A day after the Supreme Court asked both Kerala and Tamil Nadu to cool tempers, major political parties of Kerala, including the Congress and the Left parties, on Wednesday announced that they were calling off their respective agitations over the Mullaperiyar dam issue. Representatives of the parties said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had assured them he would do his best to find an amicable solution to the issue over which political parties and organisations in Kerala and Tamil Nadu have been pitted against each other in recent weeks.
Dr. Manmohan Singh, who met an all-party delegation from Kerala at Parliament House, stressed on the need to create a conducive atmosphere in both States. He wanted politicians and others to restrain themselves as the Supreme Court was already seized of the matter, and not to do anything that might aggravate the situation. The delegation was led by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and the former Chief Minister, V.S. Achuthanandan.
Mr. Chandy later told journalists here that he was appealing to the people to call off their agitations. He said the delegation had promised all cooperation to the Centre to settle the issue peacefully.
“After the meeting with the Prime Minister, the leaders discussed Dr. Singh's request in detail and decided to appeal to all the political parties and all the organisations to create a cordial atmosphere,” Mr. Chandy said.
Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Ramesh Chennithala, who was a part of the delegation, said the Congress would call off its agitation.
“Considering the request by the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister, the Congress has decided to stop the agitation to create a conducive atmosphere to amicably settle the issue,” Mr. Chennithala said.
Mr. Chandy said the all-party delegation urged Dr. Singh to initiate a dialogue between Kerala and Tamil Nadu to find a solution at the earliest in view of the “current sense” of anxiety and fear among Keralites.
The delegation presented a memorandum to the Prime Minister. It said no responsible government or party could afford to remain a silent spectator when people were living in constant fear of death and destruction in view of the safety of the dam.
They alleged that there have been more than 26 tremors in the area around the dam in Idukki district since July this year, with the highest recorded magnitude being 3.8.
Tamil Nadu MPs' protest
Meanwhile, a group of Congress MPs from Tamil Nadu, led by TNCC president K. Gnanadesikan and Dindigul MP N.S.V. Chithan, staged a demonstration near the Gandhi statue in the Parliament complex seeking deployment of the personnel of the Central Industrial Security Force in the Mullaperiyar dam area.
They also wanted the Centre to advise Kerala to allow an increase in the water level in the reservoir to 142 feet from the present 136 feet.