The Tamil Nadu government on Tuesday requested the Centre for sanctioning over Rs 5,000 crore for various drinking water supply schemes in the state, including a desalination plant for Villupuram district.
The plea comes in the backdrop of the state facing an acute water shortage, especially the capital city of Chennai, with water managers resorting to various measures like supply through tankers to manage the situation.
S P Velumani, Minister for Municipal Administration, presented a memorandum to Union Minister for Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, in New Delhi on Tuesday, and sought sanction for projects totalling Rs 5,398 crore.
The proposed projects include a desalination plant and connected pipeline works with a capacity of 100 MLD to Villupuram and Tindivanam municipalities and Marakkanam and Vikkaravandi town panchayat, estimated at about Rs 2,000 crore, the memorandum said.
The initiative will benefit about 16.78 lakh people, the memorandum released in Chennai by the state government said.
Other proposals submitted for central sanction include those for combined water supply schemes and creation of rain water harvesting structures for improving the water resources, it said.
Various other drought mitigation works by rural local bodies were also proposed.
The state government pointed out that Tamil Nadu faced an "unprecedented" drought in 2016, with the subsequent two years yielding only deficit rainfall.
Due to no monsoon, the local bodies were facing challenges in supplying drinking water following depletion of water table and drying up of water sources in the respective areas, it said.
"In order to mitigate the situation, immediate drought relief work like sinking of new borewells, desilting of open wells, rejuvenation of water supply schemes and water supply through tanker lorries are being taken up by the state on a war footing with the available resources.
"... and as an innovative measure, abandoned quarries have been utilised to draw and supply water to the public after testing scientifically and treating the water," it added.
Further, as part of its waste-management activities, Tamil Nadu proposed setting up micro composting centres during the year 2019-20 in peri-urban or bigger village panchayat and sought a sanction of Rs 300 crore for this.