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Jaya vows to redeem TN rights over Periyar dam

Written by: Staff

Madurai, Apr 13 (UNI) Asserting that Tamil Nadu will not allow any move which affected the rights of farmers in the Periyar-Vaigai basin, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa today vowed to redeem the states' rights over the more than a century-old Periyar Dam.

The State Government would take all necessary steps to revert the storage level in the reservoir to 152 ft as it existed prior to 1979, when Kerala had brought it down to the present 136, she said addressing a campaign roadshow at Othakadi on the city outskirts.

Stating that the Supreme Court ruling of February 27 last, directing raising the storage to 142 ft was the fruit of the strenuous efforts of her Government, Ms Jayalalithaa expressed her resolve to protect the rights of the Tamil Nadu farmers.

''We will not allow any move which impinged upon the rights of the Tamil Nadu farmers over the dam,'' she made it clear.

A case had been filed in the Supreme Court against the Kerala Dams Protection (Amendment) Bill, which she said was primarily intended to circumvent the Apex court's ruling. The judgement had also ordered for restoration of the storage level to the original 152 ft once all the works to strengthen the dam were completed, she pointed out.

As of now only the Baby dam, a minor reservoir adjoining the main reservoir, needs to be strengthened as the Central Water Commission has conclusively dispelled apprehensions over the safety of the main dam.

Commencing her campaign in Melur and adjoining areas, a tail-end region of the Periyar irrigation system, the Chief Minister took the issue, concerning the lifeline and livelihood of the farming community.

She would proceed further in the basin districts and continue her campaign in Theni, where the Cumbum valley is situated.

Significantly, this was the first time that she has taken the issue, though her allies Vaiko of the MDMK and Thol Thirumavalavan of the Dalit Panthers of India have raised it much earlier, causing discomfort in the opposition ranks.

Her oft-repeated charges of the Centre's step-motherly treatment of the state and the Union Ministers bent on preventing any good project coming to Tamil Nadu besides the opposition playing spoilsport were reiterated.

Claiming that the state remained a garden of peace, Ms Jayalalithaa took full credit for this saying there was no single caste or communal disturbance during her five-year rule.

Listing out the achievements of her Government, the Chief Minister sought the mandate to continue the efforts to make the state the numero-uno in the country in all spheres.

A group of functionaries and members of the Makkal Tamil Desam of former Minister S Kannappan, who had merged the party with the DMK, joined the AIADMK in the presence of Ms Jayalalithaa on the occasion.


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