Chennai in crisis as authorities blamed for dire water shortage
19 June, 2019, 19:57
Faced with criticism of his handling of the water crisis and the opposition DMK's demand for his sacking, the Minister said he could not be blamed for nature's failure.
U.S-listed Cognizant Technology Solutions (CTS), which employs thousands in the city, said it had cut down on water at its canteen and gym. "Over 400 water tanks distributing water in the city". The Madras High Court on June 13 had also asked the state government for a report on desalination and water availability, while coming down very heavily on the state.
Some water from the Kadaleru dam in Andhra Pradesh could be released to Tamil Nadu, but only if it had 8 TMC water "Water is being supplied through tankers and desalinated water is also being distributed", he said.
The shortfall in supply delays construction timelines and the handing over of the properties, he said. However, in the wake of the water crisis, reports suggested that the IT companies were taking steps like asking their employees to work from home and reducing the number of operational washrooms in the premises.
For instance, Tamil Nadu Assembly Speaker P Dhanpal's driver, Aathimoolam Ramakrishnan, was arrested last week after he attacked his neighbour over a dispute on water-sharing.
With no rain in the last 200 days, and none forecast in the immediate future, it is being reported that almost 5,000 employees who work in the city's IT hub on Old Mahabalipuram Road (popularly known as OMR) have been asked to work from home. For a 100 seat restaurant, 12,000 litres of water is used up every day, said M. Ravi, president of the Chennai Hotel Owners' Association.
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The News Minute reported that the bench lashed out at the AIADMK government for serious mismanagement of water resources and waiting till the last minute to spread awareness about rainwater harvesting.
While the middle class can just about manage to pay the inflated prices now being charged by private water-tanker companies, that option is not open to the poor.
The resorvoirs - Cholavaram (full capacity 1,081 mcft) and Redhills (3,300 mcft)- which cater to the Chennai's water needs are dry while the storage at Poondi reservoir is 24 mcft as against full capacity of 3,231 mcft, according to Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (Chennai Metro). "But they are not saying it publicly because they are afraid of backlash from the government which is denying the issue", he adds. "Till then we have to meet the requirements only from groundwater sources", he said. "People are using this water to even wash clothes", he said.
Meanwhile, the state government has sought Rs 5,398 crore financial assistance from the Centre to carry out drinking water schemes in the state.
The fight for water in the parched state has also led to a murder and an attempted murder. Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham chief M.K. Stalin on June 14 asked for Velumani's resignation and urged Palaniswami to dismiss him from the cabinet if he did not quit.
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