The Kerala government has issued a fresh no-objection certificate (NOC) for the state electricity board to proceed with the implementation of the proposed Athirapally hydro-electric project, which had been shelved several times in the past due to protests by green activists.
CPI, a partner in the CPI(M)-led LDF government, on Wednesday joined the Congress-led Opposition and environmentalists in demanding the withdrawal of the NOC, which was issued on June 4. A fresh NOC was mandatory for the state electricity board for getting the techno-economic clearance revalidated from the Central Electricity Authority. The clearance of the project had expired in 2008. The NOC was granted for seven years as per the demand of the electricity board.
Opposition leader Ramesh Chennithala said NOC for the project should be withdrawn immediately. “It shows that the government has the courage to engage in any shameless activity at a time the state is fighting Covid-19. The government thinks that it has got a mandate to go for illegal decisions under the cover of Covid-19. The government had told the Assembly that the project would be implemented only through consensus. The decision to grant NOC is betrayal. The Opposition would launch an agitation if the government fails to withdraw the NOC for the project,” he said.
Senior CPI leader and Rajya Sabha member Binoy Viswam wondered why the government had issued the NOC for a project which the LDF had decided to drop. “The NOC is against the LDF policy and it should not have been issued without the consent of the LDF. The decision is mysterious,” he said.