The Union government has given approval for the Rs. 375.9-crore flood protection project on Cauvery and Coleroon, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi said on Tuesday.

Participating in a function through video-conferencing at the Secretariat to mark the platinum jubilee celebration of the Stanley reservoir or Mettur dam, Mr. Karunanidhi said the State government agreed to set apart about Rs. 93.8 crore as its share of the project.

Mr. Karunanidhi also laid the foundation stone for a 75-feet-tall pillar to be built to commemorate the celebration.

He also noted that his government was implementing a barrage project in Mayanur of the Karur district at a cost of Rs. 189 crore. Since the government assumed charge in May 2006, a sum of Rs. 35.8 crore was sanctioned to carry out silt removal from the river basin.

The State government had sent the Rs. 5,100-crore Cauvery modernisation project to the Centre for approval.

Referring to the 1924 agreement between the Madras and Mysore governments on the sharing of the Cauvery water in the context of the history of the Mettur dam, Mr. Karunanidhi said it was that year in which he was born. He had been striving hard to defend the State’s interests in the dispute.

The Chief Minister presented the first copy of a publication on the dam to Principal Secretary (Public Works) S. Ramasundaram. Electricity Minister Arcot N. Veeraswami and A. Mohanakrishnan, Advisor (Water Resources) of the State government, were present.

At another function held concurrently at the Mettur dam, Agriculture Minister Veerapandi S. Arumugam urged the neighbouring States of Karnataka and Kerala to adopt a ‘humane’ approach in the inter-state river water disputes with Tamil Nadu. “Farmers in Delta districts are traumatised season after season. They are uncertain whether they will receive their share of water or not before undertaking farming activities,” he said.

He argued that Tamil Nadu had been receiving either a surplus from Karnataka due to “extraordinary” situations or from the dam’s catchment areas.

Saying that politics had no role to play in such ‘sensitive’ issues, the Minister pointed out that Tamil Nadu had been a “home of peaceful co-existence” to people from neighbouring States for long. The Chief Minister was very firm in his commitment to the lofty principles of national integration and tried to find amicable solutions to vexatious issues through cordial negotiations. “Our neighbours must realise and reciprocate. But unfortunately they do not,” he said.

Mr. Arumugam asked Kerala to change its present stance on the Mullaperiyar dam issue. Pointing to the present storage of 56.289 thousand million cubic feet in Mettur, he called upon the farmers to utilise water judiciously.

Forest Minister N. Selvaraj, Deputy Speaker V.P. Duraisamy, Salem Collector J. Chandrakumar, Chief Engineer (Tiruchi Region) of the Water Resources Department in the PWD M. Moorthy and Superintending Engineer (Upper Cauvery Basin) R. Subramanian spoke.