Athirapilly Power Project
Athirapilly Power Project is a hydro electric power project, which was proposed by Kerala State Electricity Board. This project is done across the Chalakkudi river and through the Athirappilly waterfalls. All the nature lovers are against the project. It will harm the beauty of the waterfalls and will destroy acres of the forest too.
The project is planned with an installed capacity of 163 MW. A gravity dam of 23 m height and 311 m length was proposed, with an upstream of 6.7 km from Athirapilly waterfalls and 400 m from Vazhachal falls respectively. Already six dams for hydel power generation and one dam for irrigation has been developed on this river. It is estimated to have a capital expenditure of Rs 650 crore on completion.
According to the ecologist Madhav Gadgil, this project may not produce enough power for their day to day operations. They can’t produce power for their own consumption. He expressed his doubt in this project in a meeting held in Kochi. Dr. Gadgil said that, power would be required to run the turbines and for other activities. The project area mainly comes under the Athirappilly waterfalls and forest area. The ecology, as well as the communities, lives there, need to suffer a lot. Also, Athirapilly waterfall is one of the tourist attractions in Thrissur. When this project is implemented, the waterfall may get affected badly. The local bodies are against this power project. Protest movements were started from the beginning onwards.
Athirapilly Power Project mainly benefits construction lobby. KSEB started some attempts to begin the project before the expiry of environment clearance in the last month. The whole forest will suffer because of this project, said Dr. Gadgil. According to him, the government should explore more alternative power solutions especially renewable energy sources like solar energy, wind energy or hybrid energy generation which are really cheaper nowadays.