Kerala fumes over Chidambaram's Mullaperiyar dam statement

Indo Asian News Service

Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 17 (IANS) Irrespective of party affiliations, political leaders in Kerala Saturday slammed union Home Minister P. Chidamabram's purported statement on the Mullaperiyar dam.

State Water Resources Minister P.J. Joseph demanded that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh should dismiss Chidamabaram on the grounds of his violating the oath of secrecy.

'Chidamabaram has made a senseless statement and I wonder if he is in his proper senses. How can a federal minister make such a remark when more than four million people in the five districts surrounding the Mullaperiyar dam live in fear. Does this mean that scientists at the IIT Roorkee and Delhi do not know what they reported on the condition of the leaking dam? This is highly deplorable,' said Joseph.

Chidamabaram, while speaking at a public meeting in Chennai, reportedly said that Kerala is raking up the Mullaperiyar dam issue just because of a coming by-election, and once it is over, than the problem also will end.

He also said that in February, the apex court is to give its verdict and there is no doubt that it would favour Tamil Nadu.

Veteran Congress leader V.M. Sudheeran also attacked Chidambaram's statement.

'(I) Am certain that this is not the statement of the Congress party. Am told that other central ministers also took part in the meeting that Chidamabaram took part and none of them said anything like what he said. This statement is not acceptable,' said Sudheeran.

Revenue Minister and Congress leader Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan remarked that Chidamabaram's remark seems to be of the MP from Sivaganga and not a senior Congress leader.

'We all see him as a national leader of the Congress and he should act like that also. Maybe, he is quite aware that the Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu gets water from the Mullaperiyar dam and hence he made this remark,' he said.

Former home minister and Communist Party of India-Marxist politburo member Kodiyeri Balakrishnan said it is the most unfortunate remark ever made by a central minister.

'It was only the other day that the prime minister assured us (an all party delegation led by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Leader of Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan) that he will certainly do the needful. And this remark by Chidamabaram is against the spirit of what the prime minister assured us,' said Balakrishnan.

Meanwhile, Chandy told reporters that a smear campaign against Kerala is being carried out in Tamil Nadu and they have raised the issue with officials there to see that the violence against Keralites in Tamil Nadu be stopped.

'There are baseless reports being spread in Tamil Nadu that their people who arrive in our state are being attacked and also their people in our state are now not being provided jobs. I appeal to them that they should not fall for such baseless campaign,' he said.

Meanwhile, director of 'DAM 999', Sohan Roy, whose film was banned in Tamil Nadu for another six months said he will now approach the apex court against the extended ban.

'We have the right to approach the Supreme Court again and have decided to do accordingly. Also we have decided to inform Supreme Court that some of the statements given by me are wrongly reported,' said Roy in a statement issued here.

Meanwhile, filming of a Malayalam movie near Thenkasi in Tamil Nadu came under attack from an armed mob, according to its director, and the team had to leave the area.

'For the past four days, we were shooting and there was no problem from the local community, but today (Saturday) an armed mob of 40 came and disrupted the shooting and we decided to pack up from there. We approached the police but they said they were helpless,' said film director M.A. Nishad.