27 Jun 2019
In Chennai, gold has become cheaper than water, claims MP
As residents' woes aren't nearing an end, a Rajya Sabha MP on Wednesday said gold has become cheaper than water. As it turns out, his analogy isn't entirely wrong.
Here's more on this.
Chennai's bone dry situation should alarm all of us
Chennai's water demand was fulfilled by four major reservoirs, and when all of them dried up, life came to a halt.
Leave daily chores, even drinking water has become a luxury for people. Serpentine queues at residential areas have become a common sight.
Further, IT companies have asked employees to work from home, malls have shut restrooms, and restaurants have pulled down their shutters.
Moreover, water tankers aren't exactly "saving" people
In this grave situation, the residents have turned to their only alternative: Water tankers. And to say the companies are looting them won't be an understatement.
Reportedly, residents are paying somewhere around Rs. 5,000 for 12,000 liters. In April, this amount was just Rs. 1,600.
Meanwhile, state-run Metro Water charges somewhere between Rs. 700 and Rs. 800 for 9,000 liters.
Metro Water tankers are cheap, but waiting period is long
If residents call a tanker from Metro Water, they have to wait for long, sometimes for 25 days for it to arrive.
Explaining the problem, an official told TNM, "We get 1,000 bookings a day and manage to dispatch about 600 water tankers. So, there are 400 pending bookings every day."
About private tankers, he said they are "exploiting" people.
"Private water tanker costs more than one gram of gold"
The dismaying situation of Chennai coupled with exorbitant prices of tankers resonated in the Parliament on Wednesday.
Saying that Chennai is the first city to have gone dry, CPI(M)'s T K Rangarajan added, "Most of the Chennai population today depends on water tankers, municipal supply, and private supply for drinking water. A tank of private water costs more than one gram of gold."
Separately, other leaders also spoke on the crisis
Rangarajan wasn't the only one who spoke on the situation. CPI's D Raja said the crisis has frustrated people and the city is witnessing unrest. He asked the Centre to step in and resolve the problem at earliest.
RJD's Manoj Jha said penal provisions should be introduced to stop misuse of water.
Meanwhile, SP's Ravi Prakash Verma suggested carving a blueprint for water conversation.
Amid the ongoing crisis, a lake brims with water
As gloominess has taken over, a lake in the northern part of Chennai has given some hope.
The 85-acre Paruthapattu Lake in Avadi may not be able to help Chennai immediately since the water isn't fit for use, but it can turn out to be a savior later.
Interestingly, the lake was ridden by sewage until last year, but it got a makeover.
By spending Rs. 28cr, legislator breathed life into dead lake
The dramatic transformation of the lake, which cost Rs. 28 crore, became possible due to Avadi legislator K Pandiarajan. The lake is 15-feet deep.
"It's an example of the restoration of water bodies. Avadi is like a lake district with fifteen such lakes. We would restore all of these and link them all the way they were earlier," Pandiarajan told NDTV.
There's also a fear that companies might go on strike
"The government must intervene in the matter but if they come down too hard, the tankers may go on strike and people will suffer. Their argument is that they travel over 50 kilometer in search of water to transport," the official went on.
Do you know?
A price comparison shows Rangarajan isn't wrong
Well, Rangarajan isn't wrong. Apparently, 10 gram of 24 karat gold costs Rs. 34,950. Which effectively means that the cost of one gram is around Rs. 3,400. Compare this with what the tankers are charging and you will know water has indeed become costlier.
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