TN-Kerala top officials to discuss sharing of river water tomorrow

Chennai: Top officials from Tamilnadu and Kerala will meet in Chennai tomorrow to discuss the sharing of river water between the two states.

The meeting is scheduled to take place after the Chief Ministers of both States agreed to form a ten member committee to hold talks about the issue when they met on 25 September in Thiruvananthapuram.

During the meeting Tamilnadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had agreed to review the Parambikulam-Aliyar Project (PAP) agreement.

Sources said that both the states have agreed that their Chief Secretaries would meet once in six months and discuss the functioning of the Secretary-level committee formed to resolve the river water-sharing issues.

Speaking to mediapersons after the meeting, Palaniswami had said that this was an excellent start and indicated that dialogue was the way forward to iron out differences.

Sources said the meeting between the CMs was held based on the request made by the farmers from both the sides.

”Excess rainwater could not be stored for irrigation purposes due to the unsolved disputes of sharing river water between the States,” sources added.

This was the first time in 15 years that Chief Ministers from both the States held direct talks regarding water sharing. Sources said so far only officials level meetings were held.

”In 2004, Kerala’s then Chief Minister Oommen Chandy met his Tamilnadu counterpart Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and held a discussion on this topic in Chennai. After that it was only the officials who discussed the issue,” sources added. The issue was not taken up even when Vijayan met Palaniswami at the Secretariat here in 2017.

During the meeting Palaniswami was accompanied by Ministers P Thangamani, S P Velumani, K C Karuppannan, Deputy Speaker V Jayaraman and Chief Secretary K Shanmugam.

NT Bureau