The sharp spells of rain received during the last fortnight have not helped the city water managers even a wee bit. They have approached Southern Railway (SR) to operate more special water trains.
“State government officials have asked us to make three trips daily. We require another train to manage another trip. We are considering it. We must explore as to where the third train set could be sourced from,” a senior SR officer said, requesting anonymity.
Till Wednesday, only two trips were made with one train arriving at Villivakkam around 9pm and another later in the afternoon. The first special water train with the capacity to operate 2.5mld was started from Vellore on July 12. It was only a week and a half later that the second one started from Vellore on July 24, doubling the capacity to 5mld per day, which was 50 per cent short of the capacity ‘assured’ by the state government.
Experts at TWAD (Tamil Nadu Water and Drainage Board), in fact, had claimed that it would somehow bring an extra 1mld and optimise the daily supply from Jolarpet to Chennai to 11mld.
DTNext had reported even before the commencement of the first service that the infrastructure would not permit transportation of 10mld and even if the railway authorities push it to the limits, they would only manage three trips, which works out to 7.5mld.
A senior SR officer conceded on Wednesday that even the two trips were affecting regular passenger train service.
“Operation of suburban trains was hit by 10-15 minutes due to movement of the special water train on loop line and clearing the route for passenger services. Operation of the third train would hit our punctuality further. But, we cannot help it because water is a serious problem,” the SR officer reasoned.