The Hindu 23.03.2017
Rs. 976 cr. to be spent to tide over drought
Situation unprecedented, government taking measures on war footing, says Minister
Municipal Administration and Rural Development Minister S.P. Velumani on Wednesday told the Assembly that the State was witnessing the worst drought in 140 years and the government was implementing schemes at a cost of Rs. 976 crore to tide over the crisis in both rural and urban areas.
Replying to a calling attention motion, the Minister said failure of monsoon had resulted in rainfall shortage of 65%. “The government is taking steps on war footing to tackle the situation. The schemes include digging of borewells, installation of electric and hand pumps and plastic tanks, supply of water through lorries, replacing old motors,” he said.
Mr. Velumani said Chennai used to receive 830 million litres of water per day and the failure of monsoon and drop in Krishna water inflow had created an alarming situation.
“Now, the city gets an average of 550 million litres a day from lakes, desalination plants, Veeranam scheme, newly included groundwater resources, Poondi and Thamaraipakkam wells,” he said.
Relief works at a cost of Rs. 100 crore were being implemented to overcome the crisis which would be of immense help, especially in May when the lakes around Chennai go dry.
In rural areas, drought relief works are being executed at a cost of Rs. 703.43 crore. “Drinking water projects have been given priority and the grants from State and Central Planning Commissions and other sources to the tune of Rs. 818.25 crore had been released to panchayats,” he said.
Mr. Velumani said Rs. 15 crore from the State Disaster Relief Fund had been released to maintain water supply and another Rs. 300 crore from THAI scheme had been used to desilt small canals, renovation of tanks and development of infrastructure of water bodies.
that town panchayats had not faced any crisis till March, the Minister
said a total of 3,595 drought relief works were being executed at a cost
of Rs. 46.41 crore in town panchayats.