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TN not represented on dam issue: Jaya

Putting the DMK-led state government on the mat, opposition leader J Jayalalithaa has said the nod to Kerala to carry out a survey for construction of a dam across the Mullaperiyar river was given at a national level meeting where Tamil Nadu was not represented.

india Updated: Oct 14, 2009 17:14 IST

Putting the DMK-led state government on the mat, opposition leader J Jayalalithaa has said the nod to Kerala to carry out a survey for construction of a dam across the Mullaperiyar river was given at a national level meeting where Tamil Nadu was not represented.

In a statement issued in Chennai on Wednesday, AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa said senior officials from most Indian states were represented at the meeting which discussed several inter-state issues.

She was referring to a Sep 16 meeting of the Standing Committee of the National Board for Wildlife chaired by the Union Minister of State for Forests and Environment, Jairam Ramesh.

"Kerala was represented by KP Ouseph, chief wildlife warden (CWLW). Surprisingly, Tamil Nadu went totally unrepresented in this meeting in which 31 people from all over India participated," she said citing the minutes of the meeting.

Jayalalithaa said the meeting discussed permission for survey and investigation in the area falling within the Periyar Tiger Reserve for construction of the New Mullaperiyar dam.

Quoting from the minutes of the meeting, she said: "The member secretary apprised the members that the proposal was only for survey and investigation involving an area of 2.5 ha against the area of 925 sq km of Periyar Tiger Reserve."

"CWLW of Kerala has recommended the proposal subject to the number of conditions. After detailed discussions, and considering the fact that the old dam was 113 years old, weak and could cause disaster in future, the committee unanimously recommended the proposal only for survey and investigation subject to compliance of conditions envisaged by CWLW and without in any way affecting any legal and administrative clearance required," Jayalalithaa quoted the minutes.

Wondering whether Tamil Nadu was not invited to this crucial meeting, Jayalalithaa said: "If so, what sort of a coalition government is this, which depends on so many ministers from the DMK and the Congress from Tamil Nadu, but does not invite anyone from the state for such an important meeting?"

She posed: "If Tamil Nadu had been invited, then why was no representative sent to ensure that the state's interests and its riparian rights were protected? Was that not the reason why the decision to accord permission to Kerala to conduct the survey was recorded in the minutes as 'unanimous'?"

Citing Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi's own admission that Environment Minister Ramesh had given his written clearance only on Oct 6, 2009, Jayalalithaa said: "For 20 days after the decision to give Kerala the permission to conduct the survey was taken, neither the Tamil Nadu government nor the DMK ministers in the union cabinet did anything about it. Does this not amount to administrative ineptitude of the highest order?"

On Oct 2, the Tamil Nadu government had issued a statement that it would take action if somebody gave proof that the centre had given the nod to carry out a survey for construction of a new dam across Mullaperiyar River.