New Delhi, Dec 18: Union Minister of Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi on Sunday said Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram should have used his influence as a political leader to push Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa for a dialogue with the Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh, as well as Kerala Government to resolve the ongoing row surrounding the century-old Mullaperiyar Dam.
“I wish Chidambaram should have used his influence as a political leader in Tamil Nadu as well as an important post in Delhi cabinet to persuade the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu to have come for a dialogue with the Prime Minister and discussions on the table with Chief Minister of Kerala also,” he said.
Ravi asserted that Chidambaram was expected to settle the discord between the two states, but instead there is furore over Chidambaram’s remark on the political scenario in Kerala.
He said: “We expect Home Minister to help and extend all the help to the Prime Minister, who has taken the initiative to settle the Mullaperiyar dispute between the state of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. We have also appealed to the people of Tamil Nadu, please come to the negotiation table.”
Chidambaram’s remark that Kerala Government’s apprehension over safety of the Mullaperiyar dam was ‘unnecessary’ and said it was borne out of ‘by poll fear’ has raised a controversy.
Chidambaram, however, later appealed to everyone to act with dignity, restraint and patience over the controversy surrounding the Mullaperiyar Dam.
“I appeal to the people of Kerala and Tamil Nadu to read the whole of my speech delivered at a Congress party meeting at Chennai on 17.12.2011, which has been extensively reported in “The Hindu” and some other papers. I appealed to everyone that we must act with dignity, restraint and patience,” said Chidambaram in a statement on the Mullaperiyar Dam issue.
“I said that fears over the safety of the dam were not justified but it was our duty to allay the apprehensions on the safety of the dam. I said that the safety of the dam was the concern of not only Kerala but also Tamil Nadu, because Tamil Nadu was dependent on the water from the dam. I also appealed to everyone to await the report of the three-judge panel and the decision of the Supreme Court,” he added.
Chidambaram further said: “Like some other speakers, I also made a passing reference to the forthcoming by-election. I take back that remark. That reference was not necessary and it was not my intention to hurt the feelings of anyone. I continue to believe that the issue must be resolved in a spirit of cooperation and brotherhood between the people of the two states.”
Kerala and Tamil Nadu are locked in a dispute over the dam located in Idduki District. The dam and the river are located in Kerala, but the dam is controlled and operated by Tamil Nadu. The safety of the dam has been a matter of concern and a point of dispute between the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
While Tamil Nadu, the custodian of the structure, wants to increase the water level in the reservoir, Kerala has been insisting that it be reduced from the current 136 feet to 120 feet.
Kerala apprehends that this past-expiry date dam could crash and cause untold destruction in the state.
Kerala is arguing for the construction of a new dam at Mullaperiyar in place of the existing one, which is being opposed by Tamil Nadu. (ANI)