TN not to attend in informal talks on Mullaperiyar

Hardening its stand on the Mullaperiyar dam issue, Tamil Nadu Government on Saturday said it will not attend the official-level informal talks.

Last Updated: Dec 03, 2011, 18:36 PM IST

Chennai: Hardening its stand on the Mullaperiyar dam issue, Tamil Nadu Government on Saturday said it will not attend the official-level informal talks being convened by the Centre on Monday.
"It has already been decided that the Government of Tamil
Nadu will not participate in the informal discussion on
Mullaiperiyar in New Delhi on December 5," PWD Secretary M
Saikumar said in a release quoting the state Chief Secretary
Debendranath Sarangi.

Reports said the Water Resources Ministry wanted to use the
presence of Tamil Nadu officials, slated to appear before the
Mullaperiyar Empowered Committee on Monday, for a meeting with
Kerala officials.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday informed Chief
Minister Jayalalithaa that he had asked the Water Resources
Ministry to arrange an early meeting between officials of the
two states to "sort out outstanding issues and allay genuine
concerns".
Responding to her letter, second in a week, asking him to
restrain Kerala from creating a panic over the dam issue,
Singh had sought Jayalalithaa`s cooperation and hoped that the
issue would be sorted out amicably through dialogue.

Amid the escalation of the row over the dam in the past
few days, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy met the Prime
Minister yesterday seeking his intervention for an early
solution. AIADMK MPs also met Singh and sought his
intervention.

The issue has triggered tension in both the neighbouring
states with Kerala mounting pressure for building a new dam in
place of the century-old reservoir citing recent tremors in
Idduki district and rising water level in Mullaperiyar. Tamil
Nadu is opposing the move saying there was no danger to the
dam which was as good as a new one.

Kerala says fears about the weakness of the 116-year-old
dam had increased since the area around the site had been
shaken by 26 tremors in the last five months alone, a
contention rejected by Tamil Nadu.

Tamil Nadu has been pressing for increasing the storage
level in the dam to 142 feet from 136 feet while Kerala wants
the reservoir to be decommissioned. It has sought lowering the
water level to 120 feet as an immediate measure in the wake of
recent developments.

A series of protests have been organised in parts of
Kerala, including Idduki district, by political parties and
voluntary groups since last week leading to escalation of the
row.

PTI