Even as the state of Tamil Nadu is in the throes of a severe water crisis, the Madras High Court has pulled up the state government on measures it has taken. The state government has been directed to file a report on how it has addressed the issue by June 17.
According to a report in The Hindu, the court was hearing cases filed against the commercial exploitation of groundwater from the outskirts of the city. In particular, one public interest litigation (PIL) from a resident of Vellore district had alleged that sewage was being allowed to flow through into a water channel. A division bench of Justice S Manikumar and Justice Subramonium Prasad also sought details of the number of sewage treatment plants (STPs) present.
Stating that potable drinking water was a right of the people, the court also requested details on the status of desalination plants along the East Coast Road (ECR) and other places. Further, the court called for details on alternative sources via which the state government is addressing the present water crisis on account of lakes and reservoirs around Chennai having dried up.
According to a report in The Indian Express, the state government has appealed to the Centre for assistance, seeking over Rs 5,000 crore for drought-relief. PTI reported that this would include rain-water harvesting schemes, sinking of new borewells, desilting of open wells, rejuvenation of water supply schemes and funds for its desalination plants.
Minister for Municipal Administration and Rural Development S P Velumani, has reportedly submitted a memorandum to Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh. It may be recalled that while the government assured citizens saying that the state can tide over the water crisis till monsoon brings relief, this proved not to be the case.