VS calls for a special House session; Pannian seeks review

Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan has demanded a special session of the Assembly to discuss the ramifications of the Supreme Court verdict on the Mullaperiyar case.

Mr. Achuthanandan told a news conference here on Wednesday that the government had clearly failed to convince the Supreme Court about the seriousness of the issue. An urgent session of the Assembly should be called to discuss the way forward, he said. The Leader of the Opposition said the life and property of 35 lakh people living in Idukki, Pathanamthitta, Kottayam, Ernakulam and Alappuzha districts were under threat. The Supreme Court had arrived at a decision on the issue merely on technical grounds, he added.

Mr. Achuthanandan said the Kerala Assembly had passed the Kerala 2006 law for forming a Dam Safety Authority taking into account the seriousness of the situation, he pointed out.

CPI version

Communist Party of India (CPI) State unit secretary Pannian Ravindran has urged the government to seek a review of the Supreme Court verdict. In a press note issued here on Wednesday, Mr. Ravindran said the verdict had failed to take the legitimate concerns of the people of Kerala into account. The main issue was the safety of the public, and not sharing waters with Tamil Nadu.

The people, he said, had reason to suspect that the government machinery had failed to rise to the occasion in handling the case.

Mr. Ravindran urged the government to convene an all-party meeting to discuss the legal options and the follow-up action to be taken.

RSP’s take

Revolutionary Socialist Party (RSP) State secretary A.A. Azeez also called for an all-party meeting to discuss the fallout of the verdict. Terming the verdict as unfortunate, he said it had triggered concern and alarm among the public.

Describing the verdict as shocking, CPI legislature party leader C. Divakaran said it had left the people in Kerala disappointed. He alleged that the government was guilty of criminal negligence in handling the case. Mr. Divakaran appealed to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy to take steps to discuss the follow-up action with the Opposition parties.

BJP demand

BJP State president V. Muraleedharan said on Wednesday that the government had lost the Mullaperiyar case because it failed to convince the Supreme Court of the dangers posed by the dam through scientific studies.

Addressing a press conference here, he said Kerala had failed to present its case convincingly before the empowered committee of the court headed by Justice A.S. Anand. When the report of the committee went against Kerala, the government failed to counter that before the court.

Mr. Muraleedharan said it was not Kerala’s case that Tamil Nadu should be denied water. However, the government should be able to wrest compensation for water given to Tamil Nadu, which was gaining Rs.5,0000 crore a year from water supplied from Kerala. It generated 280 MW of power, including 180 MW from Mullaperiyar water. He said the government should be shouldering the responsibility to protect Kerala’s interests and ensure the safety of the people.

The BJP leader said a meeting of the office-bearers of the party would be convened on May 13 to discuss the issue and present Kerala’s case strongly before the Centre.

Mr. Muraleedharan said politicians who organised protests over Mullaperiyar three years ago exaggerated the dangers from the dam. At the same time some politicians and officials were being influenced by Tamil Nadu, he alleged.

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