The State government may not be able to bring 10 MLD of water from Jolarpet to Chennai city by train, as was promised by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami. Loading could be a challenge for the government in putting its plan into action, officials claimed.
Senior railway officials confided that not more than 7.5 mld would be possible even if they stretch it to their limits daily.
“A rake (train) of 50 wagons has the capacity to carry 2.6 mld. A ballpark estimate might suggest that the 10 mld promised by the CM could be achieved in four simple trips from Jolarpet to Chennai, but it is not as easy as it sounds. Each trip would consume not less than seven hours. The time consumed includes loading, transportation and unloading,” a top-level railway official, requesting anonymity, said. He added that wagons are normally used to transport oil and the oil companies have dedicated infrastructure, an exclusive high-pressure pump per wagon to load oil. Even then, it takes six hours to complete the loading, transportation and offloading process, according to the official.
State govt officials, after the joint survey on Sunday, informed the Railways that they would require two to three weeks to develop the loading infrastructure. “They must ensure adequate water flow from the Hogenakkal Scheme (source of the 10 mld project), pipelines which can withstand the pressure and high-power pumps for the loading to take place,” the official added.
Even if they manage to get it all done, which is a near impossibility, equally effective infrastructure should be available in Chennai to unload the wagons as all the loading and offloading plus transportation should be done in six hours.
“It is practically impossible. Two trips would be optimum. We can even rework our schedule and manage four trips. Traffic is not an issue for us. The real problem is loading and offloading, which is a technical handicap the government must overcome. Even if we push it to our limits, only three trips will be possible, which will work out to 7.5 mld,” the SR official disclosed.