Chennai/Thiruvananthapuram: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Sunday asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to order deployment of CISF at Mullaperiyar dam site "to avoid any man-made catastrophic consequences" in view of violent activities reported there.

"In view of the violent activities reported at the dam site, it is imperative that Central forces be deployed at the dam immediately. I, therefore, request you to order deployment of Central Industrial Security Force at the site to avert any man-made catastrophic consequences immediately," she said in a letter to the Prime Minister.

She said there have been reports of vandalism organized by certain political parties of Kerala at the site.

About 200 people had damaged a gate at Tamil Nadu Electricity Board facility on Saturday, while certain "lumpen elements" went to the dam on Sunday from Vallakadavu (Kerala) with a JCB (excavator) and some equipment on Sunday with the intention of discharging water and wanting to damage the dam, she said.

"As I have pointed out earlier, the orchestrated campaign of fear mongering carried on by Kerala government has led to this situation wherein the very security and safety of the Dam is being deliberately threatened."

Jayalalithaa said it was pertinent to point out that dams much older than Mullaiperiyar are functional. In Tamil Nadu, there is the more than 1,900 year-old Kallanai dam built by Karikaala Cholan in second century AD, which is still functioning due to regular maintenance.

The Chief Minister said people in delta areas of Tamil Nadu are not living in any fear of the dam bursting or collapsing. Similarly the Andhra Pradesh Irrigation Department maintains Godavari anicut and Krishna barrage, dating to between 1845 and 1855.

"May I also bring to your notice that the materials Major Pennycuick used to construct Mullaiperiyar Dam are the same that Karikaala Cholan used for the Kallanai 1900 years ago:
stone and surki?", Jayalalithaa pointed.

She said the Advocate General, Kerala, has gone on record before division bench of the Kerala High Court submitting that even in the case of any eventuality, the Idukki reservoir,
Kulamavu and Cheruthoni dams will take the waters.

"The Government of Kerala by its own admission recognizes all safety measures are in place," she said.

"The current situation of fear and panic mongering by the Kerala government is beyond comprehension and requires mature and informed decisions and wise handling at the level of the Prime Minister," she said and sought CISF cover.

Kerala CM asks AG to appear before cabinet

With controversy brewing over Advocate General K P Dandapani's submissions in the Kerala High Court on the Mullaperiyar dam issue, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Sunday asked him to appear before the Cabinet and convince the Council of Ministers of his position.

Though Dandapani met Chandy at his home at Puthupally near Kottayam this morning and explained that he had not made any statements in the court weakening the state's case, Chandy asked him to come before the Cabinet on Wednesday.

"I have asked AG to explain to the cabinet when it meets next Wednesday what he had actually said in the court," Chandy told reporters after Dandapani called on him.

As the AG issue has snowballed into a political row when a high voltage campaign is on for a new dam in place of the 116-year-old structure, the cabinet is also meeting on Monday evening to take stock of the situation.

Industries Minister and IUML leader P K Kunhalikutty said in Kannur that cabinet would discuss all these issues on Monday.

Dandapani told Chandy that whatever he said in the court was solely based on information as well as records given by the Revenue Department and Additional Chief Secretary, sources close to Dandapani said in Kochi.

While making statements in the court on Friday on the safety measures being taken by the government in the event of the dam's collapse, Dandapani had purportedly said three downstream dams of Idukki, Kulavamuvu and Cheruthoni could hold the waters of Mullaperiyar.

The opposition LDF as well as several leaders from the Congress and its ruling front allies had demanded removal of Dandapani from the post.

The Cabinet would discuss the strategies to foster unity among the entire political spectrum on dam issue as an all party meet is scheduled on December six ahead of the one-day Assembly session on December nine.

Meanwhile, protests and fasts demanding a new dam continued in Idukki district, where three UDF MPs--P T Thomas, Anton Antony and Jose K Mani--observed a day long fast.

A march taken by BJP workers in the dam area turned violent when protesters barged into the barricade put up by the police. Some of the BJP and its youth wing workers were injured and police took into custody 16 activists.

Water Resources Minister P J Joseph, a Kerala Congress (M) nominee in the Cabinet, announced he would observe a day long fast and prayers at Birla Mandir in New Delhi on Monday.

Meanwhile, State Finance Minister and Kerala Congress (M) chief, K M Mani, said he would also observe one-day fast at Chappath near Mullaperiyar on Monday.

Mani said the fast need not be seen as defying Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy's appeal to his colleagues to refrain from taking part in public protest over the issue.

"The fast is also a prayer. It is a Gandhian method and it does not mean anybody is overruling CM's appeal," Mani said.

Meanwhile, cultural personalities and members of the film fraternity in the state have come out in support of the campaign seeking a humanitarian resolution to the crisis.

A group of sanyasins of Varkala Shivagiri Math will also observe a day's fast on Monday at Chappath pledging solidarity to the campaign for a new dam.

Several voluntary organisations also organised candle light vigil in different parts of the state for the cause.
JPN/Agencies