The government of Kerala on Thursday announced that it was ready to send 20 lakh litres of drinking water to Tamil Nadu. However, the Tamil Nadu government has refused to take up this offer, extended to tackle the acute water crisis the state is experiencing.
The announcement came from the Kerala Chief Minister’s office on Thursday. In a statement, the Government of Kerala expressed its willingness to send drinking water through trains to Tamil Nadu to tide over the severe water shortage.
“Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s office contacted the office of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister with this offer. However, we have been informed that the assistance was not required now. The government of Kerala wanted to send 20 lakh litres of drinking water through train from Thiruvananthapuram to Chennai,” read the statement from the Chief Minister’s office, Kerala. Kerala CMO also posted the release on its official Facebook page.
Meanwhile Tamil Nadu’s Municipal Administration minister SP Velumani said in a statement late on Thursday that the offer from Kerala was a one time supply of 20 lakh litres of water.
“The minimum demand in Chennai for a day is 525 MLD (Million Litres per Day). The proposed supply of 20 lakh litres (2 MLD) from Kerala can be arranged here itself. Hence we told Kerala authorities that if need arises, we will definitely approach them for help,” read the statement. A final call on the decision to ask Kerala for help would be taken in the meeting to be conducted on Friday, the statement said.
Kerala government offered to step in and help as Chennai’s water resources have dried up and the drought has seriously affected the agricultural sector, read the statement. However, there has been no clarification from the Tamil Nadu government as to why the Chief Minister reportedly rejected the Kerala government's help.
Chennai and other parts of Tamil Nadu are experiencing severe water crisis since the last few weeks. The problem has peaked in Chennai since the four lakes that supply water to Chennai have dried up and so have the groundwater table. People have been protesting in various parts of the capital city, demanding the state government to take prompt action to address the issue.
However, the statements from Tamil Nadu’s administrators have incensed the people further. A few days ago, Tamil Nadu’s Municipal Administration Minister SP Velumani said that the reports of Chennai’s IT companies ordering their employees to work from home due to lack of water in the offices were ‘manufactured’. Recently, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Edappadi K Palaniswami told the media not to exaggerate the water crisis situation in the state. He said that the media should not portray that the entire state is suffering just because one small area is suffering due to lack of water.
The combined water level as on Thursday in all four lakes of Chennai -- Redhills, Cholavaram, Chembarambakkam and Poondi -- stood at 23 mcft (Million Cubic Feet) as against a total water storage capacity of 11,257 mcft. This translates to a mere 0.20% of the total storage capacity of the lakes.
(With inputs from Saritha S Balan)