The first train carrying water from Jolarpet railway station in Vellore district reached Chennai on Friday. This is expected to bring an additional 10 million litres of water per day to the capital which is reeling under acute water scarcity.
The train with 50 tank wagons (BTPN), carrying 50,000 litres of water in each wagon coming from Jolarpettai in Tamil Nadu's Vellore district, reached the filling station at the Integral Coach Factory in Villivakkam on Friday afternoon.
Indian authorities on Thursday filled tanks with water and loaded them onto a train in Tamil Nadu to supply its manufacturing capital Chennai where reservoirs have run dry. According to reports, this is the first time in 18 years that the city will receive water from other places in train wagons.
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Technicians in the railway station at Jolarpettai, located over 217 kilometres from Chennai, worked from early on Thursday to fill fifty wagons with 50,000 litres of water each, sourced from a south Indian river.
Around 100 inlet pipes installed near the railway tracks would be used to discharge 2.5 million litres of water in all the wagons to be sent to a treatment plant after passing through a conduit, an official of Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board said.
"After treatment it would be sent for distribution. This arrangement has been made for the next six months until the (advent of the) north-east monsoon," an official told PTI.
The train was supposed to reach Chennai on Thursday, but leakages in the valves of connecting the tank to the railway station forced authorities to push back plans by a day, officials at the railway station said.
The shortage has forced some schools to shut, companies to ask employees to work from home, and hotels to ration water for guests.
Bad water management and lack of rainfall mean all four reservoirs that supply Chennai have run virtually dry this summer. Other Indian cities, including the capital New Delhi and technology hub Bengaluru, are also grappling with water shortages.
People living on the outskirts are blocking roads and laying siege to tanker lorries because they fear their water reserves are being sacrificed so city dwellers, businesses and luxury hotels do not run out.
Groundwater levels in Chennai and in regions around the city have been falling due to lack of rainfall. Like many Indian cities, Chennai’s growth over the past 20 years has been rapid and haphazard.
With inputs from agencies
Updated Date: Jul 12, 2019 13:46:40 IST