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PM on two-day visit to Tamil Nadu from today

Manmohan Singh 1_0_l

Chennai : The Mullaperiyar dam row between Tamil Nadu and Kerala and the impasse over Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant might figure during the talks chief minister Jayalalithaa is expected to have with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his two-day visit to the state from Sunday.

Jayalalithaa is likely to call on Singh on Sunday evening shortly after his arrival and may take up a host of issues, including the demand for a financial package.

This is the first visit by Singh to the state after the AIADMK headed by Jayalalithaa stormed to power ousting DMK, a key UPA partner, in the April assembly elections.

DMK chief M Karunanidhi on Saturday announced he would meet the Prime Minister on Monday and take up the dam row, particularly “preventing attacks against Tamils” in Kerala and increasing the water level of the dam.

The dam row has escalated in recent weeks with leaders of both states engaged in a war of words. Kerala is insisting on a new dam to replace the existing 116-year-old structure, citing safety concerns which Tamil Nadu opposes.

Jayalalithaa has written four letters to the Prime Minister since the issue resurfaced late last month and has taken exception to the National Disaster Management Authority’s move forming a team of experts to draw up a contingency response plan for the dam, saying it was nothing but “succumbing to the subterfuge” of Kerala.

Karunanidhi had expressed dissatisfaction over the action taken by the Centre and the state government on the issue.

On the Koodankulam issue, the Prime Minister’s recent remarks that the plant would be operationalised in a few weeks did not go well with Jayalalithaa who asked the Centre to allay people’s fears before taking any ‘precipitate’ action.