Mullaperiyar row: Jaya opposes NDMA move
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Last Updated: Wednesday, December 21, 2011, 22:25
Chennai: Increasing pressure on the Centre over the Mullaperiyar dam issue, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Wednesday slammed it for forming an expert team to draw up a contingency response plan for the reservoir, saying it was succumbing to the "subterfuge" of Kerala government.

As tension gripped areas bordering Kerala in Theni district following a road blockade protest by thousands of villagers, Jayalalithaa shot off yet another to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the dam issue.

She took strong exception to the National Disaster Management Authority headed by him forming the experts team to draw up a contingency response plan including "inundation and submergence models" in the event of possible scenarios like earthquakes and floods.

"This is nothing but succumbing to the subterfuge of the government of Kerala and to present a fait accompli to the Supreme Court and the Empowered Committee constituted by it," she said demanding withdrawal of NDMA's office memorandum.

Jayalalithaa's fourth letter to the Prime Minister in as many weeks on the dam issue comes amid an unending war of words between leaders of both states over Kerala's insistence on demolishing the 116-year old dam citing safety concerns which, Tamil Nadu strongly opposes.

Responding to Jayalalithaa's opposition to NDMA's initiative, Kerala Chief Minister Ommen Chandy expressed optimism that Tamil Nadu would agree for talks to resolve the Mullaperiyar row.

Bilateral dialogue or involving Centre's intervention were the options available to solve such inter-state dispute.

"Why Tamil Nadu was afraid of talks," he asked replying to queries on Jayalalithaa's latest missive to the prime minister.

In Theni, the epicentre of protests since last month against Kerala's stand on the dam issue, police arrested MDMK leader Vaiko when he was on his way to Lower Camp on Kerala border to lead his party workers on a road blockade stir demanding protection to the dam.

Vaiko was arrested for attempting to defy prohibitory orders in force in parts of the district but about 10,000 people went ahead with the agitation and blocked the road at Gudalur where five persons were injured in a clash between police and the agitators.

Police said they resorted to baton charge when the agitators threw stones at them during the clash which broke out after a tractor 'accidentally' hit the vehicle of IGP Rajesh Dass who was on his way to hold talks with the protesters.

Talking to reporters in Thiruvananthapuram, Chandy said bilateral dialogue or involving Centre's intervention were the options available to solve such inter-state disputes, adding Kerala's stand was that the prime minister should take the initiative in resolving the matter.

Chandy rejected the contention in the one-day Tamil Nadu assembly session that Kerala was planning to divert more water to Idukki reservoir to augment its hydel power production and said if that was the reason for opposing the new dam, the matter could be solved through dialogue.

"Kerala is ready to give an assurance in any form on supplying water to Tamil Nadu," Chandy said, adding his government wanted to construct the new dam with the concurrence of the neighbour and was trying for it.

On reports about attacks on Tamil Ayyappa pilgrims in Kerala, Chandy said such incidents were isolated and police have arrested the culprits.


First Published: Wednesday, December 21, 2011, 22:25

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