Incidents of violence on the wane in Kumily

Paramilitary forces have been given a free hand to deal with any person entering the Mullaperiyar dam area without proper authorisation.

Theni: Deployment of additional paramilitary forces have led to a drop in incidents of violence in Kumily bordering Kerala`s Idukki district where the Mullaperiyar Dam is located, officials said here on Thursday.

PWD officials and maintenance staff at the dam were now feeling secure and violent incidents had come down drastically in both Kumily and Uthamapalayam, they said.

Paramilitary forces from Indian Reserve Battalion force have been given a free hand to deal with any person entering the dam area without proper authorisation, sources said.

With the row over the dam escalating, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, in a letter to his Tamil Nadu counterpart Jayalalithaa, had said yesterday that police
presence had been strengthened and government was "totally committed" to ensuring peace in the dam area and safety of the existing 116-year-old structure.

A shutter of the dam, reportedly damaged during a recent demonstration by Youth Congressmen from Kerala, has been fixed, and a FIR registered against some unidentified persons, police said.

Police said 50 women labourers, who went to Kerala for work three days ago, are yet to return while 100 other workers, stranded in the neighbouring state`s estates due to the Mullaiperiyar issue, have been brought to Theni.

In a release, the `Samathuva Makkal Katchi` said it would
picket shops owned by Keralites in Kanyakumari district on December 14 to protest the Kerala`s government`s stand on the issue.

Kerala wants to build a new dam in place of the existing one citing safety concerns while Tamil Nadu is against this insisting that the present structure is safe.

A report from Erode said transportation of vegetables, eggs and broiler birds to Kerala was suspended since last night. Textile goods were sent by trains.


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