Joining issue with Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on the Mullaperiar dam issue, Dravida Munettra Kazhagam (DMK) on Friday rejected her charge that it did not act on the inter-state water problem, insisting that the matter had first cropped up during the AIADMK government in 1979.
DMK Deputy General Secretary Durai Murugan denied that his party chief M Karunanidhi had shown no interest on the issue as alleged by Jayalalithaa at a function at Madurai on Friday.
In 1979, without discussing the matter in the state cabinet or Assembly or with the opposition parties or with farmer representatives, Tamil Nadu accepted to lower the storage level from 152 ft to 136 ft, he said in a statement. "Was it Kalaignar (Karunanidhi)? Wasn't it the AIADMK government (headed by MG Ramachandran)" he said.
Disputing Jayalalalithaa's allegation that Karunanidhi did not have concern or interest to raise the water storage level, Durai Murugan, a former PWD Minister, said the DMK president, as Chief Minister, had written 10 times to his Kerala countepart, besides holding talks five times.
However, Jayalalithaa had written thrice but never met the Kerala Chief Minister to discuss the matter, he said.
He said it was the DMK government in 1998 which had petitioned the Supreme Court that a set of writ petitions filed in the High Courts of Madras and Kerala for and against increasing storage level be transferred to the apex court.
When the apex court decided in favour of Tamil Nadu in 2002 on increasing the storage level, Karunanidhi was the Chief Minister, Durai Murugan said, seeking to claim credit for it.
Jayalalithaa had castigated Karunanidhi in a thanksgiving function at Madurai yesterday, organised by several farmers' outfits for taking steps to get the dam level increased to 142 feet. She accused him of showing no concern or interest in this issue, and failing to use his influence with the UPA government in favour of Tamil Nadu.