Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Monday said the Centre shared the the Tamil Nadu government's concern when Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi who met him here took up the issue of “brutal attacks” by the Sri Lankan Navy on the State's fishermen.
Mr. Karunanidhi, who is here on a three-day visit to participate in the conference on internal security and to hold seat sharing talks with the Congress, wanted the Centre to advise the island government “in strong terms to refrain from such uncalled-for attacks.”
The Prime Minister, according to a press release issued here, told him that he had already directed External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna to depute a high-level delegation to Colombo to “personally convey our serious concern” to the Sri Lankan government. Accordingly a team, led by Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao, was already there in Sri Lanka on Monday and taking up the issue, he pointed out.
On the Tamil Nadu government's request for release of Rs.1,832 crore from the National Disaster Relief Fund by the Centre to carry out relief and restoration works in the flood-affected districts, Dr. Singh assured Mr. Karunanidhi that a decision would be taken by the Central high-level committee very soon.
When the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister requested Dr. Singh to strengthen the presence of Indian Navy and Coast Guard in the international maritime boundary between India and Sri Lanka to prevent attacks on Tamil Nadu fishermen, the latter promised to have a word with Defence Minister A.K. Antony.
About the request for providing Central approval for the proposed extension of the ongoing Metro Rail project in Chennai up to Tiruvottiyur and Wimco Nagar and release of Centre's share capital assistance, Dr. Singh replied in affirmative and said early action would be taken for releasing the necessary funds.
During the meeting, which lasted for over 30-minutes, Mr. Karunanidhi, quoting press reports, expressed his “deep concern” on the appointment of a technical team by the Union Environment and Forest Ministry to study the ecological impact of the proposed new dam in Mullaperiyar by the Kerala government.
“As the issue is before the Supreme Court, the constitution of this committee is unwarranted,” he told Dr. Singh to which the latter promised to look into the issue.