Cauvery water reaches Chennai via train

The special water train carrying 25 lakh litres of Cauvery water from Jollarpettai railway station entering the Villivakkam railway station on Friday. (P MANIKANDAN\DH PHOTO)

The first train carrying 25 lakh litres of Cauvery water from Jollarpettai in Vellore district to this parched metropolis to quench the thirst arrived on Friday. Four such trips to be made by two trains with specially designed wagons will reach the city every day carrying a total of over 1 crore litre of nature’s elixir for the next six months.

The ‘special water train’ began its journey at 7.15 am from Jollarpettai Railway junction after pooja and reached Villivakkam railway station at around 12 pm. After a three-long hour wait, the process of pumping the water from Villivakkam to the Kilpauk pumping station began in the presence of four ministers S P Velumani, D Jayakumar, P Benjamin and ‘MaFoi’ K Pandiarajan.

The 1 crore litre (10 MLD) water is expected to ease the water crisis in Chennai a bit. The state government had on June 21 announced a slew of measures, including transporting water from Jollarpettai, to address the water needs of the city which is still reeling under severe crisis.

“We are taking various measures to ensure that the water needs of the city is met with. We have got 2.5 million litres of water from Jollarpettai today and the plan is to get 10 MLD water every day to Chennai. Dedicated pipelines have been laid from Mettu Sakrakuppam village near Jollarpettai to the railway station,” Velumani, the Municipal Administration Minister, told reporters.

The transportation of water after trial runs to pump the water from Mettu Sakrakuppam near Jollarpettai to the railway station’s filling point on Wednesday and Thursday were successful. The Tamil Nadu government has allotted Rs 68 crores for transporting water from Jollarpettai to Chennai for six months.

Chennai consumes more than 500 million litres of water and the unprecedented water crisis this year has forced the state administration to source nature’s elixir even from sand quarries and private wells in neighbouring districts.

Velumani said the government has allotted a total of Rs 233.72 crore to source water for the parched city of Chennai. “The government has hired 800 vehicles which make 9,000 free trips a day across the city. While 6,500 trips are free water provided to people, the rest 2,500 trips are made to provide water to people who book tankers via phone and online,” Velumani said.

Two trains with 50 wagons have been allotted by the Indian Railways for transporting the water and these trains will make four trips a day making the total amount of water to 11 million litres. A senior official with the Vellore district administration told DH that the water from Cauvery river and other sources is collected at a particular spot and brought to the pumping station from where it is pumped to the Jollarpettai station.

In the past few weeks, Chennai had experienced its worst-ever water crisis with all four major lakes that supply drinking water to the city drying up completely. Several areas went out of water forcing people to wait for days to receive water as groundwater level depleted to a new low.

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