CHENNAI: The ruling AIADMK in Tamil Nadu today said it will not support any Central initiative that would affect the state's rights, pointing to its opposition to the proposed Dam Safety Bill and the Higher Education Commission.
Senior AIADMK leader and Tamil Nadu fisheries minister D Jayakumar said it was the "responsibility" of the government to uphold the state's rights.
His remarks come at a time when opposition parties have been accusing the ruling party of toeing the line of the BJP on various issues.
The K Palaniswami government has expressed its reservations over the Dam Safety Bill and opposed the Centre's draft Bill on setting up a Higher Education Commission to replace the University Grants Commission (UGC).
"Whether the Dam Safety Bill or the UGC (draft) bill, the government has already clarified (its position). We will not compromise on state's rights," Jayakumar said.
The Minister was speaking to reporters at the AIADMK headquarters here after party leaders O Panneerselvam and Palaniswami helmed meetings of the party MPs and its District Secretaries separately.
Panneerselvam is the AIADMK Coordinator while Palanisami is the Joint Coordinator.
Jayakumar said "there won't be any support from AIADMK to any action that will snatch away state's rights."
When asked about discussions at the MPs' meeting, Jayakumar said during Parliament sessions, the AIADMK members always "insist on protecting Tamil Nadu's rights".
"That was insisted today (with them)," he said without elaborating further.
Palaniswami had in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month had wanted the Dam Safety bill to be kept in abeyance and recalled the state's earlier objections to it.
The state assembly had also adopted a "unanimous" resolution, urging the Centre to "keep in abeyance" all efforts towards enacting the 'Dam Safety Bill 2018' and called for evolving a consensus on the matter.
The bill provides for establishment of National Dam Safety Authority as a regulatory body which shall discharge functions to implement the policy, guidelines and standards for dam safety in the country.
In certain cases, such as dams of one state falling under the territory of another, the authority shall also perform the role of State Dam Safety Organisation, thereby eliminating potential causes for inter-state conflicts.
The Mullaperiyar Dam, for instance, is located in Kerala but operated by Tamil Nadu.
As regards the proposed Higher Education Commission, the state government on Saturday expressed its opposition to the Centre's draft bill and wanted the existing arrangement with the UGC at the helm to continue.
Palaniswami had written to Modi on the issue saying, the existing institutional arrangement of UGC with both regulatory and financial powers was functioning well and there was no need to disband it.