Kerala offers 20 lakh litres water to TN, AIADMK govt yet to take decision

Thiruvananthapuram/Chennai: Even as Tamilnadu, especially Chennai and its suburbs, is reeling under water crisis following depletion of ground water level and poor storage in many lakes, the Kerala government yesterday said that it offered to provide 20 lakh litres drinking water its neighbouring State, but that the Palaniswamy-led AIADMK government has declined the offer saying there was no need for the help at present.

The Tamilnadu government however denied this, saying that it has not turned down the offer and that the matter would be discussed by the Chief Minister at a review meeting being held today and then take an appropriate decision.

Kerala Chief Minister’s Office in Thiruvananthapuram issued a press release, which said as major water bodies in Chennai are facing acute water shortage, their government has decided to extend an helping hand by transporting 20 lakh litres of drinking water from Thiruvananthapuram to Chennai through train. However, when Pinarayi Vijayan’s office contacted the Tamilnadu chief minister’s office, the latter informed that there was no need for the help at present.

Speaking on the issue, Tamilnadu Municipal Administration minister S P Velumani said Kerala Chief Minister’s secretary had indeed conveyed the offer, but he said that information that Palaniswamy had refused the offer is not true. He further noted that Chennai’s daily requirement  was 525 million litres a day, but Kerala had made a one time offer of providing 2 million litres. It will be helpful if Kerala could send 2 million litres a day, said Velumani in a release.

Meanwhile, opposition leader and DMK chief M K Stalin has urged the State government to work with Kerala in this regard. “I wholeheartedly thank chief minister of Kerala @vijayanpinarayi for his timely offer to provide water to Tamil Nadu,” he said in a tweet.

Earlier, speaking to reporters in Coimbatore, Velumani said Tamilnadu was facing the worst-ever drought and deficiencies in some ground water conservation projects were identified at various places, including Chennai, and the government was attending to it. Water was being supplied through lorries and borewells are being dug wherever the water problem prevails, he added.

People are largely dependent on ground water to meet requirements till the onset of north east monsoon in October. Chief Minister K Palaniswami said the issue of water crisis was not as big as was being made out by the opposition parties and the media.

NT Bureau