Another scuffle between environmental activists and the government has surfaced because of the recent acceptance for a hydel project. The proposal was given affirmation by Kerala’s state government recently, to build a power plant over Chalakudy river in Thrissur district, after issuing a no-objection certificate to Kerala State Electricity Board.
About the project
The Athirappally Hydro Electric Project is supposed to be constructed on the Chalakudy river in Thrissur district, estimated to have a power of 163 MW. An attempt at bringing this project into reality has been done since decades now. This project will involve a dam upstream the Athirappilly river, affecting the entire ecology around.
The project was proposed in the year 2018 as well but remained pending. Since there was no consensus about the approval and it often fell prey to vote bank politics, it was delayed.
Activists across the state of Kerala and beyond, claim that the hydel project is an invitation to more and severe floods. The waterfalls serve as a link between Peechi Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary and Idamalayar basin. Any disturbance in the flow of water could severe the already delicate situation of water bodies in Kerala. The Chalakudy river flows through various districts, including major cities like Ernakulam, Thrissur and Palakkad. Since the 1980s, the attempts at interfering with this water body has been thwarted by some way or the other, and hence, a politically moved decision has sparked protests.
The forest life surrounding the waterfalls is also speculated to get affected.
The Government’s stand
The CPI, being the strongest to take stand against the same has warned of not letting the government proceed with the project. The government claims that the No Objection Certificate is a normal process, and the project would bring great source of power to the neighbouring cities. It also claims that before beginning with the project, the administration will take into account every stakeholder and analyse the boon and bane of the same, if need be.