On Friday, the first train carrying water from Jolarpet in Vellore district finally arrived in Tamil Nadu's capital. For the water-starved city of Chennai, the promised 10 MLD of water, was a necessary intervention to battle the ongoing crisis. However. while the train arrived on time to dispel the anxiety of the city's residents, elected politicians took over three hours to flag off its journey to the storage centre from the Chennai station.
The locomotive which arrived at 11.15 am stood at a shed in Kurukupettai, waiting for hours, for Tamil Nadu's top ministers to make an appearance at the Villivakkam junction before it could be unloaded and leave for its second trip of the day. A total of four train trips have been planned with 50 wagons carrying 25 lakh litres of water on every ride. But the first dispatch which arrived exactly four hours after departing from Vellore, was delayed for around three and half hours for the political class to come pose and take credit for. And it seems the politicians were waiting for an auspicious time to inaugurate the train.
The path to the railway tracks was plastered with posters welcoming Municipal Administration and Rural Development Minister SP Velumani to the event. Several tents were set up with red carpets in anticipation of the minister's arrival and AIADMK flags were whipping through the air.
Three and a half hours after the train arrived, SP Velumani along with Minister Mafoi Pandiarajan and D Jayakumar finally came to the station. The locomotive too was brought back to Villivakkam after the leaders arrived.
The Ministers then waited for photos and videos to be shot of them in front of the train before holding a press conference.
SP Velumani then said, "25 MLD of water in 50 railway wagons have reached Chennai's Villivakkam railway yard. The water will be taken to a storage facility in Kilpauk from where it will be further distributed to residences."
In June, soon after rejecting Kerala’s offer of a one time supply of 2 MLD of water to the city, Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswami announced that Chennai will be getting water from the neighbouring district. According to reports, this is the first time in 18 years that the capital city will bring water from other places in train wagons.