Bengaluru: As India watches in horror poignant stories of water shortage emerging from its second richest state, Tamil Nadu, the state government on Friday announced a 220km water train every day to bring water to its capital city Chennai. The trains will carry water from Jolarpettai, 220 km away, every day at an expense of ₹65 crore, according to the government.
Chennai, India’s fourth largest city, needs about 800 million litres of water daily, but the public water board has been able to supply 525 million litres. The city has faced two consecutive monsoon failures following one of the biggest floods in southern India in 2015.
The city's four major sources of water are running dry and the government faces public ire for not ensuring alternative arrangements. The state government also received flak after it reportedly turned down an offer from Kerala on Thursday to supply water to Chennai’s residents.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami landed himself in a controversy when local media reported that his house in Chennai was receiving two truckloads of water a day as residents of several pockets in the city struggle for a bucket of water.
Under attack from the opposition and the public, Palaniswami on Friday chaired a high-level meeting to discuss how to mitigate the crisis. “There has been a water shortage in several areas due to monsoon deficit. The government is taking several steps," he told reporters after the meeting.
He said he would write soon to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and “would explore if it would be possible to get water from the neighbouring state on a daily basis". Kerala and Tamil Nadu have a running dispute over the ownership and control of the Mullaperiyar dam on their border.
Palaniswami also dismissed reports of guest houses and schools shutting down in the state due to water scarcity.
The opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and local residents on Friday held protests in Chennai over water scarcity.