Teams, comprising the affected, from both States to discuss issue at Kumily

The Mullaperiyar Samara Samithi will hold a people-to-people meeting with Tamil Nadu farmers and their representatives at Pampanar near Kumily at 11 a.m. on Tuesday. Aimed at openly discussing the concerns of those living in the downstream of the century-old Mullaperiyar dam and the farmers of Tamil Nadu who are worried over the availability of water to irrigate their farms, the leaders of the samithi attribute much importance to the meeting.

“This is for the first time that a meeting of those who are really affected by the problem, from both sides, is being held,” samithi chairman C.P. Roy said on Monday. A 15-member team will represent Tamil Nadu and a delegation of nearly 20 people will present Kerala's concerns. Mr. Roy said that the meeting is an effort to dispel misunderstandings and bind together the people by conveying to them the concerns of both sides. It would also prevent vested interests from taking advantage of the issue, he added.

Safety first

The meeting comes at a time when the water level is increasing in the dam after heavy rain lashed on the forests in the upstream areas for the past three days. “The samithi is in no way against the supply of water but is concerned about the safety of those living downstream. A large number of Tamil people are also living downstream,” he said.

The Tamil Nadu team will be led by farmers' leader K.M. Abbas and will consist of members of merchants' community and political representatives like panchayat presidents of Thevaram, T. Ranganathapuram and Kombai. The samithi's team will include Mr. Roy, Sabu Vengavelil, Fr Robin Pendanam and Stephan Issac.

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