CHENNAI: Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Friday announced that 10 million litres of water per day (MLD) would be brought from Jolarpettai to Chennai via trains for six months and he had sanctioned Rs 65 crore for this purpose.
Meanwhile, an official release here said already works for mitigating water scarcity were being taken at a cost of Rs 710 crore. After the high-level meeting, the CM allocated Rs 200 crore more for carrying out the drinking water works. This amount would be spent for Chennai, other corporations, town panchayats and rural areas.
Addressing a press conference at the secretariat after a gap of several months, the CM said despite monsoon failure, the State government had been taking steps to mitigate the water crisis in certain pockets of the State.
On the DMK’s protests over the issue, Palaniswami said, “The drinking water issue should not be politicised. Everyone is a stakeholder. So, all should cooperate with the government. I also appeal to the people to use water judiciously, considering the drought condition.”
Denying reports that ministers were getting two lorries of water per day, he said, “There are many visitors to my residence and many employees are also there. Food is given to those who visit my house. So, water is also needed. I consume just two buckets of water and drink four or five litres of water per day. That’s all.”
The CM claimed that Congress president Rahul Gandhi, during his campaign in Karnataka, promised to permit construction of a dam at Mekedatu across the Cauvery. However, DMK president MK Stalin, who proposed Rahul as a prime ministerial candidate in the recent elections, did not air views on his promise.
“When the Congress was in power at the Centre, Tamil Nadu did not receive anything good. Now, in Karnataka, Congress-JD(S) coalition is in power. Congress functionary DK Shivakumar is the Minister for Irrigation there. So, the Congress should advise him to act in accordance with the SC verdict on the Cauvery water dispute,” Palaniswami said, adding that during June, Karnataka had to release 9.19 tmc of water but refused to do so. “If a dam is built at Mekedatu, Tamil Nadu will not get even a drop of water.”
Referring to Stalin’s poser why he had failed to meet Karnataka CM and request him to release water, Palaniswami said, “When Siddharamaiah was the CM in Karnataka, I asked for just two tmc of water for drinking purpose. But he refused and did not even give an appointment for a meet.”
Questioned about private lorries levying exorbitant charges for supplying water, the CM said the Municipal Administration Minister had convened a meeting of lorry-owners to discuss the issue. “If people of a particular apartment are booking 10 lorries of water, how can others get water ?” he added.
He said President Ram Nath Kovind, in his address to Parliament, said funds would be allocated for cleaning up the Cauvery river also, as done for the Ganga. In this regard, the CM thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi also.