DMK slams minister as water wars break out in Tamil Nadu
Leader of Opposition MK Stalin of the Dravida Munnetra Kazagham called for the resignation of Local Administration Minister SP Velumani, blaming the Tamil Nadu government for its mismanagement of the water crisis in the state.
Drought coupled with searing summer heat has left most of the state parched, except Kanniyakumari and Tirunelveli districts, which remain beneficiaries of the South West monsoon.
“Having driven the people, not only in Chennai but everywhere in the state, to scout water, Local Administration Minister SP Velumani should step down owning moral responsibility for the present crisis. Else, the Chief Minister should sack him forthwith from the council of ministers without showing any lenience,” Stalin said, in a statement issued on Monday.
“Water scarcity is common during summer, but we are managing it by augmenting water supply to all areas,” Velumani said, after conducting a review meeting with officials of Chennai Corporation Metro Water.
“Nature has played truant. We did not get the required quantum of rains. When nature itself fails, how could I be blamed?” he asked.
“While the metro needs 825 million litres a day, [Velumani] has been telling the media that 700 million litres is being supplied. The minister is not even aware of the shortage production at the Nemeli desalination plant and the reasons for the same. He has failed in carrying out his ministerial responsibilities but more keen on commission from tenders and should not continue in office,” Stalin said.
Meanwhile, the water wars in the city continue.
A 33-year-old was beaten to death near Thanjavur reportedly for attempting to regulate the distribution of drinking water from a tanker that he had arranged for his village, on June 6. In Chennai, a resident of an apartment complex was stabbed by her neighbour over a fight for water in an apartment complex, last Thursday.
Poondi, Cholavaram and Chembarambakkam — the three reservoirs that supply water to Chennai city — are dry.
On the IT corridor along the Old Mahabalipuram Road (also known as the OMR stretch), companies have reportedly asked employees to work from home. The stretch, which houses over 650 firms with lakhs of employees, is one of the worst affected by water scarcity.
“The business establishments in OMR region require 30 million litres of water every day of which 60% is consumed by the IT industries. Nearly 4000 water tankers supply water to these firms,” said T Baranidharan from the IT employees association, UNITE.
Baranidharan estimated that thousands of employees have been asked to work from home due to acute water scarcity.
Chennai Hotels Association president Ravi (who only goes by one name) said that nearly half of the over 50,000 small hotels in the city face the prospect of closure. Last week, Annam, a chain of three hotels, closed down two.