Kerala

Anti-Athirappilly stir called off

Former Forest Minister Binoy Viswam inaugurating a gathering at the Sacred Heart College, Chalakkudy.

Former Forest Minister Binoy Viswam inaugurating a gathering at the Sacred Heart College, Chalakkudy.  

Project doomed following expiry of eco nod: activists

Declaring that the Athirappilly hydroelectric project cannot be revived now that its environmental clearance has expired, activists who have been campaigning against the project for over two decades have declared an end to their agitation, but with a vow to continue their fight to protect the river.

“Our decision may cause worry to many, but we are 100% certain that the current or future governments will not be able to implement this project,” said S.P. Ravi of the Chalakkudy River Protection Forum, addressing a large gathering of anti-dam activists at the Sacred Heart College here on Friday. “The local communities have received Community Forest Rights and no project can be implemented without their consent. The KSEB's en vironmental clearance also expired last month,” he said.

Inaugurating the meeting, former Forest Minister Binoy Viswam said that only one phase of the agitation was over. The Chief Minister's recent comment in the Assembly about implementing the project based on a consensus, without affecting nature or the local communities, was something he could not comprehend.

“This is like saying that you can make an omelette without breaking an egg. The river and forests will be destroyed, the Kadar and Malayar people will be displaced. On what basis is a consensus possible?” he asked. “We are not ready for any consensus,” said writer and activist Sara Joseph, who has been actively involved in the agitation and pointed out that the construction lobby would keep enticing the current and future governments.

“Why are the authorities not talking about alternatives? The government should recognise the peoples’ demands, not vice versa,” she said. “I hope this people's movement has opened the eyes of the authorities,” said BJP State president Kummanam Rajasekharan.

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Printable version | Jun 5, 2020 2:52:56 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/anti-athirappilly-stir-called-off/article19522631.ece

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