Mullaiperiyar row: TN Farmers stage stir against Kerala's proposal, burn GO copies

Owing to the protest, traffic on the road connecting Tallakulam to PTR was halted till afternoon.
Farmers associated with all farmers association staged protest before the Post office in Tallakulam condemning the recent proposal of  New Mullaiperiyar dam construction
Farmers associated with all farmers association staged protest before the Post office in Tallakulam condemning the recent proposal of New Mullaiperiyar dam construction(Photo | K.K.Sundar, EPS)

MADURAI : Condemning the Kerala government's proposal to construct a new dam at Mullaiperiyar, members of the Tamil Nadu Farmers Association along with several others staged a protest in front of the post office in Tallakulam here on Tuesday. Farmer leader PR Pandian, who led the protest, also burned the government order (GO) issued by the Kerala government, sources said.

The protest comes in the wake of the Kerala government recently sending a proposal to conduct an environmental impact assessment (EIA) study for constructing a new dam at Mullaiperiyar, which invited severe objections from the people of Tamil Nadu, especially farmers.

Addressing the protest, PR Pandian said, "The apex court had ruled that the water level of the Mullaiperiyar dam could be raised to 152 ft, but no action was taken towards increasing the dam's storage capacity. Instead, the Kerala government is planning to demolish the dam and construct a new one in Kerala. This will severely affect the farmers in all the districts from Theni till Ramanathapuram."

Alleging that the Tamil Nadu government has failed to resolve such water-related issues, including the Mekedatu dam row, construction of dams across Palaru, Sirivani and Silandhi rivers, Pandian said, "The state government has failed to act in any of these issues nor has taken any action to aid the farmers. Hence, we decided to voice out our issues."
 
He added that the scheduled meeting to appraise Kerala's proposal was cancelled on Tuesday as mere eyewash, and demanded the union government to take action towards cancelling the proposal. Both Kerala and Tamil Nadu governments should take measures to increase the dam water level to 152 ft, he said.

Meanwhile, other farmer leaders, who took part in the protest, said that a contempt petition should be filed against Kerala government for not increasing the height of the Mullaiperiyar dam, even after 10 years of the apex court's order. They also attempted to rally from the post office in Tallakulam to the income tax office in Madurai, but were stopped in front of the BSNL office by the police.

Owing to the protest, traffic on the road connecting Tallakulam to PTR was halted till afternoon. However, the farmers were dispersed from the venue by Tuesday afternoon, sources added.

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