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TN not for confrontation with Kerala in Mullaperiyar issue, Duraimurugan

- November 8, 2021

Chennai, Nov 8 (BPNS)

Senior leader of the DMK and Tamil Nadu water resources minister, S. Duraimurugan has said that the Tamil Nadu government is not for any confrontation with Kerala on the decision of Kerala government to freeze the order for sanctioning tree felling at Mullaperiyar dam site to strengthen the Baby dam and earthen dam.

The Kerala government had given orders to fell 15 trees at Mullaperiyar on Saturday which was signed by the Kerala Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Bennychen Thomas. The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, M.K.Stalin had thanked the Kerala Government for having given sanctions to cut the trees. This created a major uproar in Kerala forcing the State forest minister, A.K.Saseendran to bring out a statement citing that he was kept in the dark and that the decision to cut the trees was taken by the PCCF without consulting him, state water resources minister, or even the Chief Minister.

Even as the Tamil Nadu water resources minister said that the TN government was not for any confrontation with Kerala on the Mullaperiyar issue, the minister while speaking to IANS asked as to how it was possible for an official to take such an important decision without the consent and knowledge of the concerned ministers and the Chief Minister.

He said, “It is hard to believe that the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) and Chief wildlife warden of Kerala could pass such an order permitting Tamil Nadu to fell 15 trees without the knowledge and consent of the concerned Kerala ministers”.

He asked as to how it was possible and wondered the sanctity of such an administration. The minister asked,” What kind of an administration is that? The order is not only the sanction to cut fifteen trees but has specifically marked the trees to be felled and had even named them. This cannot happen without the consent and knowledge of the concerned ministers.”

The Tamil Nadu water resources minister said that the sudden volte-face of the Kerala ministers would be due to the pressure exerted by the opposition parties in Kerala.

Opposition parties in Kerala are already up in arms against the LDF government with the state Congress president K.; Sudhakaran demanding the resignation of the state forest minister for having been in the dark while such an important decision involving the people of Kerala was taken. He also demanded a judicial inquiry into the whole issue. The BJP state president, K. Surendran also lashed out against the state forest minister and demanded the minister to tender his resignation at the earliest.

In another jolt to the ruling LDF, the second-largest coalition partner in the front, the CPI has also come out against the order to fell trees. Member of Legislative assembly from Peerumedu assembly constituency and CPI leader, Vazhoor Soman while speaking to media persons said,” The state  government has to be more cautious in bringing out such an order and action be taken against those behind such a letter.”

It may be recalled that the Tamil Nadu Water resources minister, S. Duraimurugan had led a team of five ministers and a few legislators to the Mullaperiyar site and requested Kerala side to provide sanctions to fell trees so that the Baby dam and earthen dams are strengthened. Immediately on Saturday, the Kerala forest department issued orders to fell trees and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister thanked the Kerala government.

After this became news, the opposition has come out against the state government forcing it to freeze the decision.