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Dam row: Chidambaram withdraws remarks

Chennai : Facing flak from parties in Kerala, Union home Minister P. Chidambaram on Sunday said he “takes back” his remark on the fears about the Mullaperiyar dam’s safety being fuelled by an upcoming by-poll in the state.

“Like some other speakers, I also made a passing reference to the forthcoming by-election. I take back that remark. That reference was not necessary and it was not my intention to hurt the feelings of anyone. I continue to believe that the issue must be resolved in a spirit of cooperation and brotherhood between the people of two states,” Chidambaram said in a statement here.

Speaking at a Congress function on Saturday, Chidambaram said Kerala was raking up the Mullaperiyar dam issue just because of a coming by-election, and once it was over, the problem also will end.

Chidambaram also said the apex court-formed Empowered Committee, headed by former chief justice A.S. Anand, on the Mullaperiyar dam will submit its report in the second or third week of February and it is hoped the court’s verdict will favour Tamil Nadu.

Referring to his Saturday speech, Chidambaram said: “I appealed to everyone that we must act with dignity, restraint and patience. I said that fears over the safety of the dam were not justified but it was our duty to allay the apprehensions on the safety of the dam.

“I said that the safety of the dam was the concern of not only Kerala but also Tamil Nadu, because Tamil Nadu was dependent on the water from the dam. I also appealed to everyone to await the report of the three-judge panel and the decision of the Supreme Court,” he said.