The Tamil Nadu government on Saturday told private schools not to shut down after reports emerged that some institutions in Chennai were turning away students due to a shortage of water. The state education department said that the schools had no reason to shut down as it was their responsibility to make alternate arrangements, The Times of India reported.

“Instead of making the alternative arrangements, the schools should not declare holidays,” Director of School Education VC Rameswaramurugan said in a circular. “If they don’t follow the rules, the department will take severe action.” He also asked the chief educational officers to keep an eye on all schools.

Tamil Nadu and its capital Chennai are faced with an unprecedented water crisis that has triggered instances of violence and has forced establishments to find new ways to conserve water. The water shortage has also affected almost every work sector, including information technology, hospitals and restaurants.

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Meanwhile, the All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam performed a yagna on Saturday in temples across Tamil Nadu, PTI reported. The party’s senior leader and Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar also took part in the ritual at a Shiva temple and planted saplings in the shrine’s premises. Jayakumar said that preforming the rituals was “an expression of faith” and was done in the hope that prayers for rain will be answered.

Opposition leaders from the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam mocked the ruling party for the yagnas. The party’s leader Ma Subramanian said that implementing plans with rationale alone would be enough to address the water shortage. “Conducting such rituals have no utility,” he was quoted as saying.

“When people are suffering because of water crisis, the AIADMK government is going to God for help,” India Today quoted DMK leader Duraimurugan as saying. “They have accepted that they can’t solve this issue.” DMK leaders also staged a protest, asking for Chief Minister Edappadi K Palanisamy’s resignation for failing to set up the required infrastructure for water supply.