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Kerala to seek more water from Tamil Nadu

By Our Special Correspondent

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, FEB. 3. As part of its efforts to secure the release of more water from the Parambikulam-Aliyar Project, the Kerala Government has decided to send a two-member Ministerial delegation to Chennai to argue its case.

Disclosing this in the Assembly today, the Chief Minister, A. K. Antony, said he had directed the Finance Minister, K. Sankaranarayanan, and the Water Resources Minister, T. M. Jacob, to go to Chennai to take up the issue with the Tamil Nadu authorities. The Government, he said in response to a submission by the Leader of the Opposition, V. S. Achuthanandan, would not spare any effort to secure more water from Tamil Nadu to help the paddy growers of Palakkad district.

Earlier, the Water Resources Minister, T. M. Jacob, said the State Government was in constant touch with its Tamil Nadu counterpart to get more water from the Parambikulam-Aliyar Project. Under the agreement between the two States on sharing the Parambikulam-Aliyar waters, Kerala should get 7.25 tmc feet water at the Manakkadavu wier. Till January end, the State had received only 3.8 tmc feet water against its requirement of 4.56 tmc feet and eligible quantum of 5.6 tmc feet.

The State had held several rounds of discussions with Tamil Nadu officials on the subject. Finally, at the Ministerial level meeting held on January 6 to revise the Parambikulam-Aliyar water sharing pact, the Tamil Nadu side had agreed to release sufficient water to save the second paddy crop in Palakkad district. The Tamil Nadu Finance Minister and Water Resources Minister were present at the meeting.

When there was no follow-up action on this decision, he sent two fax messages to the Tamil Nadu authorities and Mr. Antony sent a demi official letter to the Tamil Nadu Chief Miniser, J. Jayalalithaa, seeking the early release of water. The Government was now in receipt of a letter dated January 30 from Ms. Jayalalithaa promising that Tamil Nadu would release 200 million cubic feet water from the Parambikulam-Aliyar project between February 1 and 15.

Mr. Jacob said the State had received 165 cusecs of water by 8 a. m. today. The quantity received on February 1 was 73.36 cusecs. The State would have water sufficient to save the second paddy crop only if it received 400 to 500 cusecs water daily. The Tamil Nadu authorities had cited the low water level in the Aliyar dam as the reason for the slow release of water to Kerala.

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