A special train carrying 2.5 million litres of water reached Chennai, Tamil Nadu on July 12, Friday. The city is grappling with acute water scarcity and the train has, however, appeared as an aid to the locals of the city who are suffering due to severe water shortage for about 4 months now.
The water train carrying 50 tank wagons (BTPN) with around 50,000 litres of water in each, left from the Jolarpettai railway station, situated in the city of Vellore, to reach Chennai. According to reports, the train left from the Jolarpettai railway station at around 7:20 AM in the morning on Friday and reached Villivakkam, neighbourhood of Chennai, at 11.35 am. The train was, however, first taken to Korukupet yard for maintenance; it was then taken back to Villivakkam station at 2.30 pm.
Local bodies Minister SP Velumani, Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar and other leaders were present at the station to receive and inaugurate the water train.
According to the report, the train carrying water was supposed to reach Villivakkam on July 11 itself, but leakages in the valves led to the delay in the movement. Meanwhile, SP Velumani in the defence of the delay said, the train had to undergo maintenance and routine checks before water could be pumped out from the wagons.
The southern metropolis area of the city is facing a daily water shortage of at least 200 million litres, and the four reservoirs which were supplying regular water to the city have now run dry. Due to the crisis, the Tamil Nadu government had requested the Railway Ministry to help in ferrying the water to the city.
It is reported that Fifty HP (horse power) capacity pumps were installed at Villivakam station to complete unloading of water from the wagon in four hours. The emptied water will be carried in 600 metres of pipeline to the Kilpauk Water Works which is 3 km away. The water will be treated and distributed across the city.
Meanwhile, Tamil Nadu government chose Vellore to fetch water from, as the city is found to have a surplus of about 30 Millions of Litres per day of water. The Vellore Combined Drinking Water Supply Scheme which is fed by water from river Kaveri was launched in 2015. According to officials, Chennai will be receiving drinking water by train after nearly 18 years of gap. Earlier in the year 2001, due to similar water crisis, water was brought from Erode, Tamil Nadu by trains.
On June 21, in a bid to address the severe water shortage in Chennai, Chief Minister Palaniswami announced that 10 Millions of Litres per Day of drinking water would be transported from Vellore to Chennai for six months. The state government has allocated funds to the tune of Rs. 65 crore to execute the plan.