Tamil Nadu water crisis at peak, govt to form monitoring panel to address shortage | 10 points
A row of vessels line a street corner where a water-tanker is parked, a gaggle of women quibble as they await their turn to get the pots filled, use water judiciously signboards outside hotels -- this is how Chennai looks if you visit the Tamil Nadu city as the water crisis deepens in the state.
As Tamil Nadu continues to face acute water shortage, the state government will now set up a monitoring committee to look into the water supply related issue. Municipal Administration and Rural Development Minister S P Velumani said he had chaired a review meeting along with senior government officials to study the steps need to address the water crisis in the state.
Velumani said he has directed officials to form a monitoring committee led by a senior officer who will visit every street in each zone and ensure water supply.
Tamil Nadu is reeling under acute water crisis for the past several months after Chennai's Porur Lake, which is considered one of the main sources of water, has reached its lowest level.
Here are the latest updates of the Tamil Nadu water crisis:
1. The Tamil Nadu government said it was supplying an additional 2,400 Million Litres Daily (MLD) drinking water, which was more than the amount supplied in previous years. Velumani said Chennai was facing a serious drought condition due to 62 per cent lesser rains compared to 2017 and added as against 450 MLD of water supplied during that period, the government was now supplying 520 MLD.
2. Chennai and its suburbs are experiencing severe water scarcity, with borewells and lakes going dry, forcing people and commercial establishments to depend on water supplied through tankers from villages in neighbouring districts.
3. Not only drinking water, but availability of water for every day use is under severe strain in many neighbourhoods. Chennai Metrowater cannot meet the entire demand, prompting people to depend on private water tanker operators.
4. In Chennai, locals installed hand-pumps near Marina Beach to extract groundwater to manage their daily needs. However, the water, residents say, is of a compromised quality owing to pollutants, thereby forcing them to buy packaged water from shops for consumption.
5. The hospitality industry in Chennai has been severely hit due to the water crisis. Many restaurants and hotels serving South Indian meals are mulling ways to tackle the situation, including stopping lunch meals. Hoteliers said only food grade plastic items are to be used to serve food, which would increase the cost for the hotels.
6. While some IT firms in Chennai have asked its employees to work from home due to water shortage, few companies have reduced the number of bathrooms in offices. Employees from a cross-section of IT majors said their managements have turned to various ways to handle the situation, even as tankers and alternative sources are quenching the thirst, albeit at a fortune. To meet the demands for their day to day operations, IT companies largely depend upon private water tankers.
7. Municipal Administration minister Velumani, however, rejected reports that some IT companies were directing its employees to work from home due to the water shortage. He said that the government is ready to help the IT firms by arranging private water tanker supply if they require. He also
8. DMK chief M K Stalin demanded that Velumani quit his post, owning up moral responsibility for the water crisis in the state and urged Chief Minister K Palaniswami to look into the issue. He also urged asked Palaniswami to dismiss Velumani from the cabinet if he did not quit.
9. Residents and activists allege that the efforts of the state government in water conservation have proven to be a damp squib. Jayaram Venkatesan, a convener of a city-based NGO fighting against corruption, said this would not have been the situation if at least 20 water bodies were maintained properly, according to news agency PTI.
10. Palaniswami on Saturday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and sought sought financial assistance from the Centre for rejuvenation of water bodies in Tamil Nadu, setting up of rainwater harvesting structures, besides seeking linking of Godavari river in Andhra Pradesh with Cauvery river on a priority basis. Noting that states like Tamil Nadu face droughts frequently, Palaniswami requested him for special allocation of Rs 1,000 crore per annum towards water conservation.
(With inputs from agencies)