The AIADMK Government has decided to divert one t.m.c ft water a day from Mettur dam to Veeranam lake and take the surplus water through pipes to Chennai, 220 km away, to meet its growing drinking water needs.
This has been announced by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisami and Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar. Talking to reporters at Jayalalitha memorial in Chennai on Tuesday, Edappadi blamed the water crisis on monsoon failure and asked the opposition DMK not to politicise the issue.
Jayakumar on Wednesday attributed the water crisis to a 40 per cent deficiency in monsoon rain in Tamil Nadu and said the Government was able to tap Veeranam water because late Chief Minister J Jayalalitha revived and modernised the scheme during her rule.
Edappadi said the opposition was trying to create panic and all efforts were being made to meet the water needs of the people all over the State.The Chief Minister discussed the issue with district collectors through video conference from the State Secretariat on Wednesday.
In an immediate fallout, the district administration cracked down on a private school in Chennai after it decided to conduct classes only for hours for primary school children to save water.
Taking exception to the Chief Minister’s charge that the opposition was trying to politicise the issue, Amma Makkal Matchi deputy general secretary T T V Dinakaran said that despite the monsoon failure in the two successive years, the Government had failed to take effective steps. “The people affected know how acute is the scarcity all over the State’.
He also referred to the over Rs 1500 crore the Government had allotted for Kudi Maramathu (Village maintenance work) for desilting and dredging water bodies, strengthening bunds and drilling bore wells. He said the Government should bring out a white paper on what works had been done so that people would know whether the scheme was effective or only a drain on the exchequer.
Referring to School Minister K A Sengottayan’s denial that IT firms had asked staff to work from home, Dinakaran said this was normal practice in crisis situations in the sector.He also said it was an open secret that small eateries in Chennai and other places had to curtail their services as they were not able to get water through tankers. The Government had advised the hotels to recycle water used for washing dishes.
Dinakaran said it was the utter disregard of public opinion against schemes like eight-lane expressway between Chennai and Salem and hydrocarbon in the delta region which led to the rout of the AIADMK and the BJP in the Lok Sabha elections. It continued to be in denial, like over the worst ever water crisis in the State in recent years despite the drubbing, he said.
Referring to the statement of Jayakumar that his Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam had become a letterpad party after its rout in the Lok Sabha polls as well as in the by-elections to 22 Assembly seats, he asked: ”why then are AIADMK men pressuring our office-bearers to cross over?”He said the Edappadi Government was on its last leg. “I can’t predict when, but it will collapse soon.”