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Economic blockade against Kerala: 500 arrested in South TN

Written by: Staff
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Cumbum, Tamil Nadu, Dec 4 (UNI) Members of the Mullaperiyar Rights Retrieval Forum toda blocked vehicular traffic as part of an economic blockade against Kerala, condemning its 'intransigence' in complying with the Supreme Court order, directing to raise the storage in the Mullaperiyar Dam to 142 ft from the reduced level of 136 ft.

Led by Forum convenor and Tamil Nationalist Movement (TNM) leader, Pazha Nedumaran, over 500 people disrupted Kerala-bound traffic as declared earlier.

The Forum, comprising various political parties and ryots fora, had called for the blockade at three strategic entry points to Kerala -- Cumbum, Coimbatore and Shencottah. It was also to protest the DMK Government's failure to take necessary steps, including issuing a GO, to raise the water level and the Centre's callous attitude in this issue.

For nearly three hours in the morning vehicular traffic towards Kerala remained crippled due to the agitation, in which the Tamil Nationalist Front (TNF), Dalit Pathers of India (DPI) and the Periyar Ayacut farmers associations took part.

Besides Mr Nedumaran, those arrested included P Maniyarasan and Thiagu of the TNF, K M Abbas, vice-president Cumbum Valley Farmers Association and S Rathinasamy, Buddhi Sigamani, and Meenakshisundaram from other farmers organisations in the southern region. All those arrested, nearly 360 people, were lodged in a marriage hall, police said.

At Shencottah in Tirunelveli district 55 people were taken into custody for preventing traffic to Kerala as part of this agitation.

Charging the political leadership in Kerala, particularly Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan, with whipping up mass hysteria over this issue, the agitating leaders warned of intensifying the stir if Kerala continued to disregard the rights of Tamil Nadu and failed to comply with the apex court's directive.

Hiking storage level to 142 ft would enable Tamil Nadu to draw a little more than one TMC of water and Kerala making a hue and cry over this was highly unfortunate, they observed. Regretting that Kerala was raising one hoax after another, they said even the apex court had dismissed them as untenable.

In their view the orchestrated campaign over the safety of the Dam and the safety of the people downstream had failed to stand the test of scientific scrutiny. Moreover, the 40 km stretch from the dam site in Thekkady to Idukki Dam was a only forest area and Kerala had a vested interest in camouflaging the facts, it was observed.

UNI CR JJ SB VV1441

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