Chennai: The Assembly on Monday witnessed noisy scenes over the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh’s attempt to build a check dam across the Palar river. While the leader of the Opposition M.K. Stalin accused the government of not doing enough on the Palar issue, PWD minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami intervened and sought to know from him if the then DMK government had taken any steps to protect the state’s rights, when it was in power during 2006 to 2011.
Mr Stalin who raised the issue demanded the Assembly House discuss the Andhra Pradesh government’s decision to increase the height of the check dam across the river. But the Speaker P. Dhanapal reminded that the matter was sub judice. However, Mr Stalin insisted that the state government convene an-all party meeting to discuss the issue. “Our Chief Minister could meet her Andhra Pradesh counterpart and convince him to give up the project. Atleast, a committee could be constituted to represent the state to amicably resolve the issue,” he said.
Mr Stalin claimed that the river runs for 93 km in Karnataka from where it origins and traverses 222 km in Tamil Nadu after running for 33 km in Andhra. Apart from serving as major source for drinking water for Chennai and Tiruvallur, the river irrigates 4.5 lakh agricultural lands in TN. When finance minister and Leader of the House O. Panneerselvam attempted to intervene, the DMK members protested saying their leader be allowed to complete his speech.
“Even we have our members,” Mr Panneerselvam said pointing to the Treasury Benches when the DMK legislators continued to shout. “The member should speak to the point when he raises the issue during zero hour but he has already taken 25 minutes,” Mr Panneerselvam pointed out.
As the DMK members demanded the Speaker P. Dhanapal to permit Mr Stalin to speak, the Speaker said, “you can not instruct me on how to conduct the Assembly. I am going by the rules and don’t teach (them to) me.”
Mr Palaniswami pointed out that it was the AIADMK that had initiated a case. The Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa had already written to the Andhra Pradesh CM on the issue and even the state chief secretary had taken up the matter with his counterpart. “You (DMK) have been in power. What steps have your government taken on this issue,” he asked putting an end to the discussion.