Political parties continue to spar on bringing water to Chennai from Vellore
With the Tamil Nadu government all set to bring 10 million litres of water daily on trains from Jolarpettai in Vellore district to Chennai, from the first week of July, DMK Treasurer S Duraimurugan’s objection on Saturday to the project has drawn the ire of the government.
Responding to Duraimurugan’s criticism, C. Ve Shanmugam, State Law Minister has lashed out at the party saying “If DMK objects to a project of transporting water from one city to another within the state, how can one expect that other states like Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala will be sympathetic and give water for TN.”
Pointing out that Tamil Nadu receives water from Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh through the Mullai Periyar, Cauvery, and Krishna respectively, Shanmugam said, “If DMK objects to our own people helping each other how will other states give us water?”
With the failure of the monsoon and groundwater depletion, Chennai is facing acute water shortage. While Chennai city needs 800 million litres of water per day, the government is currently providing 525 million litres. Therefore, people and opposition parties are staging protests urging the state government to sort out the water crisis.
As things are getting worse day by day, TN CM Edappadi K Palaniswami on Friday announced that the government would bring water on trains from Jolarpettai in Vellore district.
While the Chennai Metro Water Supply and Sewage Board (CMWSSB) officials have started drafting a plan to implement the Rs 65 crore project for six weeks, DMK treasurer S Duraimurugan who hails from Vellore district has objected to the scheme saying that it will have a negative effect on water availability in Vellore district.
“If the government implements the water trains project from Jolarpettai, DMK will conduct protests,” Duraimurugan warned the AIADMK government.
However, SP Velumani, State Local Administration Minister told the media
“Our government will take only the surplus water of Cauvery combined drinking water scheme which supplies water to Vellore. Therefore, it will not affect Vellore district.”
TN Deputy CM O Panneerselvam said that the government is ready to deal with any protest legally and administratively asserting that the project of bringing water to Chennai on trains will be implemented without any hurdles.
Duraimurugan though defended his statement and said that he was not against the project. “I am not against the water trains project. It was the DMK government that had brought the Cauvery Combined Drinking Water Scheme (CCDWS) to Vellore. During the initial period of CCDWS, we used to supply water all seven days in a week. However, the government is currently supplying CCDWS water only twice a week. Therefore, I raised my concern that Vellore should not be affected due to this project,” he clarified with a new statement.
CMWSSB sources say the water will be brought in the first week of July. “50 wagons of the train with each having a capacity of 2.6 million litres of water will be transported to Chennai. The train will make four trips per day from Jolarpettai to Chennai. The distance between Jolarpettai and Chennai is 213 kilometres and water trains can cover the distance within four hours,” said sources familiar with the development.