Mullaperiyar row: Jaya opposes NDMA move

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.

PTI



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

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