Karunanidhi apprises Sonia of damage by incessant rains

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Chennai, Dec 20 (UNI) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi today said he briefed Congress President Sonia Gandhi about the details of the damage caused by incessant rains in the state and sought Centre's help to tide over the power crisis.

Talking to newspersons after calling on the Congress leader at her residence in Delhi, the Chief Minister said he also briefed Ms Gandhi about the details of the talks with his Kerala counterpart V S Achuthanandan on the Mullaiperiyar dam issue.

After the Congress leader enquired about the extent of damage caused by the incessant rains in the past few days, he told her about the power crisis faced by the state and wanted her to help by taking up the issue with the Union Power Minister.

To a question, Mr Karunanidhi said he felt that there was progress in the talks with the Kerala Government on the vexed Mullaiperiyar dam issue after a round of talks yesterday.

''After the Chief Ministerial level talks last evening, I feel there is a progress in the talks,'' he said.

He said the Kerala Government held the view that if the water level was raised, the dam would collapse and lakhs of people would be killed, while Tamil Nadu contended that the dam was safe enough to raise the water level.

The Tamil Nadu Government's view was endorsed by the Central Water Resources Committee after examining the dam, he said.

During the talks yesterday, on behalf of Kerala, it was stated that there was leakage in the dam, but could not quantify, when Tamil Nadu Government sought more details.

Hence he suggested to his Kerala counterpart that the Centre could appoint an independent agency, comprising engineers drawn from other states and examine the strength of the dam.

The Kerala Chief Minister had agreed to consider this suggestion and announced that the talks would continue, Mr Karunanidhi said, adding that this gave him the impression that there was progress in the talks.

He said on behalf of the state government, it was explained to Ms Gandhi, the steps being taken to contain terrorist and extremist activities. The arrest of five naxalites in Theni district bore testimony to this, he added.

UNI

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