In new avatar, Tamil Nadu minister Velumani promotes #RainWaterChallenge

Janardhan Koushik
Rain is God s boon to us and it is vital for us to save it before it rains, the Minister said.

In a bid to encourage rainwater harvesting in Tamil Nadu, state Municipality and Administrative Minister SP Velumani urged residents to take up the #RainWaterChallenge. It is for the first time an AIADMK minister has become the face of a social campaign given that all previous ones have been invariable associated with the late J Jayalalithaa.

Valumani’s 52-second video appeal on his Twitter handle is being seen an attempt to woo millennials as he appeared in the video in a casual T-shirt — unusual for a politician in Tamil Nadu.

According to news reports, the minister’s video will be screened at all movie theatres, satellite channels and other digital media platforms from Friday. Though the initiative has received a positive response on social media, many feel it was long overdue.

Chennai recorded only 34.77 mm of rainfall during the northeast monsoon, failing to alleviate the water crisis across the city. The four water sources around Chennai Poondi, Chembarambakkam, Sholavaram, and Red Hills — have gone dry. In March, the AIADMK-led government declared 24 districts, including the capital city of Tamil Nadu, drought-affected. However, Velumani downplayed the water scarcity and said a false impression was being created that the state was reeling under an acute water crisis.

In the video, the minister said rain is God s boon and it is vital for everyone to conserve water. "With proper rainwater harvesting, a house of 200 sq.feet area can store rainwater for a family up to 1 year. I request the people of Tamil Nadu to save rainwater in their respective houses, going forward let s not waste even one drop of rainwater. Let s take a challenge and execute it," Velumani said.

He also requested the celebrities, voluntary organizations, among others to take this challenge forward and emphasize the importance of rainwater harvesting.

"Save rain before it drains for today and tomorrow, the Minister added.

Speaking to indianexpress.com, AMMK spokesperson CR Saraswathi said AIADMK under Edappadi had never bothered to encourage rain-water harvesting and these advertisements were a waste of time and money.

Among Amma s finest schemes is rain-water harvesting but the EPS-OPS faction never cared about that scheme. For the past two years, we were not having rains and the government knew there will be a water scarcity in 2019, but they failed to take any precautionary measures. Now the AIADMK ministers are worried about saving water, what were they doing for the past two years? An advertisement about Edappadi Palanisami came a year ago and it was taken down from theatres after it received a lukewarm response from the people, now this one has come from Velumani. This government is running just on advertisements; they won t implement any welfare schemes," she said.