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Kerala offers two million litres of drinking water to parched Tamil Nadu

TN’s local administration minister SP Velumani took to Twitter to clarify that while Tamil Nadu has not refused the offer, the decision will be taken on Friday in a meeting chaired by chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami.

india Updated: Jun 21, 2019 08:38 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times, Chennai
chennai,water scarcity,kerala
A satellite image taken by Maxar Technologies shows the depleting water levels of Redhills (or Puzhal) reservoir, one of the big four that supplies water to Chennai, on June 15, 2018, and April 6, 2019.(AP)

With barely 23 million cubic feet of water left in the four main reservoirs, which cumulatively have a capacity of 11,257 million cubic feet, and supply to Chennai city, the Kerala government on Thursday offered to transport two million litres of drinking water to Tamil Nadu.

TN’s local administration minister SP Velumani took to Twitter to clarify that while Tamil Nadu has not refused the offer, the decision will be taken on Friday in a meeting chaired by chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami.

“Since Tamil Nadu is going through serious shortage of water, we were willing to send 20 lakh litres of water on trains. But they have said that at the moment, they do not require it,” a statement issued by the office of Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan, said.

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“Actually, Kerala CM’s secretary contacted TN CM’s secretary and said that Kerala is ready send water in 20 wagons (20 lakh litres) of water. Since CM Edappadi K Palaniswami had gone for his medical treatment, the CM’s secretary flagged the information to [local administration] minister [Velumani]. On hearing the offer, we thanked Kerala. However, Chennai’s minimum water need is 525 MLD [million litres per day]. But, Kerala’s offer was 2 MLD. Therefore, we said that TN could manage the 2 MLD of water on its own,” Velumani tweeted on Thursday.

Kerala’s offer comes at a time when the All India Anna Munnetra Dravida Kazhagam (AIADMK) is facing Opposition heat over its failure in handling the water crisis. The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Congress parties have demanded Velumani’s resignation for what they have called the government’s failure to manage the water crisis. A DMK release on Thursday said that president MK Stalin had spoken to the Kerala CM over the phone to thank him for the offer. Stalin accused the AIADMK government of declining it due to “false prestige”. However, the government maintained that the offer from Kerala has not been rejected outright. “No one will reject such a huge offer while the state is facing acute water shortage.

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The government would have to consider transportation charges and other logistics before accepting it,” Tamil Nadu Handlooms Minister OS Manian said.

“There is nothing wrong with receiving water from Kerala. But, 20 lakh litres is too little to quench the thirst of Chennai,” Bharatiya Janata Party state general secretary Karu Nagarajan, said. “Resolving the Mullai Periyar Dam issue would help the southern district to overcome the perennial water problem,” he said.

(With inputs from agencies)

First Published: Jun 20, 2019 23:38 IST