Despite Environmental Concerns, the Kerala government has confirmed a proposed hydel power project in Athirappilly. A bio-diverse area in the Thrissur district known for its eponymous waterfall will go forward. State Electricity Minister K Krishnan Kutty informed the Legislative Assembly of this.
The project has still not been canceled, according to the minister. The State Government has already issued the Kerala State Electricity Board Limited (KSEBL) a no-objection certification for 2020. However, he made it plain that the program would only be implemented if all stakeholders had reached an agreement.
The KSEBL aims to build a dam 5 kilometers above the Athirappilly Waterfalls on the Chalakudy River. So it can generate 163 megawatts of energy. Given that the project location is located in an environmentally sensitive area, the proposal has sparked several debates and objections.
The Athirappilly hydropower project, which had been proposed over 3 decades ago and had to be put on hold. Because of various disputes and protests, it received approval from the Kerala government in 2017. One of India’s biggest ecological regions is the Athirappilly-Vazhachal forest area. The trees and plants in the area have distinct characteristics.
Competitors of the power plant claim that it is not financially sustainable and that it will threaten an ecological hotspot. If a major dam is built in Athirappilly, flora, mammals, insects, and fish species will be driven out for good.
The Vazhachal zone is also important because it serves as a crossing point for animals traveling to the Eravikulam. As well as Parambikulam, and Peechi-Vazhani forest areas. Vazhachal is located along a lengthy elephant track in the forest. It runs from Parambikulam in Palakkad to Pooyamkutty in Ernakulam.
Environmentalists warn that if the project is executed, the mobility of elephants in the area will be hampered.