Kerala 'undecided' on Athirapally hydel project

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Thiruvananthapuram, Sep 25 (UNI) Stating that there was no need for any apprehension regarding the Athirapally hydel project, Kerala Electricity Minister A K Balan today said the project, which has been cleared by the Centre, could be implemented only if the State Government complied with all the conditions.

Without specifying if the project would be implemented, he told reporters that the project could not be implemented because of political interference.

''The Forest and Ecological Departments along with other experts should have to look into every aspect before the project is implemented,'' he said.

The clearance came with a set of conditions that include welfare measures for tribal families in the area, plugging of irrigation channels from the river, maintaining a minimum flow of water over the Athirapally waterfall, anti-poaching measures and setting up of a monitoring committee and facility to oversee ecological changes that may arise due to setting up of the dam.

Regarding the Pathrakadavu power project which comes inside the buffer zone of the Silent Valley, he said any decision could be taken only if the Centre gave the approval. Meanwhile Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan, while declaring the buffer zone had said that ''the buffer zone would be protected along with the Silent Valley National Park.'' The entire core area and the buffer zone area would be protected and no non-forestry activities would be allowed in the areas, he said.

Mr Balan said Iringalakuda would be declared the first fully electrified assembly constituency in the state on September 29.

Claiming that all houses would get electricity in four years, he said the state would have 2,396 MW of electricity in ten years.

About the Panniyar pipe burst tragedy, Mr Balan said bodies of six persons were recovered and two were still to be recovered. The Navy had been asked to conduct searches again for the bodies, he said and added the Army's help had also been sought in this regard.


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