Athirappilly controversies on the rise again

Updated: Oct 3

Abraham Thomas

28th September 2020


The proposal of the construction of a dam in one of the ecological reserves of Kerala is on the news again after a long time, as the ruling government gave the nod to the annexation of this project. Environmentalists are on the rage as the happening of this project can be destructive to the species living there and about 136 hectares of forest land.


Athirappilly Waterfalls along the Chalakudy River (Source: jonnymelon.com)

The proposal of the construction of a dam in one of the ecological reserves of Kerala is on the news again after a long time, as the ruling government gave the nod to the annexation of this project. Environmentalists are on the rage as the happening of this project can be destructive to the species living there and about 136 hectares of forest land. 


In a report by Monga Bay, it was reported by KA Shaji that this project came back to life in the second week of June and is to be constructed along the course of the Chalakudy River. The KSEB has supported this project giving no regard to the immense effect the carrying on of the project might have on the environmental aspects of Kerala as a whole. The tourism department is also going to suffer as Athirappilly is a huge reserve for people all over India. The green waterfalls, which are located about 1000 feet above sea level, are one of the most beautiful views in Kerala, and this project is going to shed darkness in that aspect too. The amount of tribal people going to be displaced due to this project is something that should be highly considered also. These tribal people have been displaced numerous times for the last hundred years due to the construction of the six other dams in the whole of Kerala. 


This project was initiated in 1998 and thrown down the gutters around 2001, after the case was sent to the high court, reported ELaw, and now, the project has been re-initiated after several years. Owing to the lockdown implemented on the common people, it restricts them to provide any reaction from their side to this outrageous project being once again kick-started. 


The opposition party member Ramesh Chennithala has expressed his concerns over this project, which causes immense ecological damage. Ramesh stated that, “I thought the recurring floods in the last two years have brought in some environmental sense to the political leadership in Kerala. But clearly, my thinking was wrong. This project will cause immense ecological damage.”


A KSEB director has stated that the KSEB has not taken any step to start the project, and they have already got the nod for cutting the trees in the project area much earlier. In a report by Hindustan Times, it was reported that Chief Minister Piniarayi Vijayan told in a public meeting that what the State needs is development, and the government would go ahead, brushing aside the arguments of anti-developmentalists. Other sources have claimed that the KSEB is not just materialising the construction of the dam on architecture but also two more dams on the same river, which is brutal to the ecological diversity filled with rare species of fauna and all the other animals which live inside these forests.


(Sources: Mongabay, Hindustan Times, ELaw)

Edited by Satvik Pandey

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