Tuesday, February 8, 2011

KSEB, environmentalists get ready with argument | | | Indian Express

KOCHI: With the Madhav Gadgil Committee scheduled to visit Athirappilly on Saturday, both KSEB and environment groups are preparing arguments to submit before the panel.

The committee is visiting Athirappilly to make a final assessment on the feasibility of the proposed Athirappilly hydroelectric project.

KSEB has prepared a report to be presented before the committee. The Board will say that the project will solve the huge power shortage in the state as it is expected to generate 163 MW power.

The Electricity Board will further say that the Union Government had given clearance thrice and that several studies have shown that there will not be any environmental issues if the project was implemented. The KSEB will specify in its report that the Central Water Commission has said that the river has sufficient water for a hydroelectric project.

It was in 1998 that the project got the first clearance. Soon, the issue was caught in a legal battle.

In 2005, following a fresh environment impact study, it got the clearance again and for the third time it got clearance in 2007.

However, environment groups are planning to present their arguments based on the possible impact of the project on biodiversity and how it will affect the Kadar tribe in the region.

They will say that the project is socially and economically unviable.

The cost for the project is increasing rapidly. Hence it would be economically unviable.

According to the Central Electricity Authority, maintaining the waterfalls and generating electricity together will not be feasible, environmentalists say.

The environmental groups will further say that already about 40 percent of water from the river is being diverted for similar projects.

"There are four dams operating for Parambikulam Aliyar and then there is the Edamalayar diversion. Hence the water from the river is already regulated. It is necessary for the authorities to go for a Cumulative Impact Assessment. In the case of Athirappilly this has not been done.

Only if there is such an assessment, the impact of the proposed project can be understood," A Latha, of the River Research Centre, Thrissur, said.

Source: KSEB, environmentalists get ready with argument | | | Indian Express

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