THIRUVANANTHAPURAM/CHENNAI — The Kerala government Thursday said it expressed willingness to provide 20 lakh litres drinking water to Tamil Nadu, which is facing a water crisis, but the latter has declined it as there was “no need for the help at present.”
However, Tamil Nadu government denied it has turned down the offer and said Chief Minister K Palaniswami will discuss it at a review meeting being held Friday and announce “an appropriate decision” even as DMK chief M K Stalin urged it to work with Kerala to help the people.
Earlier, a release issued by the Kerala Chief Minister’s Office in Thiruvananthapuram said: “Since the major water bodies of Chennai has been facing acute water shortage, the Kerala government decided to extend an helping hand.”
Though chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s office contacted the Tamil Nadu CMO on the offer, the neighbouring state informed that “at present there is no need for the help, it said.
Kerala was prepared to transport 20 lakh litres of drinking water from Thiruvananthapuram to Chennai through train, the release added.
Tamil Nadu Municipal Administration minister S P Velumani said Kerala Chief Minister’s secretary conveyed the offer to his counterpart who thanked the neighbouring state for its gesture.
“The information that Tamil Nadu chief minister has refused the water offered by Kerala CM is not true,” he said in a release in Chennai Thursday night.
Velumani said Kerala government had made a one time offer of providing 2 million litres of water but Chennai’s daily requirement itself was 525 million litres a day.
“Tamil Nadu government officials have opined that it will be helpful if Kerala could send 2 MLD (million litres a day) daily ,” the release said.
Stalin thanked Vijayan for his “timely offer.”
“I wholeheartedly thank chief minister of Kerala @vijayanpinarayi for his timely offer to provide water to Tamil Nadu,” he said in a tweet.
“Urge government of Tamil Nadu to work with Govt of Kerala to help citizens of our state tide over this unprecedented water crisis, ” he added.
Several parts of Tamil Nadu, particularly the state capital and its suburbs, have been reeling under water scarcity following depletion of ground water level and poor storage in many lakes that cater to the needs of the city.
Earlier, speaking to reporters in Coimbatore, Velumani said deficiencies in some ground water conservation projects were identified at various places, including Chennai, and were being attended to.
He said Tamil Nadu was facing the worst-ever drought.
Rains were expected in a few days, he said.
As far as Chennai was concerned, he said there was depletion of ground water as the city had experienced a dry spell of 190 days with no rains.
Water was being supplied through lorries and borewells are being dug wherever the water problem prevails, he added.
The Tamil Nadu government has said it was largely dependent on ground water to meet requirements till the onset of north east monsoon in October.
Chief Minister K Palaniswami has said drought and deficient monsoon had resulted in depletion of groundwater levels, but claimed the issue was not as big as was being made out, especially in the media.