The Home Minister had earlier termed the Kerala government’s apprehension over safety of the Mullaperiyar dam as "unnecessary" and claimed it was borne out of "by-poll fear".
Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Sunday withdrew his remark that fears in Kerala over the safety of the Mullaperiyar dam were induced by a coming byelection. “I take back that remark. That reference was not necessary and it was not my intention to hurt the feelings of anyone,” he clarified, following the controversy over the remark.
In a statement, Mr. Chidambaram asked the people of Kerala and Tamil Nadu to read the whole of his speech delivered at a Congress meeting in Chennai on December 17, which, he said, had been extensively reported in The Hindu and some other papers. [In his speech, he had said, “It is not a fear that came midway, but a fear born out of a byelection. Idayil vandha acham illai, idai-therdhalal acham.”]
The Union Minister said he continued to believe that the Mullaperiyar issue must be resolved “in a spirit of cooperation and brotherhood between the people of the two States.” He clarified that like some other speakers he also made a passing reference to the byelection. He had appealed to everyone that “we must act with dignity, restraint and patience,” stating that fears over the safety of the dam were not justified but that “it was our duty to allay the apprehensions over the safety of the dam.”
Mr. Chidambaram had also said that the dam safety was the concern of not only Kerala but also Tamil Nadu, because Tamil Nadu was dependent on its water. “I also appealed to everyone to await the report of the three-judge panel and the decision of the Supreme Court,” he said.