Jaya meets PM, raises Mullaperiyar issue

CM Jayalalithaa asked PM Manmohan Singh to advise Kerala not to build a new dam across Mullaperiyar and sought a financial package for the state.

Updated: Dec 26, 2011, 00:11 AM IST

Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister
Jayalalithaa today asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to
advise Kerala not to build a new dam across Mullaperiyar and
sought a financial package for the state.

In her 40-minute meeting with Singh at Raj Bhavan soon
after his arrival on a two-visit to the state, Jayalalithaa
submitted a memorandum making a host of demands but skipped
any reference to the Koodankulam nuclear power project
standoff.

Amid the raging row over Mullaperiyar dam, she demanded
deployment of the Central Industrial Security Force to
safeguard the reservoir and withdrawal of the recent order of
the National Disaster Management Authority constituting a team
of experts for formulating a Contingency Response Plan for it.

In the 18-page memorandum, she also sought exemption of
Tamil Nadu from the proposed National Food Security Bill and
protection of the "traditional fishing rights" of Indian
fishermen in the Palk Bay and their safety and security in the
backdrop of attacks on them allegedly by Sri Lankan Navy.

Earlier, Jayalalithaa presented a shawl and a bouquet to
Singh when he landed at the airport here by a special
aircraft. This is Singh`s first visit to the state since she
returned to power six months ago.
Accusing Kerala Government of indulging in "calculated
fear mongering", Jayalalithaa said this had led to attacks and
destruction of "Tamil Nadu properties", prompting the state to
demand CISF protection to the dam.

Tracing the history of the row, she requested Singh to
advise Kerala Government to honour the 2006 Supreme Court
order allowing Tamil Nadu to raise the water level initially
from 136 ft to 142 ft.

"The retrofitted Mullaperiyar Dam is safe and functioning
well," she said urging him to ask Kerala not to obstruct but
to co-operate with Tamil Nadu in carrying out the remaining
strengthening works suggested by the Central Water Commission
and also the routine maintenance works.

Jayalalithaa`s demands come against the backdrop of
leaders from both states indulging in a war of words ever
since the issue resurfaced last month in the wake of tremors
in the Idduki district of Kerala where the reservoir is
located.

On the Food Security Bill, about which she had written to
Singh earlier opposing it, she said the legislation is
"replete with confusion and inaccuracy".
Seeking exemption of Tamil Nadu from the purview of the
proposed bill as it would entail an additional financial
burden of Rs 1,800 crore per annum, she said the state had
been successfully implementing universal public distribution
system.

"In a federal structure where states are in close and
direct contact with people, the choice of designing and
implementing popular welfare schemes is best left to the
states," the Chief Minister said.

Refraining from referring in the memorandum to the
prolonged impasse over the Koodankulam project facing protests
from the locals, Jayalalithaa said as the Indo-Russian project
was getting delayed, the Centre should allocate an additional
1,000 MWe to the state immediately.

Seeking a financial package on the lines of assistance to
West Bengal, she said her government had inherited a "fragile
financial system" with an enormous debt burden of over Rs one
lakh crore.

"The state is unable to come out of the debt trap
hampering development works severely," she said, adding the
Centre might consider providing additional financial support
under specific programmes like Backward Regions Grant or any
other developmental schemes meant for infrastructure
development as it did in the case of West Bengal.

Raising the issue of attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen
allegedly by Sri Lankan Navalmen, she said the incidents had
caused great unrest amongst the fishermen Community.

Noting that nearly 30 incidents of such attacks had taken
place since she came to power in May last, she said during the
proposed January talks with Sri Lanka, India should strongly
take up the issue with Colombo.

PTI