Chalakudy: CPI(M) politburo member Pinarayi Vijayan Tuesday came out in support of the Athirapally hydro electric project (HEP), which has been facing opposition from environmental activists.
“It is one among the projects that must be implemented. The project should be implemented without affecting Athirapally waterfalls,” Pinarayi told reporters at a press conference as part of the CPI-M’s Nava Kerala Yathra at Chalakudy in Thrissur.
Recently, the state government had approved a plan outlay of Rs 2 crore for the Athirapally hydro-electric project. The Ministry of Environment and Forests had extended green clearance for the plan up to August 2017.
Minister for Electricity Aryadan Muhammed on December 9 had said the state government was not ready for any controversy on the proposed Athirapally hydroelectric project.
“The government will go ahead with the project only after taking into account the concerns of the Opposition parties and the environmental activists,” Aryadan had said.
Environmental activists have been opposing the project due to the ecological vulnerability of the region. They argue that the Athirappilly project is likely to cause serious environmental damage.
The 138.6-hectare forestland to be used for constructing the dam is home to Asiatic Elephant, Great Indian Hornbill, Malabar Giant Squirrel, Gaur, Lion-Tailed Macaque, Nilgiri Langur and Cochin Forest Cane Turtle.
Environmentalists say the project will wipe out Vazhachal and Athirappilly waterfalls.