PM assures steps for normalcy in TN-Kerala ties

Chennai: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today assured DMK that the Centre would take all steps to maintain friendly ties between Tamil Nadu and Kerala and ensure return of normalcy in both states in the wake of the Mullaperiyar Dam row, party chief M Karunanidhi said.

Leading a 12-member delegation, Karunanidhi along with his daughter and party MP Kanimozhi met Singh at the Raj Bhavan here and submitted a memorandum seeking his intervention to end attacks on Tamils in Kerala after the row erupted afresh following Kerala`s insistence on building a new dam in place of the 116-year-old reservoir.

"After listening to the delegation, the Prime Minister said the Centre would take all steps to ensure the long standing relationship between the two states is not strained and peace and normal life returns", Karunanidhi said in a statement.

According to Karunanidhi, Singh also said the Centre might examine the possibility of protecting the dam by itself.

The DMK had early this month requested the chairman of the Supreme Court appointed Empowered Committee on the dam issue to deploy Central Industrial Security Forces at the reservoir site, instead of Kerala police.

Alleging that the continued campaign by Kerala had resulted in many `undesirable incidents` creating animosity between people of the two states, the memorandum said it had forced Tamils living in Kerala to leave that state.

It also referred to the "sentimental outburst" of affected people of the state`s southern districts, whose irrigation needs are met by Mullaperiyar Dam, located in Idukki district of Kerala, but managed by Tamil Nadu on a 999 year lease.

"This situation, unless contained and changed immediately, will lead to permanent strain and cleavage between the people of the two states," the memorandum by DMK, a key UPA ally said.

It also said the dam issue was before the Supreme Court and any effort by the Kerala government to reduce the water level and attempt to construct a new dam "has to be viewed as an attempt to subvert the judicial process and deny justice to the people of Tamil Nadu.