Koodankulam, dam row to dominate PM`s TN visit
Chennai: The Mullaperiyar Dam row, the stalled Koodankulam project, financial assistance and additional power to the state are some to the issues that are expected to be discussed by Tamil Nadu leaders with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his two-day visit starting on Sunday.
DMK president M Karunanidhi told reporters on Saturday that he will be meeting Manmohan Singh on Monday and discuss the Mullaperiyar issue.
He said he will discuss the attacks on Tamils in Kerala and the raising of storage levels in the Dam to 142 feet.
Kerala and Tamil Nadu have been at loggerheads over the dam -- located in Kerala, but under the control of Tamil Nadu and serving the state.
Tamil Nadu is strongly objecting to Kerala`s demand of a new dam and reduction in storage level to 120 feet till a new dam is built.
Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa is also likely to meet the Prime Minister today though it has not been confirmed.
This is the first time Manmohan Singh is visiting Tamil Nadu after the AIADMK came to power in May. He came here in January to inaugurate the Indian Science Congress.
Jayalalithaa is sore at the Central government for not heeding her requests for financial assistance, additional power and kerosene allocation to the state.
Then there is the matter of the Koodankulam project.
India`s nuclear power plant operator Nuclear Power Corporation of India Ltd (NPCIL) is building two 1,000 MW atomic power reactors at Koodankulam in Tamil Nadu`s Tirunelveli district, around 650 km from Chennai, at an outlay of Rs 13,171 crore.
The first unit was slated to be commissioned in December. However villagers, citing fears for their lives and safety, started their agitation in August and brought all the project-related activities to a standstill.
The Tamil Nadu Cabinet has passed a resolution urging the Central government to stop all works at the project site till the fears are allayed.
Manmohan Singh`s comments during his recent Russian visit that the first reactor at Koondankulam would be operationalised in two weeks time did not go down well with Jayalalithaa.
In turn, Jayalalithaa wrote to the Prime Minister that she was "amazed" to see such comments being made and reminded him of the Cabinet resolution.
Meanwhile, parties like DMDK and MDMK have announced staging black flag demonstrations during the Prime Minister`s visit.
On December 26, Manmohan Singh will participate in the 125th birth anniversary celebrations of mathematician S Ramanujan organised by The Institute of Mathematical Sciences.
He would then leave for Karaikudi in Sivaganga district to participate in a function at Alagappa University and inaugurate the 100th eye hospital of Vasan Healthcare Group.
He will return to New Delhi on December 26.
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