CHENNAI: Aiming to ensure an amicable solution to the river water issues between the two States, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami and his Kerala counterpart Pinarayi Vijayan have agreed to review the 60-year-old Parambikulam-Aliyar Project (PAP) after forming secretary-level committees to discuss the matter.
The high-level meeting between the CMs of the two States on Wednesday in Thiruvananthapuram, held after 15 years, decided to resolve the issues between the two States in a spirit of brotherly relationship. Mr. Palaniswami who led the Tamil Nadu delegation, discussed the Parambikulam project, Anamalai, Pandiyar-Punnapuzha, Pamba Achankovil diversion and other issues.
“We have decided to form a 10 member (five from each State) secretary-level committee to discuss matters and resolve the issues. The committee will be formed within a week and it will decide the date of the next meeting,” Mr. Palaniswami and Mr. Vijayan told a joint press conference, after the talks.
Both States have also agreed that their Chief Secretaries would meet once in six months and discuss the functioning of the secretary-level committee formed to resolve the river water-sharing issues. The move would draft a new chapter in the history of inter-State cooperation and in ensuring lasting solution to contentious issues between TN and Kerala.
Describing the meeting with his Kerala counterpart as an “excellent start” Mr. Palaniswami indicated that dialogue was the way forward to iron out differences. On the May 2014 Supreme Court verdict on Mullaperiyar, he said efforts will be taken to sort out “problems” in this issue.
The apex court had then held that the 120 year-old dam was structurally safe and allowed Tamil Nadu to raise the water level to 142 feet and eventually to 152 feet after completion of strengthening measures on it.
“The farmers and people of Kerala and Tamil Nadu are living in brotherhood and the time has come for them to work together,” Mr. Palaniswami said and added that it was decided to hold talks on many small issues through the respective committees. “As a first step, we have initiated talks (today). Efforts to solve inter-State water-sharing issues (through dialogue) has been initiated,” he said.
Mr. Vijayan said the earlier agreement on PAP was around 60-years-old and its review and other matters would be discussed by the secretary-level committees.
In 2004, the then Chief Ministers late J. Jayalalithaa and Oommen Chandy had met in Chennai.
The PAP is an inter-State multi-purpose project completed in late 1960s and its functioning is based on an agreement between the two States. The project diverts the water from the basins of three west flowing rivers originating from the Western Ghats along the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border, namely the Periyar, Chalakkudipuzha and Bharathapuzha. These rivers are mainly fed by the southwest monsoon and northeast monsoon rainfall. The water diverted to the east is mainly used for irrigation purpose.
Mr. Palaniswami was accompanied by Municipal Administration Minister S. P. Velumani, Assembly Deputy Speaker Pollachi V. Jayaraman, Chief Secretary K. Shanmugam, secretaries and chief engineers.
Kerala Water Resources Minister K. Krishnankutty, Forest Minister K. Raju, chief secretary Tom Jose, higher officials of Electricity Board and other officials were part of the Kerala team which met the Tamil Nadu delegation....