Tamil Nadu government should consider opposition views: Jaya


Chennai: Describing the DMK-led Tamil Nadu government’s actions on river water disputes as detrimental to the state’s interests, AIADMK General Secretary J. Jayalalithaa has urged the government to consider the opposition parties’ views.

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Referring to the government’s decision Wednesday to nominate retired Supreme Court Justice A.R. Lakshmanan to the apex court-constituted five-member committee on the safety of Mullaperiyar dam, Jayalalithaa said Thursday the delay in doing so has benefited Kerala.

Jayalalithaa said the initial rejection of the five-member committee by the government and the belated nomination of a member to the panel has further delayed the case involving Kerala. “The government should consult the opposition parties on important issues affecting the state,” she said.

With the Supreme Court rejecting the government’s “recall petition” – a plea to recall the court’s decision to constitute a five-member committee, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi Wednesday announced the government’s decision to nominate a member.

Earlier, when the DMK party’s general council passed a resolution to boycott the committee and the government did not nominate a member, Jayalalithaa had warned that the decision may prove costly for the state.

On Thursday, she recalled her warning that in a case filed by the Tamil Nadu government the absence of a state’s representative in the committee would strengthen Kerala’s position.

Kerala and Tamil Nadu have been at loggerheads over the Mullaperiyar dam built under an agreement signed in 1886 between the then Maharaja of Travancore and the British administration.

While the dam is located in Kerala’s Idukki district, it serves Tamil Nadu. Both the states were carved on linguistic basis in 1956 during reorganisation of states after Independence.

In recent years, Tamil Nadu has demanded that the storage capacity of the dam be increased by raising its height from 136 feet (41.5 metre) to 142 feet (43 metre) to meet the increasing water demand for irrigation.

In 2006, the Supreme Court gave its order in favour of Tamil Nadu to raise the storage levels in February 2006, the Kerala government passed a law effectively nullifying the judgment in March that year.

Opposing the Kerala law, Tamil Nadu filed a case in the Supreme Court in 2006, which the court, after hearing for nearly three years, referred to a five-member constitution bench.

The bench decided to form a five-member committee headed by former Chief Justice of India A.S. Anand. The court asked both Tamil Nadu and Kerala to nominate one technical expert each to the panel, while the central government was told to nominate two technical experts.