River-linking can solve inter-state disputes: APJ

River-linking can solve inter-state disputes: APJ

In a veiled reference to the ongoing Mullaperiyar dam row, former president Dr A P J Abdul Kalam on Sunday said Tamil Nadu could take the lead in linking all major rivers in the state as a way out of vexatious inter-state water disputes it has been facing for long.

“If Tamil Nadu, under a long-term perspective plan linked all the major rivers flowing within the State including Cauvery and Tamiraparani, and create a state water grid, its dependency on neighbouring states for water will come down drastically,” Kalam said at a huge open gathering here.

Inaugurating the 35th edition of the ‘Madras Book Fair’, billed as the third largest book fair in the country, Kalam said such an intra-state river linking project could be implemented with World Bank and Central government’s assistance in a ‘PPP (Private-Public-Partnership) mode.

“This would help you to save up to 100 TMCFT of water annually, which can completely transform Tamil Nadu’s agriculture scenario and its economy as a whole,” Kalam said urging the authorities to implement such a visionary project. As an indication of his continuing popularity with the masses, particularly among the youth, Kalam drew an unusually large crowd at the venue. He administered a pledge to the large audience that each one will help build a small library of 20 books to start with in their respective household.

In a brief interaction with mediapersons after the function, Kalam said the chief ministers of both Kerala and Tamil Nadu should meet and discuss the Mullaperiyar issue. “If they (Oommen Chandy and Jayalalitha) meet and discuss, everything is possible,” Kalam said when asked if he was hopeful that a solution could be found through talks.

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