Works on a war-footing to mitigate water scarcity: Minister S P Velumani

Chennai, Jul 21 : Opposition parties in Tamil Nadu Assembly today raised the issue of drinking water scarcity in some parts of the state as the government announced it was working on ‘war-footing’ to mitigate the situation by taking up a number of initiatives. Expressing concern over the situation, DMDK,DMK, CPI-M and CPI besides others moved a calling attention seeking the government’s response on the matter.

Municipal Administration Minister S P Velumani said despite overall surplus rainfall so far this year, 11 districts had recieved less rain. The government, factoring in last year’s deficit monsoon, had taken up 83,334 works at an overall cost of Rs 1185.12 crore, he said adding these included renovating existing water bodies besides creating new ones even as drinking water was being supplied through lorries wherever required.

“Efforts are being taken on war-footing to ensure there is no scarcity in drinking water,” he said. In 2013, the rainfall was 776.4 mm, 183 mm less than the usual level of 959.4 mm, he said. In 2014, so far, Tamil Nadu received rainfall of 244.8 mm, a surplus of 15 mm. However, Erode, Kanyakumari, Karur, Salem, Namakkal, Nilgiris, Puthukottai, Tirupur, Tiruvallur, Tiruchirappalli and Virudhunagar districts received less rainfall, he said.

Recalling that Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa had taken stock of the drinking water situation in February last, he said District Collectors had been asked to review it once a week. Six of the eight integrated water supply schemes were on the verge of completion and this would further help the government, he said. Earlier, DMDK’s S R Parthiban pressed for vigorous implementation of rain water harvesting, a key scheme of the earlier AIADMK Government to recharge underground water, while DMK member R Sakkarapani insisted for action on war-footing.

CPI (M) Floor Leader A Sounderrajan called for proper maintenance of existing water bodies besides creating new ones. Aslam Basha (MMK) said that in some parts of Vellore district, water was not available even after drilling borewell to a depth of about 1,000 ft.