Kerala offers to send 20 lakh litres of water by rail to Tamil Nadu

After initially declining to accept it, State says it will take decision today

Updated - June 21, 2019 12:58 am IST

Published - June 20, 2019 06:35 pm IST - Thiruvananthapuram

Workers collecting water from the Puzhal reservoir on the outskirts of Chennai on Thursday.

Workers collecting water from the Puzhal reservoir on the outskirts of Chennai on Thursday.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami will on Friday take a decision on Kerala’s offer to supply 20 lakh litres of water by train from Thiruvananthapuram to Chennai to tide over the water crisis, Municipal Administration Minister S.P. Velumani said on Thursday evening.

The Minister’s response came after the Kerala Chief Minister’s Office posted a statement on Facebook stating that Tamil Nadu had declined its help to supply water (on a one-time basis).

“Kerala is willing to assist Tamil Nadu in tackling the crisis caused by water scarcity. We could deliver 20 lakh litres of drinking water through the rail network. 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,” the statement said.

Opposition leader and DMK president M.K. Stalin criticised the Tamil Nadu government for “rejecting” the help from the neighbouring State and urged that the water be accepted. Despite rainfall deficit, the storage in Kerala’s reservoirs is much better than in Tamil Nadu.

The Tamil Nadu government in the evening released a statement “tweeted by” Mr. Velumani, in which he confirmed that there was an offer through the Secretary to the Kerala Chief Minister to his counterpart in Tamil Nadu seeking to know whether drinking water in 20 wagons could be sent.

“Since the Chief Minister was on a medical check-up, his Secretary had discussed with the Municipal Administration Minister and the MAWS Secretary and conveyed gratitude to Kerala CM’s Secretary on behalf of the people of Tamil Nadu,” according to the statement.

Since the daily requirement of Chennai a day is 525 MLD (million litres per day), the Chief Minister’s Secretary also conveyed that the offer of 20 lakh litres was being managed from here and “if there is a requirement, help from Kerala would be sought certainly.”

“Tamil Nadu government officials have opined that it would be helpful if Kerala sends 2 MLD. The Chief Minister would take an appropriate decision after a review meeting on the drinking water issue scheduled tomorrow (Friday),” Mr. Velumani said. He denied reports that the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister had rejected the Kerala government’s offer.

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