Chennai: Tamil Nadu chief minister K Palaniswami on Thursday (June 27) laid the foundation stone of Rs 1,259 crore seawater desalination plant in Kancheepuram district, making it the third such unit that would address the Chennai's drinking water supply needs.

This plant would produce about 150 million litres a day and would come up at Nemmeli in the district. This project will be completed by the end of 2021. It would also benefit about nine lakh people in various parts of south Chennai in Tamil Nadu.

Though the late chief minister J Jayalalithaa announced the initiative in 2013, it comes at a time when the city is reeling under, perhaps, its worst water crisis.

It is also said that there are already two such desalination plants, which are located at Minjur and Nemmeli.

While Minjur caters to areas of northern Chennai, the existing plant at Nemmeli serves many parts of southern Chennai.

In an official press release, it recalled that Jayalalithaa had in 2013, announced in the state Assembly regarding the government's decision to install a second desalination unit near the existing one on 10.50 acres of land in Nemmeli.

In lines with the announcement, chief minister Palaniswami laid the foundation stone for the 15 crore litres a day (150 mld) desalination plant at Nemmeli on East Coast Road in Kancheepuram district.

Of the plan estimate of Rs 1,259.38 crore, Rs 700 crore will be obtained as loans from German firm Kfw while the rest will be based on subsidy under Centre's Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) scheme.

The beneficiaries of the latest initiative would include residents of parts of southern Chennai like Alandur, St Thomas Mount and Sholinganallur, besides those in the IT sector on Rajiv Gandhi Salai.