Fri, 23 May, 2008,04:39 PM
Chennai: In a predictable response to the DMK government’s call for an all- party meeting to discuss on the policy to be followed over sand quarrying, the AIADMK, the MDMK and the DMDK today announced that they would boycott it.
A hard-hitting statement from AIADMK general secretary J Jayalalithaa said she did not believe that Chief Minister M Karunanidhi would follow the recommendations of the Legislature Party leaders meeting to be held on 26 May. ‘It is not new for Karunanidhi to act on his own and to betray the interests of the people.
Right from the Cauvery issue in 1971 to the recent Hogennakkal row, he had been changing his stand due to various reasons. He had retracted from his earlier statement over Hogennakkal issue by stating that the project would be put on hold. And he did this without convening the Cabinet or consulting all parties. Hence, we are not ready to believe that he would pay heed to the voice of leaders in the all-party meeting.’
She also said the government’s decision to again lease sand quarries to private parties would pave the way for the ruling DMK men to take complete control of sand quarrying in the State, besides taking toll on water resources. The former Chief Minister said the decision in her tenure to scrap all existing sand quarrying leases was taken on the recommendations of an expert committee constituted on the directive of the Madras High Court, to prevent unscientific sand quarrying and to provide sand at an affordable cost to public.
In a similar statement, MDMK general secretary Vaiko said Karunanidhi did not have any right to convene an all-party meeting to discuss the issue. He questioned the rationale behind the government’s decision to revert to the old practice of allowing private parties in sand quarrying. If it was handed over to the private parties again, it would only pave way for indiscriminate quarrying, he said. In a letter to the Chief Minister, DMDK president Vijayakanth said it was not right to convene an all-party meeting after taking an unilateral decision.
‘The meeting is being organised following a tussle over the issue among the alliance partners of the ruling party,’ he said. The State government announced yesterday a meeting of Legislature Party leaders would be held on 26 May to discuss the policy to be followed over the sand quarry issue.
A terse official release said Chief Minister M Karunanidhi would chair the meeting scheduled at 10 am in the Cabinet Hall at the Secretariat.