Pinarayi Vijayan. Photo: ANI
Thiruvananthapuram: The vexed issue of the Mullaperiyar dam, which has been continuing for a while now, has left the people of Idukki in deep anger as was witnessed when local legislator and Water Resources Minister Roshy Augustine met them and was seen pleading saying that he was helpless. The opposition has slammed Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan over his silence on the sufferings of the residents.
Augustine met the residents on Monday night. Opposition Lok Sabha member N.K. Premachandran slammed Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan for failing to alleviate the sufferings of the people and alleged that Vijayan had a secret pact with Tamil Nadu.
The dam has been a bone of contention between Kerala - where the dam is located - and Tamil Nadu, which operates the dam as per the old lease agreement. For a few days now, the shutters of the dam have been opened at night, marooning hundreds of Idukki residents living downstream with water gushing into their homes.
Angry residents around 9.30 p.m. surrounded Augustine and vented their anger and a peeved Minister was seen pleading.
"All of you know that the dam is operated by Tamil Nadu. We can bring this to the notice of the Supreme Court and it will be done on Tuesday. I am helpless and I can do nothing," said Augustine.
Premachandran, a former State Water Resources Minister, turned his ire at Vijayan and asked 'why was Vijayan silent'.
"The fact of the matter is there is a secret deal with Tamil Nadu and that's the principal cause of this fiasco and has led to untold miseries for the people living downstream. The pleading of a Minister tells the tale and the best thing he can do is to resign, if he is unable to bring solace to the people. Kerala has never witnessed such a situation where a Minister says he is helpless," slammed Premachandran.
On Monday night, eight shutters of the dam were opened and on Tuesday morning all but one of the shutters has now been closed.
Angry residents said if a Minister said that he was helpless, then he should quit.
"We have lost all our patience as we have no clue of what's happening. We do not know why our government is silent and has not come to our help," said angry residents.
Idukki Lok Sabha Congress member Dean Kuriakose said Vijayan has joined hands with Tamil Nadu and the least that he should do is to immediately go to Delhi and raise issues with those who matter.
Angry Kerala opposition these days continues to attack Vijayan, accusing him of adopting double standards. On December 8, 2011 when Oommen Chandy was the chief minister, Vijayan along with then Leader of Opposition V.S. Achuthanandan was part of a 208 km long human chain, which saw lakhs taking part from near the Mullaperiyar dam site to the Arabian sea at Kochi and took a pledge demanding a new dam at Mullaperiyar. But now Vijayan says the dam is safe and this is what the entire opposition is now highlighting. Vijayan has so far not responded on the issue. IANS