Dam Safety Bill will lead to disasters, hit Tamil Nadu badly, says Vaiko

The MDMK general secretary, speaking at the Rajya Sabha on Thursday, conveyed his strong opposition to the Bill

Published - December 03, 2021 01:14 pm IST - CHENNAI

MDMK general secretary Vaiko said the Dam Safety Bill tabled in Parliament will not protect dams, but will lead to disasters and that Tamil Nadu will suffer as a consequence, while conveying his strong opposition to the Bill.

Speaking in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday, Mr. Vaiko said when the States of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka were part of the erstwhile Madras Presidency, they were considered as their own brothers and sisters. “But now, these States are refusing to give us water, are throttling our necks. If the Dam Safety Bill is passed, Tamil Nadu will be affected very badly,” Mr. Vaiko said according to a speech copy that was made available to the media.

Recalling history, Mr. Vaiko said dams that are weak will only break. But, the KalAnai built by Chola king Karikalan 2,000 years ago, is still strong and in use. “KalAnai is one of the wonders of the world. It will stand strong even after another 2,000 years,” he said.

He also said Britisher Colonel Pennicuick built the Mullaperiyar Dam that provided relief to farmers in six districts in Tamil Nadu. But, Mr. Vaiko said, he was saddened that the some people in Kerala were falsely claiming that the dam would fall and thousands would die. “This is not true,” he said.

Mr. Vaiko said the Supreme Court had said that the dam was safe and as per Tamil Nadu’s request, the water level can be increased to 142 feet and later to 152 feet. “A number of new tourist resorts have been built on the waterfront of the dam’s water course. They are the ones who are spreading rumours that the dam will fall because they will be affected if the water level in the dam is raised. Some of them have tried to cause some damage to the dam,” Mr. Vaiko charged.

Mr. Vaiko said the other neighbouring State of Karnataka was taking efforts to build a dam at Mekedatu ignoring the Supreme Court’s directions. He accused the then Minister for Environment in 2015 of telling a meeting of all-party leaders in Karnataka that the Central government would not openly give permission to build the dam but Karnataka could build the dam.

Andhra Pradesh, on the other hand, was constructing a dam across the Palar River and was preventing Tamil Nadu from getting its share of water. He also recalled his meeting with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in 2011 expressing his opposition to the Bill. “Dr. Manmohan Singh accepted my arguments on the Bill and dropped the plan to get the Bill passed,” he said.

Mr. Vaiko said now the BJP government was trying to get the Bill passed, which would affect Tamil Nadu very badly.

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