CHENNAI: With transportation of water by train from Jolarpettai to Chennai likely to commence in a few days, the Southern Railway has fixed about Rs 8.6 lakh as a tariff for the water train per trip.
On average, the State will pay 34 paise per litre for transporting water from Jolarpettai to Villivakkam. The spillage per trip is pegged at 10 to 15 per cent.
The expense for producing one litre of potable water from sea at the desalination plant, is Rs 150, according to official sources in Chennai Metro water.
A highly placed official in SR told Express that Rs 8.6 lakh is to be charged for transporting 2.5 MLD of water per trip. A rake comprising 50 wagons, each with carrying capacity of 55,000 litres, is to be engaged.
“Given that each trip may take five to seven hours to cover the 204 km distance from water loading point at Jolarpettai to North Jagganath Nagar in Villivakkam, the railways may run three trips per day. This will bring about 7.5 MLD of water a day to Chennai,” explained a senior railways official.
The State government which initially proposed to operate water trains for a period of six months is likely to short terminate the service once groundwater level improves, added sources. For operating three trips per for 30 days, the railways will roughly get Rs 7.74 crore from the State government.
On June 21, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami announced that 10 MLD of water would be transported from Jolarpettai to Chennai, to fulfill the demand of water of the city.
Following this, Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage (TWAD) Board is engaged in laying pipelines for 2.5 km, for drawing the water from the storage tank at Mettuchakkarakuppam near Jolarpettai, which receives water under the Vellore Combined Drinking Water Supply Scheme.
“The pipe laying works is being completed. The water train may commence the service from Wednesday or Thursday,” said a senior official from TWAD board.