Chennai Water Crisis
A man uses a hand-pump to fill up a container with drinking water as others wait in a queue on a street in Chennai.Reuters file [Representational Image]

Even as the state is suffering from an acute water crisis, Tamil Nadu has rejected Kerala's offer to supply 20 lakh litres of drinking water to its neighbouring state.

Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan had conveyed the offer to help Tamil Nadu which is gripping under severe water shortage. But it is alleged that the state CM Edappadi K Palaniswami has rejected the offer saying that there is no immediate need for help now, as things are being sorted out.

"Tamil Nadu is facing a severe water shortage and the Kerala government has agreed to provide drinking water through the railways. Our office contacted the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister's Office and received a reply that it was not necessary. The government was trying to get 20 lakh litres of drinking water from Thiruvananthapuram to Chennai. All the major water bodies in Chennai are drying up and drought has severely affected agriculture. It was in this context that the Government of Kerala offered its assistance," read a statement by CM Vijayan in his Facebook post.

The Kerala government was fully prepared to transport 20 lakh litres of drinking water from Thiruvananthapuram to Chennai via train as the state is facing from the worst drought ever. CM Palaniswami said that the drought and lack of rain had resulted in depletion of groundwater levels in the state, but the issue is not as severe as the media claims it to be.

However, Tamil Nadu Municipal Administration minister S P Velumani on Thursday night said that the information on CM Palaniswami rejecting Kerala's offer is not true. He said that the Kerala government had made a one-time offer to provide 20 lakh litres of water but Chennai itself required 52.5 crore litres a day.

Minister Velumani conveyed gratitude to the Kerala CM for his kind gesture. He said that the TN government officials have suggested that it will be helpful if Kerala could send 20 lakh litres of water daily. The chief minister will take an appropriate decision after a review meeting on the drinking water issue on Friday.

The opposition leader and DMK president Mk Stalin have slammed the TN government for refusing help from Kerala. "Urge the government of Tamil Nadu to work with Govt of Kerala to help citizens of our state tide over this unprecedented water crisis," read his tweet.