The State government on Sunday issued a notice to Tamil daily Dinamalar, seeking explanation for publishing what it called false news about the Kalaignar Housing Scheme and the Mullaperiyar Dam issue.
“The news has been published with an ulterior motive to create public opinion against the government and to disturb peace,” the government said in a statement.
When contacted, Government Pleader Raja Kalifulla said the legal notice had been sent to the newspaper asking it to issue a retraction, failing which the government would take appropriate criminal proceedings for defamation and also take appropriate civil proceedings for damages. He called for a statement in the next issue of the daily withdrawing the “baseless, mischievous and malicious statement.” He also wanted the newspaper to publish the correct position regarding the Mullaperiyar Dam issue.
According to the government, the news about the housing scheme had false details about the dimensions of the houses to be constructed for the poor. The actual size is 207 square feet, including the kitchen (18 feet and 4.5 inches long and 10 feet and 3 inches wide.)
“But the newspaper in its report has deliberately reduced the area. While the actual size is 5.6 x 3.1 m, the news says it is only 5x3 m. Moreover, the paper had described the area in metres and not in terms of square foot [the accepted unit of measurement for housing] to create a wrong impression,” the government alleged.
The government also accused the newspaper of distorting the announcement that removing the huts would help speed up the construction. The newspaper had said that the people would be left with no shelter if huts were removed. On the Mullaperiyar issue, the government denied the news that lawyers representing the State were absent when advocates from Kerala submitted details before the five-member committee appointed by the Supreme Court. The State government said the news had no basis, as Justice A.R. Lakshmanan is the member representing Tamil Nadu, headed by former Chief Justice of India A.S. Anand. He was present.
“What happened was that Kerala had asked for the copies filed by Tamil Nadu. Later, the committee has ordered that both States should be given details of the petitions filed before it. There is no truth in the news that Justice Anand expressed unhappiness over the absence of representatives from Tamil Nadu,” the government said.