Taking note of Chennai’s ongoing water crisis, the neighboring state of Kerala has offered to send 20 lakh litres of water by a train from Thiruvananthapuram to the drought striken city.
In an official statement, the Kerala Chief Minister’s Office said they are willing to assist Tamil Nadu in tackling the crisis caused by water scarcity. The officie said they could deliver 20 lakh litres of drinking water through the rail network. “In response to our offer, we have been informed that at present Tamil Nadu has sufficient supply and doesn’t require additional assistance from Kerala.”
However, DMK president M.K. Stalin criticized the Tamil Nadu government for rejecting Kerala’s help. Stalin said the water should be accepted. The drought striken government confirmed receiving the offer. The spokesman, Mr Velumani denied rejecting Kerala’s offer. In a statement, he said the Chief Minister was on a medical check-up and his secretary had discussed with the Municipal Administration Minister and the MAWS Secretary and conveyed gratitude to Kerala CM’s Secretary.
“Tamil Nadu government officials have opined that it would be helpful if Kerala sends 2 MLD. The Chief Minister would take an appriopriate decision after a review meeting on the drinking water issue scheduled for today,” Mr Velumani said.
Reports say that authorities in Chennai have cut off water supply by 40 per cent. Offices, restaurants, resorts and schools have been affected. The Chembarambakkam lake, which is Chennai’s largest source of drinking water has dried up to the last drop, showing a parched and cracked bed.
Meanwhile, the status report has exposed lack of preparedness on the state government’s part to handle the water crisis. The director of Rain Centre – Chennai, Sekhar Raghavan said the city’s drought is man-made and could have been prevented with proper rainwater harvesting. Raghavan revealed that between 2009 and 2019, water resources of 23 districts in the state have depleted to alarming levels. “All this could have been prevented if people practiced rainwater harvesting.”
Tamil Nadu’s late chief minister Jayalalitha had mandated rainwater harvesting in 2001. Sect 215(a) of Tamil Nadu District Municipalities Act, 1920 and Building Rules 1973, makes it mandatory to provide rainwater harvesting systems in newly constructed buildings.
Ragahavan said despite being the first state in India to bring about such a law, Tamil Nadu is facing an acute water crisis due to the callous attitude of the people.