Chennai, July 12: The first 50-wagon train carrying 50,000 litres of water from Tamil Nadu's Vellore district left for the parched city of Chennai on early Friday morning. A second train is also scheduled to carry the same amount of water today to the capital city. The Chennai Metro Water has set a target of ferrying 10 million litres a day.
A railway official said, "Based on slots available for movement of these trains the capacity could go up."
An event has been planned at Villivakkam railway station to receive the first water train. Local Administration Minister S P Velumani and other officials are expected to attend. The water will be decanted at Villivakkam, Chennai, before being pumped to treatment plants at Kilpauk. It will then be distributed to households in the crisis-hit Chennai.
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Earlier, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami had announced the state government's plans to transport 10 million litres of water daily by rail from Jolarpettai to meet the needs of parched Chennai. He said a sum of ₹65 crore had been allocated for this purpose.
According to reports, the Southern Railways will charge Rs 7.5 lakh for every trip taken, for which the Tamil Nadu government has set aside Rs 65 crore.
A 3.5-km-long pipeline was laid connecting the Jolarpet railway station with a pumping house. A trial run of the supply line was carried out on Wednesday.
Chennai's acute water crisis pertains to the reservoirs - Cholavaram (full capacity 1,081 mcft) and Redhills (3,300 mcft) - running dry this season, while the storage at Poondi reservoir is 24 mcft as against the full capacity of 3,231 mcft, according to the Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage Board (Chennai Metro).
The Chembarambakkam lake (full capacity 3,645 mcft) has a water level of a mere 1 mcft.