Karunanidhi threatens to pullout of talks on Mullaiperiyar
Chennai, Nov 23: Dismayed over Kerala government's move to get the Mullaiperiyar Dam inspected by a naval team, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi today threatened to pullout of the November 29 talks on the dam issue, if the Centre did not intervene and stop Thirvananthapuram's ''unlawful activities.'' Taking strong exception to 17 naval officers proceeding to inspect the safety of Periyar Dam on the request of Kerala government, Mr Karunanidhi told reporters here, ''If Kerala continues to indulge in such unfair and provocative actions, it is not possible for Tamil Nadu to participate in the dialogue, scheduled for November 29.'' He said it was astonishing to note that the Kerala government had taken unilateral action to deliberately interfere with the safety of the Mullaiperiyar Dam, without seeking permission from Tamil Nadu which ownes and maintains the dam.
If the Kerala government continued to indulge in such ''unlawful and provocative acts'' and the Centre failed to intervene, Tamil Nadu would have no option, but to approach the Supreme Court and place all the happenings that had occurred after it passed orders on the matter on February 27 and made some observations on September 25, Mr Karunanidhi said.
Mr Karunanidhi said after the Supreme Court had suggested that Tamil Nadu and Kerala governments find a negotiated settlement to the issue, Chennai had requested the Centre to convene a meeting and accordingly, the Union Government had made arrangements for the Chief Ministerial level talks on November 29 in New Delhi. However, after the date was fixed by the Centre, Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan and his ministerial colleagues had been making some intimidating, precipitating and provocative statements aimed at jeopardising the talks.
When the Centre had convened a meeting of the two states to discuss about the demand for raising the water level from the present 136 ft to 142 ft, Mr Achuthanandan had said that the water level should not be allowed to be raised even by an inch.
Similarly, when Tamil Nadu Public Works Minister Duraimurugan visited the dam last week, he was gheraoed by a group of people, Mr Karunanidhi said and pointed out that these kind of acts would not help foster cordial ties between the two states and protect the unity of the country.
Meanwhile, there were reports that at the behest of Kerala government, a team of 17 naval officers, including divers from Kochi, were proceeding to check the dam. ''It is shocking that Kerala has taken such unilateral action, when the reservoir was owned by Tamil Nadu, he said.
Mr Karunanidhi said it was improper on the part of Kerala to check the safety of the dam, when the Supreme Court itself, in its order on February 27, had said that the dam was safe to store water upto 142 ft level. On reported remarks of Mr Achuthanandan that Tamil Nadu was keen on raising the water level to make money out of power generation, Mr Karunanidhi said if his Kerala counterpart had made such remarks, it would only be an ''irresponsible and meaningless statement''.
State Electricity Minister Arcot N Veerasamy, who was present at the press conference, said Tamil Nadu was never in a position to make money out of power generation, using the water in the dam. The state generates 10,098 MW of electricity and the power generation from the dam was only 140 MW, just 1.38 per cent of the total generation.
On reports that the ruling DMK was planning to organise a ''bandh'' in southern districts on the Mullaiperiyar issue, Mr Karunanidhi said Tamil Nadu had been handling the issue with great responsibility to avoid any bickerings between the two states.
Even at this height of provocation now, Tamil Nadu would prefer to sort out the issue and fight for justice before the Supreme Court, he said.