Mullaperiyar dam row: Kerala ministers meet PM

Last Updated: Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - 14:30

New Delhi: With the Mullaperiyar Dam issue
assuming centrestage, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday
indicated that a meeting of Chief Ministers of Tamil Nadu and
Kerala would be convened soon to discuss the contentious issue
at length.

Meeting a delegation of Congress MPs from Tamil Nadu,
Singh assured them that he would talk to Union Water Resources
Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal with regard to the issue over
which the two states have been at loggerheads for a long time.

"The Prime Minister heard us patiently. We submitted a
memorandum to him in this regard. He listened to our views. He
said he would talk to Water Resources Minister and ask him to
work on a meeting of Chief Ministers of both states," Manick
Tagore, Virduhunagar MP, said after the meeting.

The MPs told Singh that Kerala should not be allowed to
construct a new dam near the 116-year-old existing structure.
They also asked Singh to intervene personally in the issue,
which is at the centrestage again in the wake of reports that
the dam is weakening due to increase in incidents of tremors in
Idduki district in Kerala.

Union Ministers from Kerala also met the Prime Minister
seeking his intervention in ensuring the safety of the dam.

Union Ministers Vayalar Ravi, K V Thomas, K C Venugopal,
Mullapally Ramachandran and E Ahamed met Singh with a demand
to rein in Tamil Nadu`s insistence on increasing the water
level in the reservoir for enhancing water supply to the
state.

"The Prime Minister heard us out and assured us that he
would look into the issue," Ravi, the Civil Aviation Minister,
said.

MPs from Kerala, cutting across party lines, continued
their protest in Parliament premises to press for their demand
for building a new dam to replace the existing structure.

Alongside the representatives from Kerala, four MPs from
Tamil Nadu staged a sit-in protest demanding implementation of
the Supreme Court directive on the matter by raising the
storage level to 142 feet.

While Tamil Nadu wants to increase the water-level in the
reservoir, Kerala has been insisting that it be reduced from
the current 136 feet to 120 feet.

Kerala is willing to construct a new dam for supplying
water to Tamil Nadu, which is opposing the move concerned over
losing control over its functionality.

Meanwhile, normal life was affected today in Kerala`s Idukki, Kottayam, Ernakulam and Alappuzha districts due to the 12-hour hartal call given by various political
parties seeking immediate resolution of the Mullaperiyar dam
dispute.

Shops have downed shutters, Kerala Road Transport
Corporation buses are not operating services and private buses
are also off the roads in most of the places, initial reports
from the four districts said.

The dawn to dusk hartal, which began at 6.00 am this morning,
has been called by BJP and the Kerala Congress Mani and Kerala
Congress Jacob factions, both constituents of the ruling UDF.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, November 29, 2011 - 10:32

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