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Train carrying water to reach parched Chennai today: Railways

14 July 2019

Chennai is facing a daily water deficit of at least 200 million litres, and the four reservoirs supplying to the city have run dry.

Chennaiites have been taking measures to cut their water consumption down to a bare minimum, with hoteliers switching to the traditional method of serving meals on banana leaves, automobile service centers opting to dry wash of vehicles, and even large commercial establishments and IT parks installing atomizers on water taps to cut down free flow.

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The special train with fifty wagons unloaded the water at Villivakkam in Chennai from where it will be taken through pipelines to the pumping station of Metrowater for distribution in the parched city. In several parts of the city, the cost of water has been doubled by private tankers. "There could only be incremental increase because of the water trains", Water Secretary Harmander Singh told NDTV. We have doubled supply of water tankers. However, the water level at Mettur Dam, the source of the water for the special trains, is now less than half of the average level.

Shaji Mathews, a retired health official, who lives in South Chennai, relies on private suppliers to fill the 12,000 litre underground tank at his home.

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Chief Minister Edappadi KPalaniswamy had announced a fund allocation of Rs 65 crore for ferrying water by rail wagons to the water-starved Chennai.

"I am a pensioner and it's so hard for me as half of my pension money is spent in buying water", he says. On each trip, the train will carry 25 lakh litres of water and a total of four trips per day will be made. In April, we paid somewhere between Rs 1,900 to Rs 2,100. For fear of not being supplied by cisterns, and sacrificed for the benefit of luxury hotels, entrepreneurs and residents of central areas, the poor who live in the suburbs have also blocked the streets.

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A senior official of the Southern Railway said the water wagon would by arriving at Villivakkam where State Ministers would be present to receive the train.

Train carrying water to reach parched Chennai today: Railways