Ire over Cauvery cell closure

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The Opposition walked out of the Assembly on Thursday in protest against the government’s decision to wind up the Cauvery cell at Kerala House in New Delhi.

Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan, who gave notice for an adjournment motion on the issue, said technical advice was imperative for the government to deal with such cases and the decision to wind up the cell at a time when Tamil Nadu was getting ready to move the Supreme Court on the Mullaperiyar case and other inter-State water disputes would be counterproductive.

Technical advice was needed in all such cases. The government stance on a new dam at Mullaperiyar, contrary to the unanimous resolution passed by the Assembly, itself had fallen flat. The government had yielded to extraneous pressure to wind up the cell, he said.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that a new mechanism had been put in place for securing technical advice from experts. There were two wings to give technical and legal advice and now only the technical wing had been wound up.

Nodal officers had been appointed at the Law Department at the Secretariat here. In addition, a panel headed by former Additional Chief Secretary V.J.Kurien and comprising experts had been constituted.

Advice of the Advocate General and the Law Secretary would be sought when needed.

At present, the petitions filed by Tamil Nadu on the mega parking facility at Mullaperiyar and another one on sharing water from the Neyyar, petitions filed by the State government on the violation of the Parambikulam-Aliyar Agreement, and those on the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal were pending at the Supreme Court.

‘Unfounded allegation’

All these needed technical advice too. Even when the cell was functioning, Kerala had lost cases. This was only an administrative mechanism and the allegation that it was wound up under external pressure were unfounded, he said.

The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister had agreed to hold bilateral talks on water disputes. Renewal of the PAP too could be discussed with Tamil Nadu. Pact violations were there. But following government intervention, the State had got more water too. This should be seen positively, he said.

Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala termed the decision as suicidal and asked who had recommended to close the cell. Even the Chief Engineer had opposed it. Instead of winding it up, the government should have strengthened it, he said.

Speaker P. Sreeramakrishnan denied notice for the motion on the basis of government explanation and the Opposition walked out in protest.

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