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Home News Power Sector News Athirappilly power project is crucial for Kerala: Oommen Chandy

Athirappilly power project is crucial for Kerala: Oommen Chandy

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Oomen ChandyOpposition leader and former Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy said the Athirapally hydro-electric power project is "crucial" for the kerala state. He said the project, which has been hanging for more than a decade now, is expected to generate 163 MW power. "I do not subscribe to the views that no developmental activities should take place sacrificing environment. Genuine issues should be certainly addressed and there are ways and means to go ahead with the Athirapally project without any environmental issues," said Chandy.

"The project is crucial for Kerala. Yes, I understand that there are environmental issues, but this project can go ahead without causing any fears of environmental degradation," Chandy told reporters.

He was responding to a question on the spat between Electricity Minister A.K. Balan and union Minister for Environment and Forest Jairam Ramesh in Delhi. Balan met Ramesh after the environment ministry served a show cause notice asking the Kerala government why the clearance given earlier should not be revoked.

The proposed project is to come up across the Chalakudy river in Thrissur district. Balan after his discussion with Ramesh said the central government should come clean on why this change of mind has risen after giving the clearance thrice.

"There is a deep rooted conspiracy behind attempts to thwart this project and at the appropriate time, I would reveal it," he said.

Last week, The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has asked the state government to respond within 15 days why the clearance accorded earlier to the Athirampally hydro electric project should not be revoked. The MoEF decision to revoke the earlier clearance comes in the wake of severe protests by environmental groups and scientists.

The Union ministry on July 19, 2007 had  cleared the Kerala State Electricity Board’s proposal to build a 163-mw dam on the Chalakudy river. The clearance had sparked massive protest from environmental activists and scientists, who accused the ministry of sounding the death knell of a unique riparian eco-system. The centre gave its clearance after the Expert Appraisal Committee for River Valley & Hydroelectric Projects visited the proposed site in April 2007.

The committee had recommended that the government should initiate welfare measures for tribals living in the area. It also wanted maintaining of a minimum flow of water through the Athirappally waterfall. The clearance also limited the period for power generation to four hours (7 pm to 11 pm) from February 1 to May 31 every year, the driest months. This provision, according to the ministry, will take care of tourism concerns during the lean season.


Source - IANS
 

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