NEW DELHI

Apex court verdict will not apply to Kerala, says Chandy

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said that the Supreme Court judgement on interlinking of rivers will not apply to Kerala or its rivers.

Replying to questions from the media at his weekly Cabinet briefing here on Wednesday, the Chief Minister said the verdict was applicable only to concurring States.

“Kerala has opposed interlinking of rivers. In view of that, the judgement will not apply to us,” he said.

Mr. Chandy said that Kerala had never supported the interlinking of Pamba, Achencoil, and Vaipar rivers. There was no question of its agreeing to such a proposal. Kerala had made its stand known at the time of the Vajpayee government itself, he said.

Asked about the contention of Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan that the judgement would have implications for the State and that the State had not properly argued the case, the Chief Minister said that the Opposition leader should read the judgement.

Leader of the Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan told a press conference here that if the waters of the Pampa-Achencoil rivers were to be diverted to the Vaipar in Tamil Nadu on the basis of the Supreme Court order directing States to cooperate with the river-linking project would mean end of Kerala as it exists today.

Terming the Supreme Court decision unfortunate, Mr. Achuthanandan said the apex court's order was against the State's interests. If the river-linking project was implemented, the Vembanad lake and Kuttanad, Kerala's rice granary, would cease to exist. The very ecosystem of Central Travancore would be endangered. Studies conducted by national and international scientists' groups had also indicated that river-linking was disastrous, he said. r. Achuthanandan said that there was no factual basis for Law Minister K.M. Mani's claim that the Supreme Court order was not binding on Kerala and it was meant only to evade public ire. The apex court's directive was that States should cooperate with the river-linking project.

Congress leader V.M. Sudheeran said in Alappuzha that the Supreme Court directive was against ‘the principles of federalism'.

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