Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam Working President MK Stalin on Monday led a protest against the state government’s “inefficient handling” of the water crisis in Tamil Nadu. Stalin criticised the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam for trying to downplay the water shortage, PTI reported.
“Yagams [rituals] that AIADMK leaders are conducting are to save their positions in the government and not to please the rain gods,” said Stalin, who joined the protests two days after it was started by his party leaders. Stalin also warned the government of further protests if it failed to resolve the crisis.
Leaders of the All India Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam performed a ritual on Saturday in temples across Tamil Nadu. Fisheries Minister D Jayakumar also took part in the ritual at a Shiva temple and planted saplings on the shrine’s premises. Jayakumar said that preforming these rituals was “an expression of faith” and was done in the hope that prayers for rain will be answered.
During Monday’s protest, the DMK chief said there was a scarcity of funds, schemes, jobs, industries, justice, law and order, and now water has been added to the list. Chief Minster Edappadi K Palaniswami, Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam and Municipal Administration Minister SP Velumani were still indifferent, he said. “This is the situation in Tamil Nadu,” said Stalin. “The state government, which is in the Centre’s clutches, has not taken any initiative to avert such a situation.”
Chennai, along with other parts of Tamil Nadu, has been grappling with a severe water shortage for several months now. The city has now been forced to go through 40% cut in the piped water supply after four of the city’s reservoirs, which serve as the primary source of drinking water, dried up. Stalin said that the crisis could have been avoided but no efforts had been made for conservation even after he raised the problem of depleting water levels in the lakes.
Chennai alone requires 800 million litres of water every day against the current supply of 525 megaliters per day. Last week, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had offered 20 lakh litres of drinking water to the Tamil Nadu government to tackle its water crisis. However, the Tamil Nadu had declined the offer.
The DMK chief also criticised the AIADMK for irregularities in the construction of an additional desalination plant. “This government lies continually,” NDTV quoted Stalin as saying. “I would order probe into desalination plant irregularities soon after coming to power. There would be a change of government in Tamil Nadu even without fresh elections.”