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Jayalalithaa for mutually acceptable solution

By Our Special Correspondent

CHENNAI, NOV. 6. The Kerala Chief Minister, Oommen Chandy, today said his Government was ready to understand the problems of Tamil Nadu, particularly water scarcity, even as his Tamil Nadu counterpart, Ms. Jayalalithaa, expressed the hope that mutually acceptable solutions would be found to water issues between the two States.

Mr. Chandy, who held a 45 minute-meeting with Ms. Jayalalithaa, at the Secretariat here, told reporters that the demand for diverting west-flowing rivers did not figure in the discussions. Though Kerala was "facing a serious problem in the Palghat and Chittoor areas", efforts would be made to reach an agreement on the issue, he said.

When Mr. Chandy was asked about the demand for interlinking peninsular rivers, the Minister for Water Resources, Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, intervened to say that Kearla was against it. Claiming that Kerala had no surplus water to spare, he said, "we are facing dry season for six months."

Not to meet Maudany

Mr. Chandy laughed away a question whether any issue relating to the People's Democratic Party leader, Maudany, was raised at the meeting. He made it clear that he had no plans to meet him in jail.

An official release here said that during the discussions with Mr. Chandy, Ms. Jayalalithaa pointed out that the process of narrowing down the pending issues and completing a detailed review of the Parambikulam Aliyar Project Agreement (PAPA) started when the first ministerial-level meeting was held between the two States on June 10, 2002.

She stressed that it was best "to stipulate that the next review of the PAPA would be 30 years after the date of completion of this review."

She also emphasised that the State was keen to expeditiously proceed with the Aanamalaiyaar Project in a specific time frame and to utilise the waters of the Niraar river thoughout the year as was spelt out in the agreement.

Idamalayaar project

The completion of the Idamalayaar project should be taken as "completion of the Idamalayaar Main Canal or a period of four years whichever is earlier from the date of fulfilment of the review."

The "satisfactory resolution" on maintenance of the full reservoir level at Sholayaar in Kearla on September 1 and February 1 every year could be taken forward to the stipulation in the accord on the flow of water for power generation.

Tamil Nadu's proposal

She wanted Kerala to consider a proposal, being developed by the National Water Development Agency, for utilising the waters of the west-flowing rivers in a spirit of good neighbourly relations. The proposed Pandiyar-Punnampuzha project should be given the utmost consideration, she said, adding minor issues "need not stand in the way of reaching decisions on the main review of the agreement."

The Tamil Nadu team included the Public Works Minister, O.Paneerselvam; the Finance Minister, C.Ponnaiyan; the Chief Secretary, Lakshmi Pranesh, and the Development Commissioner and Principal Secretary, N.Narayanan.

The Kerala side was represented by Mr. Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan; Industry Minister, Kunhalikutty, and the Chief Secretary, Babu Jacob.

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