, the capital city of Tamil Nadu state, has brought some relief for the city. The Met Department had predicted rain across the city for the next 48 hours.

Citing an announcement from Tamil Nadu chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami a media report said:

Chennai’s water supply board will start sourcing drinking water from Jolarpettai in Vellore district by train in two weeks.

This acknowledgement of the crisis comes just a few days after the chief minister asked media not to create an “illusion” of water scarcity.

This is the first time in 18 years that Chennai will bring water from other places in train wagons.

Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (CMWSSB) is reportedly reviewing ways to bring 10 MLD water to Chennai using a train with 50 wagons. This scheme is being deliberated after the CM announced that Rs 65 crore has been allocated to bring water from Jolarpettai.

Following the announcement, senior officials of Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Board (TWAD), CMWSSB and Southern Railway surveyed water bodies in Jolarpettai on Saturday. Surplus water supplied to Vellore through the Mettur drinking water project will be diverted to Chennai according to the plan. The survey report will be submitted to the Secretariat in a day or two after which a decision would be taken, reported The Hindu.

The 50-wagon train would have to make four trips to transport 10 MLD to Chennai since the capacity of the train is around 2.6 million liters. The water will be brought to Chennai, treated in Kilpauk and supplied to parts of northern and central Chennai.

The chief minister refuted media reports about hotels and schools being shut down due to the water crisis, saying that he has personally spoken to schools and these reports are incorrect.

The state government is currently providing 525MLD of water per day and will be bringing 10MLD of water per day from Jolarpettai. At present, the water that is being provided by the state is only half the city’s requirement which is 1200MLD.

Senior officials have been assigned to monitor all zones in Chennai to ensure adequate supply and 800 tankers are making 9,800 trips daily to various areas.

Train transport plan faces opposition

The state’s main opposition party DMK’s treasurer Duraimurugan has warned the Tamil Nadu government not to go ahead with the plan.

Speaking at an event in Vellore, Duraimurugan said that if the government takes water from Vellore, there would be massive protests in the district.

Duraimurugan, who is the Katpadi MLA said, “If they start taking water from here (Vellore), then we will stage massive protest here.”

It comes after Tamil Nadu chief minister Palanisami stated that the government plans to bring 10 MLD of water to Chennai by railway wagons for the next six months.

SP Velumani, the Minister for Local Administration and Water Supply, in response, assured that taking 10 MLD of water from Vellore would not decrease the supply across the district in any way.

It was last in 2001 that water was brought in wagons from Erode to Chennai to deal with water scarcity in the city.

Yagna and empty pot-demonstration

While the ruling AIADMK party leaders performed yagna, a religious ritual, in the state, DMK, the main opposition party in the state, staged “empty pot” demonstrations, urging the government to take steps to address the issue.

The AIADMK decided to appease the rain god by performing special yagna in temples across the state.

Senior AIADMK leader and Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar took part in a yagna at a Shiva temple and planted saplings in the premises of the shrine.

He told reporters that performing yagna was “an expression of faith”, hoping that the Almighty would answer their prayers for rain.

The AIADMK members including senior Tamil Nadu ministers Sengottaiyan, Sellur K Raju and Madurai North MLA V V Rajan Chellappa performed puja, prayer, at several temples in the state.

Municipal Administration Minister S P Velumani took part in a yagna at Patteeswaram temple in Coimbatore district.

However, DMK leader and former city mayor Ma Subramanian, who led an agitation, hit out at the AIADMK, saying executing plans with rationale alone could help address the situation. “Conducting such rituals have no utility,” he told PTI.

Duraimurugan also mocked the state government for performing yagna instead of finding ways to solve the water crisis.

“When people are suffering because of water crisis, the AIADMK government is going to God for help. They have accepted that they can’t solve this issue,” Duraimurugan said.

“If they can’t solve a problem, they have to resign. If they don’t, the people will bring them down in a massive manner,” Duraimurugan said.

Kerala’s offer for water refused

Another report said:

The Tamil Nadu state government had refused the neighboring Kerala government’s offer to provide 2 million liters of water.

Tech companies planning shift from Chennai

A media report said:

Once IT giants mulled shifting base to the city nestled in the lap of the verdant Western Ghats.

Four years on, the shifting still is on cards, but owing to an opposite reason: water scarcity. Even as Chennai faces one of the worst water crises in recent memory, the round-the-clock IT domain is likely to activate disaster recovery (DR) mode by deploying some of its workforce to Coimbatore.

The select employees would be deployed to the respective company’s office at Coimbatore Hi-tech Information Limited (CHIL) SEZ IT Park in Saravanampatti for a few months, during which time the water issues are likely to be sorted out.

Vice president of CHIL SEZ IT Park R Maheswaran said, “An MNC inside the park might increase its headcount for two-three months due to the water crisis in Chennai. Nearly, 60 per cent workforce in Chennai-based companies is already working from their home due to water shortage at offices.”

A highly placed official at the TIDEL Park in Coimbatore said, “Our campus has zero discharge, wherein all rainwater is harvested, such that wastewater gets recycled and the excess is stored in a sump. Unlike Chennai, Coimbatore does not have any water issues as of now.”

As many as 77 IT and ITES companies work out of the TIDEL Park in Coimbatore, where too water scarcity is conspicuous by its absence largely due to the mega green cover provided by the 5,000-odd trees on the campus.


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