Tuesday, Sep 16, 2003
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By Our Staff Reporter
Talking to presspersons here today, the Minister said that though the date of the meeting was yet to be finalised, both the States had agreed to hold it soon.
Officials had already prepared a technical report in this regard and many areas of agreement had been identified.
However, there were still areas of differences such as water availability and the volume of water shared between the two States.
These differences were to be sorted out at the meeting and the final agreement would be worked out at a meeting of the Chief Ministers of the two States.
Asked whether only the PAP agreement would come up for discussion at the Ministerial meeting, Mr. Jacob said, ``only the PAP agreement has been scheduled. But it is not sure whether other issues such as the Mullaperiyar agreement will come up for discussion.''
Conceding that both the agreements had been detrimental to the interests of Kerala, the Minister said the PAP agreement was to have been reviewed in 1988, but the process had not been completed even now.
``Tamil Nadu has all along been maintaining that it has not violated the agreement, whereas Kerala alleges that it (Tamil Nadu) had. Even the then Subject Committee of the Kerala Assembly headed by me had submitted a report listing the specific violations being committed by Tamil Nadu,'' he said.
Asked whether Kerala would approach the Inter-State River Water Tribunal for the redressal of its grievances, the Minister said, ``once the issue is taken up with the tribunal, we never know when a solution will emerge. Look at the fate of the Kaveri river water dispute.''
The dispute could be settled only through discussions between the two States.
Replying to questions, the Minister said the Water Conservation Bill, recently passed by the State Assembly, was likely to get the Governor's consent soon. Once it was got, the Government would initiate follow-up measures.
He pointed out that it was for the first time that such a consensus was evolved in the State on river water issues and this would help the State's case.
Asked about the agitation of farmers in Chittur for persuading Tamil Nadu to release water from the Parambikulam-Aliyar dam to Moolathara, the Minister said the farmers were facing acute shortage of water for their paddy cultivation because of Tamil Nadu's reluctance to release water from the dam.
The State Government had taken up the issue with top officials of Tamil Nadu.
He said, ``the Leader of the Opposition, V. S. Achuthanandan, has drawn the attention of the Government to the acute drought situation in Chittur. The Government has taken a serious note of the issue and is persuading Tamil Nadu to release more water to Moolathara.''
He reiterated the Government's position that it was opposed to the Vaippar link project.
Now the Centre had agreed to remove the project from the agenda of the next meeting of the Inter-State River Water Council, he said.
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