Over 5,000 activists belonging to various political parties and organisations,including MDMK chief Vaiko,were arrested on Friday,when they tried to stage picketing and block vehicular traffic towards Kerala at six places on Tamil Nadu-Kerala border in the district,on the Mullaperiyar Dam issue.
The workers were protesting Kerala government’s attitude on Inter-state water disputes,particularly Mullaiperiyar dam and construction of a new dam across Pambar river,which they claimed would deprive Tamil Nadu its due share of water for irrigation in more than 2.17 lakh acres.
The picketing was also aimed at condemning the ‘biased approach of the UPA government towards Tamil Nadu with regard to river water disputes,’ Vaiko said addressing workers at K G Chavadi on Palakkad Road,before his arrest
Reiterating that the agitation was not against DMKgovernment in Tamil Nadu,but against the Centre,he said this was also to convey the sentiments of Tamil Nadu people,to Kerala Government,the Supreme Court and the Centre,so that they could take a decision in everyone’s interests.
The workers belonging to MDMK,Periyar Dravida Kazhakam,including its president Kolathur Mani and general secretary,K Ramakrishnan at Anaikatti,and Hindu Makkal Katchi,were taken into custody,when they squatted on the middle of the roads at Velanthavalam,Gopalapuram,Nadupuni and Vazhanthayamaran,police said.
Similar picketings are being held in six other places such as Kumili,Cumbum Mettur,Bodimettu,Cumbum,Kazhiyakkavizhai and Sengottah in the State.
Reacting to the protest,Kerala Water Resources Minister N K Premachandran said in Thiruvanathapuram,state capital,that this was part of political campaign by parties like MDMK.
Kerala would not react emotionally to attempts to create provocation,he said.
The over-century old Mullaperiyar dam is located in Idduki district of Kerala,but controlled by Tamil Nadu.
Kerala has been opposing Tamil Nadu’s plea for increasing the water level on the ground that the present reservoir was not safe and any potential disaster would lead to inundation of downstream districts. Tamil Nadu is against construction of a new dam.