Thiruvananthapuram/Chennai: Ratcheting up its
pressure in the snowballing Mullaperiyar dam row with Tamil
Nadu, Kerala Assembly on Friday unanimously passed a resolution
insisting on a new dam to replace the 116-year old reservoir.
The one-day special Assembly session adopted a resolution
moved by Chief Minister Ommen Chandy asking the Centre and the
state government to take steps to build a new dam, an issue
that has erupted again in recent weeks putting both the
neighbours on a collision course.
In Chennai, DMK expressed dissatisfaction with both Centre
and AIADMK government in the state over their handling of the
issue and announced a hunger strike and a mammoth human chain
next week protesting Kerala`s demand.
DMK called an emergent meeting of its executive council
and passed a resolution blaming "narrow political
considerations" by some persons in Kerala for "tension in the
border" and expressed fear it would affect cordial relations
between people of the two states.
It also asked Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to convene an
all-party meeting so as to present a picture of unity on the
decades old issue over the dam, located in Kerala but
controlled by Tamil Nadu under a 999-year-long lease.
Winding up the three-hour-long debate in the Kerala
Assembly, Chandy said the state wanted to resolve the issue
through talks, with the Centre as an intermediary, while
maintaining the cordial ties with Tamil Nadu.
Asserting that a new dam was the only permanent solution,
he said it was due to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s
intervention that a meeting of officials from the two states
has been convened either on December 15 or 16.
Chandy said the government would do everything possible to
ensure the safety of Kerala people and rejected the
"propaganda" that Kerala was demanding a new dam to deny water
to Tamil Nadu which, he said,, would continue to receive the
same quantum of water as at present.
Water Resources Minister P J Joseph said he would go on an
indefinite fast in New Delhi if the Mullapeiryar issue was not
settled before the month end.
The resolution said occurrence of recent tremors near the
reservoir area had posed a threat to the safety of the dam and
steps were required to clear the apprehensions.
During the debate, the speakers made it clear that the
state was united in its stand of `water to Tamil Nadu and
safety to Kerala`.
Leader of the Opposition (CPI-M) V S Achuthanandan,
supporting the motion, said immediate steps were necessary to
build the new dam as lives of 30 lakh people were in danger.
The session was convened in the wake of escalation of war
of words between the two states in recent weeks on the issue.
As the issue hotted up, Tamils, including Lord Ayyappa
devotees, were allegedly attacked in Kerala while in
retaliation some shops owned by Keralites were targeted by
fringe Tamil outfits in parts of Tamil Nadu.
Dismissing fears over the dam as unfounded, Jayalalithaa
has written to the Prime Minister thrice in a fortnight asking
him to advise Kerala not to create a fear psychosis. She has
also sought deployment of Central Industrial Security Force
personnel at the dam site.