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SC river-linking order does not apply to Kerala

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Oommen Chandy says interlinking ‘harmful' to State's interests

Thiruvananthapuram, Feb. 29:

Both the Congress-led United Democratic Front Government and Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Democratic Front Opposition in Kerala on Wednesday came out against the Supreme Court directive to the Centre to implement the river-linking project, holding that such a scheme was detrimental to the State's interests.

Kerala had opposed the scheme when it was mooted by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance Government headed by Mr A.B. Vaypayee and there was no change from that position, the Chief Minister, Mr Oommen Chandy, told reporters after a Cabinet meeting here.

However, Mr Chandy made it clear that the apex court order was not applicable to Kerala and it was relevant only to those States that had agreed on a river-linking scheme.

“We had opposed the idea of river interlinking from the beginning itself and so the court order will not have any bearing on the State,” Mr Chandy said.

He said Kerala would not agree to the river-linking scheme as it was “harmful” to the State's interest.

The Opposition CPI-M leader, Mr V.S. Achuthanandan, termed as “unfortunate” the Supreme Court directive on river-interlinking case saying it would “hurt” the State's interests.

“If the waters in Pampa and Achankovil rivers are diverted to Vypar as proposed in the project, the ecological system of central Travancore would be destroyed,” he told reporters.

He said if the proposal was carried out it would seriously affect agriculture in Kuttanad and sound the death knell for Vembanad lake.

Studies by national and international experts on river-interlinking in Kerala had clearly said that it would amount to “killing” the State, he contended.

Mr Achuthanandan asked the Kerala Government to consider filing a review petition before the Supreme Court and requested the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, to intervene.

Source : The Hindu Business Line

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