Mullaperiyar: Tamil Nadu pours cold water on talks

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Sticking to its stand that there was no point in negotiating with Kerala on Mullaiperiyar when its case was pending before the Supreme Court, the Tamil Nadu government on Saturday categorically rejected the Centre’s invite to hold informal talks with Kerala.

“It has already been decided that the government of Tamil Nadu will not participate in the informal discussion on Mullaiperiyar issue in New Delhi on Monday,” the chief secretary said in a statement.

Informed sources said the Union water resources ministry had invited the water resources department secretaries of Tamil Nadu and Kerala over phone for an 'informal discussion' on December 5 in New Delhi. There was no official/written communication. Incidentally, the SC-appointed empowered committee’s (EC’s) crucial meeting would be held the same morning.

Chief minister J. Jayalalithaa rejected her Kerala counterpart’s claims about the lack of safety of the dam and tremors there.

While Kerala authorities were putting pressure on New Delhi to decommission the Mullaiperiyar dam and asking TN to settle for a new lease agreement, TN stood its ground that the dam was as safe as a new one and the water level should be raised by 6 more ft as per the SC directive.

“Kerala has been spreading panic and fear psychosis. They are adamant in not adhering to the SC verdict of 2006 to increase the water level,” remarked a senior official.

“We have challenged their Act that circumvents the SC judgment. In such a scenario, we are not prepared for talks anymore. We fear that the SC may ask us where is the point of their adjudication if we agree for talks,” he added.

Kerala has approached the EC to put forward some of its witnesses. Sources said the Union water resources ministry had rejected Kerala’s fear on flood impact citing a study by a professor of IIT Delhi. Leader of the Opposition Vijayakanth and MDMK leader Vaiko cautioned the CM against falling into the 'talk trap'.

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