SC order on river-linking not applicable to Kerala: Chandy

Both the Congress-led UDF government and CPI-M led LDF Opposition in Kerala today came out against the Supreme Court directive to the Centre to implement the river-linking project, holding that such a scheme was deterimental to the state's interests.

Kerala had opposed the scheme when it was mooted by NDA government headed by A B Vaypayee and there was no change from that position, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told reporters after a cabinet meeting here.

However, 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 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", Chandy said.

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

Opposition CPI-M leader 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.

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

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