Protests continue in Kerala on Mullaperiyar

Political parties and voluntary groups in Kerala on Tuesday continued protests and lobbied for a new dam at Mullaperiyar.

Thiruvananthapuram: Political parties and
voluntary groups in Kerala on Tuesday continued protests and
lobbied for a new dam at Mullaperiyar amid indications that
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would convene a meeting of chief
ministers of Tamil Nadu and Kerala to find an amicable
solution to the vexed issue.
Normal life was disrupted in four vulnerable districts,
including Idukki, where the 116-year-old dam is located, as
BJP and Kerala Congress(M) separately called for a dawn-to-
dusk hartal.

Civil Aviation Minister Vayalar Ravi said in Delhi that
Singh told central ministers from Kerala that a meeting of two
chief ministers would be convened to try and arrive at a
solution to the long standing dispute.

Opposition CPI(M)-led LDF decided to mobilise thousands
of activists and supporters to forge a `human wall` from
Mullaperiyar to Kochi on December 8 to highlight the people`s
concern over the threat posed by the dam.
The LDF state committee meet here today also asked the
UDF government to convene an urgent assembly session for
adopting a resolution to reinforce Kerala`s stand on the new

Congress leaders led by state party chief Ramesh
Chennithala submitted a memorandum to Governor M O H Farook
highlighting the need for a new dam and to restrict the water
level to 120 feet.

An LDF delegation led by Opposition Leader V S
Achuthanandan will visit Mullaperiyar tomorrow.
Meanwhile, the Kerala High Court directed the state
government to file an affidavit by tomorrow on the safety
measures adopted by it with regard to the dam.

Congress and DMK MPs from Tamil Nadu met the prime
minister separately and sought his intervention to "desist"
Kerala from engaging in a "false propaganda" and await final
orders of the Supreme Court on it.

The DMK MPs alleged that political parties in Kerala were
"deliberately misinforming" its people about the dam`s safety,
creating fear in their minds, which would in turn harness
hatred and mistrust among people of the two states.

The prime minister assured a Congress MPs delegation that
he would talk to Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal
on the issue over which the two states have been at
loggerheads for a long time.

The MPs told Singh that Kerala should not be allowed to
construct a new dam near the 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 tremor in Idduki in Kerala.

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.

Four MPs from Tamil Nadu also staged a sit-in, demanding
implementation of the Supreme Court directive on the matter by
raising the storage level to 142 feet.


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