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As Taps Run Dry, Kerala Claims Tamil Nadu 'Rejected' Its Offer of 20 Lakh Litres of Drinking Water

The Tamil Nadu government later denied it has turned down the offer, saying Chief Minister K Palaniswami will discuss the issue at a review meeting on Friday and announce 'an appropriate decision'.

Neethu Reghukumar | CNN-News18

Updated:June 20, 2019, 10:50 PM IST
As Taps Run Dry, Kerala Claims Tamil Nadu 'Rejected' Its Offer of 20 Lakh Litres of Drinking Water
Residents fill their vessels with potable water from a pipeline in Chennai on Thursday. (PTI)

Chennai: Amid the ongoing water crisis in Tamil Nadu, the Kerala government has offered 20 lakh litres of drinking water to the state. However, Tamil Nadu has denied the offer and said it doesn’t need additional assistance from the neighbouring state.

"In response to our offer, we have been informed that at present Tamil Nadu has sufficient supply and doesn't require additional assistance from Kerala," said a statement from the Kerala Chief Minister's Office (CMO).

Pinarayi Vijayan's government was ready to send 20 lakh litres of waters from Trivandrum to Chennai via train.

However, the Tamil Nadu government later denied it has turned down the offer and said Chief Minister K Palaniswami will discuss it at a review meeting to be held on Friday and announce "an appropriate decision" even as Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) chief MK Stalin urged it to work with Kerala to help the people.

Earlier, the release from the Kerala CMO in Thiruvananthapuram said, "Since the major water bodies of Chennai has been facing acute water shortage, the Kerala government decided to extend an helping hand."

Tamil Nadu Municipal Administration minister SP Velumani said Vijayan’s secretary conveyed the offer to his counterpart who thanked the neighbouring state for its gesture.

"The information that Tamil Nadu chief minister has refused the water offered by Kerala CM is not true," he said in a release in Chennai on Thursday night.

Velumani said Kerala government had made a one-time offer of providing two million litres of water but Chennai's daily requirement itself was 525 million litres a day.

"Tamil Nadu government officials have opined that it will be helpful if Kerala could send 2 MLD (million litres a day) daily ," the release said.

Velumani earlier told reporters in Coimbatore that deficiencies in some ground water conservation projects had been identified at various places, including Chennai, and were being looked at. He said that the state was facing its worst drought, adding that rains were expected in a few days.

As far as Chennai is concerned, he said there has been depletion of ground water as the city had last witnessed rains more than six months ago. Water was being supplied through lorries and borewells are being dug wherever the water problem prevails, said Velumani.

The Tamil Nadu government has said it was largely dependent on ground water to meet requirements till the onset of north-east monsoon in October.

Hotels in state capital Chennai have been rationing water for guests amid searing heat while companies have limited showers as the city of 4.6 million faces its worst shortage in years. All four reservoirs that supply Chennai have run dry this summer.

Water storage levels in the city's four major reservoirs were one-hundredth of what they were this time last year — and at a mere 0.2% of capacity, according to state government data.

In an alarming indication of the magnitude of the crisis, the scarcity has forced IT companies to scale down operations, with employees being informally told to work from home. Many guest houses and hostels have temporarily shut down, and restaurants are taking lunch meals off the menu and switching to paper plates to save water.

According to official sources, the total water demand in the city is 950 million litres per day (MLD), whereas the supply is 750 MLD, including 200 MLD from private tankers. That leaves a dangerous deficit of 200 MLD, and activists say the deficit is even higher.

(With inputs from agencies)

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