Union minister’s remark on Mullaperiyar irks Kerala
KOTTAYAM UNION Science and Technology Minister Ashwani Kumar’s statement that the 115-year-old Mullaperiyar dam is safe has not gone down well in Kerala with ruling front ally Kerala Congress (Mani) on Monday announcing its support to a strike call by an anti-dam panel.
Government chief whip and senior KC (Mani) party member PC George told that the decision to extend moral support to the strike call by the Mullaperiyar Action Committee on Wednesday has been taken by his party’s political affairs committee.
“It is not only us, almost all parties have extended their support to the call given by the Action Committee. This committee has been on a sit-in protest near the dam site for the past 1,800 days demanding a new dam,” said George.
State Water Resources Minister PJ Joseph termed as “sad” Union Minister Ashwani Kumar’s remark on Sunday that the Mullaperiyar dam is safe and there was no need to worry.
“It is sad that such a statement has come from a federal minister. We feel that our own ministers like Defence Minister AK Antony should speak up for our cause,” said Joseph.
The Kerala Congress (Thomas), ally of the opposition Left on Monday asked state Finance Minister KM Mani, the supreme leader of the KC (Mani), to leave the Congress-led ruling alliance if it was unable to push for a new dam.
The months of November and December saw huge protests for a new dam with all political parties in the state joining in and numerous legislators holding indefinite relay fasts.