TAMIL NADU

Another round of TN-Kerala talks on PAP next month

Tamil Nadu and Kerala Ministers who held talks on the Parambikulam-Aliyar project in Chennai on Monday. From left are K. Sankaranarayanan, Kerala Finance Minister, C. Ponnaiyan, Tamil Nadu Finance Minister, T. M. Jacob, Kerala Irrigation Minister, and O. Paneerselvam, Tamil Nadu PWD Minister. — Photo: S. Thanthoni

Tamil Nadu and Kerala Ministers who held talks on the Parambikulam-Aliyar project in Chennai on Monday. From left are K. Sankaranarayanan, Kerala Finance Minister, C. Ponnaiyan, Tamil Nadu Finance Minister, T. M. Jacob, Kerala Irrigation Minister, and O. Paneerselvam, Tamil Nadu PWD Minister. — Photo: S. Thanthoni  

CHENNAI NOV. 10. Tamil Nadu and Kerala will hold another round of talks on December 19 in Thiruvananthapuram for a final review of the inter-State agreement on the Parambikulam-Aliyar Project.

``We have arrived at a consensus on some issues. However, we need to discuss more'', the Kerala Irrigation Minister, T.M. Jacob, told mediapersons at the end of three-hour long negotiations here today.

He, however, refused to divulge details of the areas in which consensus had been reached. ``We will meet again in December and finalise the review''.

The Finance Ministers of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, K. Sankaranarayanan, and C. Ponnaiyan, said the discussion was ``very cordial''. Mr Jacob's counterpart, O. Paneerselvam, who holds the portfolio of Public Works, said the talks were ``extremely satisfactory''.

The two sides met last in June 2002 decided to constitute a technical committee. Its report formed the basis for today's discussion.

The PAP agreement provides for sharing of some of the west-flowing rivers including the Anamalaiyar, the Nirar, the Sholayar, the Parambikulam, the Palar and the Aliyar. Though the rivers flow in Kerala, Tamil Nadu is a riparian as a major portion of the catchment of the rivers lies in this State.

Formally signed by the two States in May 1970, the pact actually took effect from November 1958 as it was only then that an understanding was reached. It has to be reviewed after every 30 years. The present review process has been on since 1988.

Sources say that as per the agreement, Tamil Nadu should make available annually for Kerala a total of 19.55 tmcft (thousand million cubic feet) annually, while its present entitlement comes to 28 tmcft.

The basic issue of the review process is the demand for increased share by both the parties.

The sources say Kerala wants its neighbour to supply more water, especially at the Manacadavu weir. It demands that that the present quantum made available at Manacadavu go up from 7.25 to 12 tmcft. Tamil Nadu's case is that it should be allowed to draw 2.5 tmcft from the Anamalaiyar as this item is part of the agreement. Kerala's stand is that the Anamalaiyar issue should be considered only after the completion of the Idamalayar reservoir project in its territory.

Similarly, Kerala is for making permanent the present arrangement of Tamil Nadu supplying to it winter flows (October-January) of the Nirar, whereas Tamil Nadu wants to utilise the river entirely without any restriction as supply of the winter flows is only an interim arrangement and that Kerala has completed the Idamalayar and Idukki projects.

Kerala is asking for Parambikulam water too but Tamil Nadu says it has not realised even the originally envisaged quantum of 16 tmcft. As per the agreement, Kerala is entitled to Parambikulam flows once Tamil Nadu receives 16 tmcft, say the sources.

After today's meeting, senior officials of Kerala and Tamil Nadu confirmed that all issues were discussed. But they said that only at the next month meeting, a final picture might emerge, and thereafter the subject would be presented before the Chief Ministers for signing a fresh agreement.

Recommended for you