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Updated: December 18, 2011 19:26 IST

Union Ministers spar over Mullaperiyar Dam

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Union Minister Vayalar Ravi at Parliament house in New Delhi. File Photo: V.V. Krishnan
The Hindu
Union Minister Vayalar Ravi at Parliament house in New Delhi. File Photo: V.V. Krishnan

Union Minister Vayalar Ravi on Sunday slammed his colleague and Home Minister P. Chidambaram for his remarks on the Mullaperiyar Dam, calling them as “unfortunate” and said they only showed his “political immaturity.”

Mr. Ravi, Overseas Indian Affairs Minister and senior Congress leader from Kerala, said he was “disappointed” at Mr. Chidambaram for going against the views of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has called for peace between the two States on the issue.

“It is very unfortunate that Chidambaram made a statement. As a Home Minister he is not expected to make such statements. It only shows his political immaturity even though he was speaking at a Congress function,” Mr. Ravi told reporters here.

He was responding to a question on Mr. Chidambaram’s statement on Saturday that Kerala’s apprehension over safety of Mullaperiyar dam was “unnecessary” and linked it to “bypoll fear.”

However, Mr. Chidambaram withdrew his remarks relating to bypoll this morning.

“I disagree with his (Chidambaram’s) statement. G.K. Vasan (Shipping Minister) made a matured statement,” Mr. Ravi said.

Mr. Chidambaram and Mr. Vasan were addressing a Congress rally in Chennai on Saturday.

Mr. Ravi said people expect Mr. Chidambaram to go along with the view of the Prime Minister on the issue.

“Unfortunately, Chidambaram’s statement has contradicted the views of the Prime Minister on the issue. I, as a member of the Cabinet, feel very much disappointed over his remarks,” the Minister said.

Mr. Ravi said being a senior leader and the Home Minister, Mr. Chidambaram should persuade Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa to come to the negotiating table to settle the dam issue with Kerala.

Asked about Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy planning to complain to the party high command against Mr. Chidambaram, Mr. Ravi said: “Rightly. We are all Congress people and any problem, we will complain to the High Command.”

To a question whether he supports Mr. Chandy on this issue, the Minister said: “There is no question of supporting or not supporting. He is the Chief Minister and he takes decision on his own.”

About reported remarks by the Home Minister about Supreme Court ruling, Mr. Ravi gave a guarded response, saying if Mr. Chidambaram had made such comments then it was “unwarranted.”

Tamil Nadu and Kerala have been loggerheads on the dam issue with both states sticking to their well-known stands.

While Tamil Nadu wants water level in the dam to be raised to 42 ft from the current 136 ft, Kerala wants a new dam to be built.

Mr. Ravi also appealed to people on both states to be calm till the longstanding issue is resolved.

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