The TVK leader said that their first move was to target toll booths and conduct a 'no-tax' movement, which they would do till the CMB was set up.

Wont pay tax to Centre until they set up CMB TVK members vandalise toll booths in TNYoutube screengrab / Puthiya Thalaimurai TV
news Cauvery Dispute Sunday, April 01, 2018 - 15:55

The people of Tamil Nadu are agitated over the failure of the Centre in constituting the Cauvery Management Board (CMB). On Sunday, over 500 members of the Tamizhaga Vazhvurimai Katchi (TVK) hit the streets in protests in Tamil Nadu’s Villupuram district, and targeted the Ulundhurpettai toll booths.

After the toll was hiked in 20 toll plazas across the state, the protesters targeted the Ulundhurpettai toll plaza and refused to pay toll, saying that they would not give the Centre any money till the CMB was formed. The protesters said that the refusal to give the Centre money would start with the toll plazas. 45 other toll gates across the state were also allegedly targeted.

Led by party chief former PMK MLA Panruti T Velmurugan, protesters smashed the toll plaza to bits, broke barricades and also smashed the glass where toll collectors sit. A huge number of protesters could be seen walking with flags and chanting slogans, and some demonstrators engaged in a tussle with the police. Demanding the constitution of the CMB, slogans of “Hey Central Government and State Government, don’t kill the people of TN”, “Is it fair to kill the farmers?” and “Don’t cheat the people of TN” rang in the air. Protesters even broke the barricades.

Speaking to Puthiya Thalamurai, Velmurugan said, "Our first move is to target all the toll booths and conduct a "no-tax" movement. And we will do this until CMB is set up."

Due to the vandalism and sloganeering that ensued, Velmurugan was whisked into a police van. Over a 100 TVK members have also reportedly been detained at a private marriage hall in Ulundhurpettai.

Traffic in the area was also hit as the toll booths were damaged and route blocked. The members have also allegedly targeted the Vellore Pallikonda, Kullithalai Manavasi, Vaniyambadi Nekundhi toll booths.

On February 16, the Supreme Court delivered its verdict on the Cauvery water sharing dispute, which reduced TN’s share of water. It also directed the Centre to “frame a scheme” so as to implement its orders within six weeks.

The formation of the Cauvery Management Board has been a point of contention between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. Political parties in Tamil Nadu have been putting pressure on the Centre to set up the CMB, alleging that a neutral body is required to ensure Cauvery water is released on time, given that in the past Karnataka has not complied with directions.

The deadline to set up the CMB was March 29. As this was not upheld, on Saturday, the Tamil Nadu government filed a contempt of court petition against Union Cabinet Secretary PK Sinha and Water Resources Secy UP Singh for not setting up the Board as directed by the Supreme Court.

Following this, DMK leader MK Stalin also slammed the Centre saying, "It is clear that the Centre moved the court and adopted a vindictive attitude towards Tamil Nadu keeping the Karnataka polls in mind.”

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