Mullaperiyar row: Vaiko talks of economic blockade

Coimbatore: Economic blockade of Kerala by Tamil Nadu is the "only solution" to reign in the Kerala government and political parties in the neighbouring state, who are "bent upon decommissioning or demolishing the Mullaperiyar dam," MDMK general secretary Vaiko said on Sunday.

With the Centre "washing its hands" off the issue and "keeping silent" in favour of Kerala and the Supreme Court giving an "unclear" direction, political parties in Kerala were trying to unleash violence against Tamils living there, he said. The parties were also trying to demolish the dam, which would turn five southern districts in Tamil Nadu into a "desert," Vaiko alleged at a press conference here.

The MDMK chief, who announced a one-day symbolic blockade on December 21 of 13 roads leading to Kerala from Tamil Nadu, said, "Our point is clear. Kerala must drop the idea of decommissioning and demolishing the Mullaperiyar dam, which is very strong. The (Kerala) government should also drop the idea of constructing a dam in Idikki, in the pretext of generating power," Vaiko said.

When asked whether disrupting power to Kerala from Neyveli was part of the blockade, Vaiko said there was no such plan, but their future course of action would depend on the response from Kerala over the issue.

Vaiko also lauded Home Minister P Chidambaram's comments on the dam row, in which he suggested political parties in Kerala were raking up the issue due to the upcoming bypoll in the state. "At last a Congress MP, that too a minister, has shown courage to stand up in favour of Tamil Nadu."

Blaming the previous DMK regime for "not taking any measures" to solve the issue, Vaiko said the present AIADMK government was moving in the right direction, as far as the Mullaperiyar issue was concerned.

The MDMK chief also condemned the attacks on Tamil Nadu buses and alleged attempts to outrage the modesty of Tamil women estate workers by some anti-social elements from Kerala.