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RS chairman holds meetings for functioning of House, asks govt to find solution to Cauvery issue

The Tamil Nadu parties are protesting in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha against the proposed Mekedatu dam in Karnataka on the Cauvery river, claiming that it will affect farmers in their state.  

PTI PTI
New Delhi Published on: January 02, 2019 22:31 IST
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Venkaiah Naidu

To ensure smooth functioning of the Rajya Sabha, Chairman M Venkaiah Naidu Wednesday held meetings with leaders of various parties and asked the government to find a solution to the Mekedatu dam issue over which AIADMK and DMK members are protesting.
 
The Tamil Nadu parties are protesting in the Rajya Sabha and the Lok Sabha against the proposed Mekedatu dam in Karnataka on the Cauvery river, claiming that it will affect farmers in their state.
 
With the Upper House failing to transact any significant business since the start of the Winter Session on December 11, the chairman has warned of action against the protesting members of the Tamil Nadu parties if they seek to disrupt Rajya Sabha proceedings any further.
 
The government is in talks with leaders of the AIADMK and the DMK, and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Vijay Goel has told them that Union Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari will discuss the issue with them, sources said.  
 
Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Goel will hold talks with leaders of the political parties along with Gadkari to reach an amicable solution and meet their demands, they said.
 
Tamil Nadu has been protesting the project after the Centre recently asked the Karnataka government to prepare a detailed project report for the Mekedatu dam.The state government has also appealed in the Supreme Court on the matter.
 
The sources said initially the protesting AIADMK and DMK members had agreed to allow the House to function on the government's assurance over the issue.However, they later said their leadership in 
Tamil Nadu did not agree to mere assurances, they said.
 
Thereafter, the protesting members told Naidu they were ready to face action, including naming by the Chair, the sources said. 
 
However, the leader of opposition and other senior leaders said it would not be proper to remove the protesting members from the House with the use of marshals after they are named by the Chair, they said. 
 
They have asked for one more chance to be given to the protesting members from the AIADM and the DMK to resolve their issues, the sources said.
 
Venkaiah Naidu had earlier in the House expressed anguish that the image of the Rajya Sabha was "taking a beating" and warned that action could be taken against members protesting in the Well.
 
He had "earnestly" requested members to cooperate in clearing bills and taking up discussions on issues such as those related to the Rafale deal, agrarian crisis, price rise and effect of cyclones in some states.
 
Naidu said action would be taken against members protesting in the Well, if there is consensus in the House. 
 
However, he added that action would be against all members who troop into the Well. "It cannot be selective", Naidu said.
 
The sources said Naidu held two rounds of meetings with leaders of various parties in the Rajya Sabha to ensure the smooth functioning of the house.
 
He also asked the government to find an amicable solution to the Mekedatu issue, they said.
 
The first meeting between Naidu and political parties was held before he released the Rajya Sabha Calendar for 2019, while the second round was held later in the day.
 
Naidu reminded the leaders that only four sittings of the House were left while substantial legislative agenda and issues of public importance awaited consideration of the House. 
 
He said these issues included some constitutional matter pertaining to Jammu and Kashmir, and some bills on which there was a clear understanding among parties.
 
Some senior leaders of various parties urged MPs from Tamil Nadu to stop disrupting proceedings of the House and assured them that the government will adequately respond to their concerns regarding construction of the proposed Mekadatu dam, the Rajya Sabha chairman said. 

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