Chennai Buzz: Security in suburban stations | Longest dry spell since 2015 | Longer wait for canned water

WEEKLY NEWS ROUND-UP FROM CHENNAI

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People throng the suburban railway stations in Chennai. Pic: Laasya Shekhar

Over 90% of suburban rail stations yet to get CCTV

The shocking incident of another young woman hacked in the suburban station of Chetpet has turned the focus on security in many of the stations.  Following a similar incident in Nungambakkam station in 2016 where a woman techie was stabbed to death, the Railways had hurriedly installed a closed circuit televion (CCTV) camera  at the station.

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Railways sources have said that out of the 136 stations identified for CCTV coverage in 2011, only 8 have had them installed, while the work on the other stations have slowed down. Chetpet incidentally was one of those 136 stations.

The delay is attributed to the fact that Railtel floated a global tender but has been pushing back the award due to fear of redundant technology. They want to have the latest make of CCTV installed.

Source: The Times of India

HC asks State to submit plan to resolve water crisis

Hearing a PIL filed against commercial exploitation of groundwater in suburban localities of Chennai, the High Court has questioned the state on the measures taken to solve the water crisis. A Division Bench of Justices S Manikumar and Subramonium Prasad expressed concern over exploitation of groundwater and asked the counsel for the number of Sewage Treatment Plants in existence.

With heat waves prevalent across the state and South West monsoon yet to bring any relief, 22 districts are in the red as the declining trend of groundwater levels continues steadily. In a month’s time,  Chennai suburbs like Kancheepuram saw a steep decline of 0.48 metres and 0.87 metres, respectively.

Source: The Hindu | The New Indian Express

City witnesses the longest dry spell in a decade

Chennai has gone without rain for 191 days since the last monsoon in 2018. With no rains predicted immediately, the city will break the 10-year record for the longest dry spell.  The highest number of rainless days before this was preceding the 2015 floods: between December 2014 to July 2015, over 193 days that saw no precipitation.

With no rains in sight, the city is crippled by severe water crisis.  Not only residences, but commercial establishments have also started feeling the heat. The crisis is so acute that some hotels in the city have decided not to serve meals for lunch to reduce use of water. IT companies along the OMR road have already instructed its employees to work from home while students have been asked to carry water bottles.

Source: The Times of India | The Hindu

Bottled water cans supply hit

With borewells drying up, water lorries becoming dearer and restrictions on extraction of groundwater, the water packaging industry is in a fix and the wait for canned water has only become longer.

Bubble top manufacturers draw water from private and commercial bore-wells across Chennai, Kancheepuram and Tiruvallur.  While half of the borewells have gone dry, extraction guidelines by the PWD, restricting water withdrawals to not more than 12 hours a day, have further intensified the crisis.

Source: The Times of India

[Compiled by Sandhya Raju]