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    Mar 2009


    Default Athirapally power project 'crucial' for Kerala: Chandy

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    Former Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy Friday said the much-delayed Athirapally hydro-electric power project is 'crucial' for the state.

    He said the project, which has been hanging for more than a decade now, is expected to generate 163 MW power.

    'The project is crucial for Kerala. Yes, I understand that there are environmental issues, but this project can go ahead without causing any fears of environmental degradation,' Chandy told reporters.

    He was responding to a question on the spat between Electricity Minister A.K. Balan and union Minister for Environment and Forest Jairam Ramesh Thursday in Delhi. Balan met Ramesh after the environment ministry served a show cause notice asking the Kerala government why the clearance given earlier should not be revoked.

    The proposed project is to come up across the Chalakudy river in Thrissur district.

    Balan after his discussion with Ramesh said the central government should come clean on why this change of mind has risen after giving the clearance thrice.

    'There is a deep rooted conspiracy behind attempts to thwart this project and at the appropriate time, I would reveal it,' he said.

    It was in 1998 that this project got the first clearance from the central government and soon this issue was caught in a legal battle with environmentalists. In 2005 following a fresh environment impact study, it got the clearance again.

    But soon the Kerala High Court intervened and asked Kerala State Electricity Board for a fresh clearance. For the third time, the project got the clearance in 2007.

    'I do not subscribe to the views that no developmental activities should take place sacrificing environment. Genuine issues should be certainly addressed and there are ways and means to go ahead with the Athirapally project without any environmental issues,' said Chandy.



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