The CPI(M)-led LDF government in Kerala on Tuesday said it was not against the controversial Athirappilly hydro-electric project even as the Congress headed UDF vowed to oppose it ‘tooth and nail’. The 163 MW project planned in the water resource bed of Chalakudy river in Thrissur district was pending for the past several years due to protest from environmentalists.
In a written reply in the Assembly, Power Minister Kadakampally Surendran said though there were stiff opposition from many quarters, the government plan was to implement the project after arriving at a consensus. Speaking to reporters later, Leader of the Opposition Ramesh Chennithala, said the issue had been discussed by UDF and it had been decided to oppose the project unitedly.
“We are not prepared to go back on it even an inch. The minister’s remarks that government will create a consensus and implement the project cannot be accepted,” he said. Since many opinions had emerged with regard to the project, Chennithala said he himself had visited the project site and had held discussions with the local people, tribals and environmental activists.
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The majority view was that there was no need for the project, he said, adding that costwise also it would not be profitable.
Environmentalists have claimed that about 140 hectares would be submerged if the project was implemented.