Wednesday, June 27, 2007

note from river research center, thrissur, kerala on the athirapally issue.

the madness - of fake dam building that is illegal on environmental rules and laws, unsustainable on ecology and hence the project, brutal on the river dependent people - continues.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: River Research Centre Kerala
Date: Jun 27, 2007 1:22 AM
Subject: Urgent : Athirappilly HEP, Kerala
To:

Dear Friend,

The Expert Committee Meeting on River Valley and Hydro Electric Projects on the 22nd June 2007 is understood to have finally recommended Environmental Clearance to the proposed 163MW Athirappilly Hydro Electric Project in Kerala for a third time based on the Report of the Expert Committee's visit to the project area in April 2007. The project is pending Final Clearance with the Secretary, MoEF.

As you are all aware, the people in the river valley and all concerned who realise the ecological value for long term conservation of this sensitive region in the Western Ghats have been consistently trying to convey to the MoEF and the River Valley Expert Committee that the project is technically and economically unviable and would create irreparable loss to an eco sensitive area in the Western Ghats. Two High Court Judgments and Two Public Hearings later, the public opposition to the project is still growing. The River Valley Committee had visited the project area in April and was witness to the fact that not even a single person in the river valley has raised a voice in favour of the project. Inspite of that, the River Valley Committee Site Visit Report has recommended Environmental Clearance to the project with not even a single word in the entire report mentioning anything about the possible environmental impacts!

The new Secretary, MoEF has to be briefed about the long history of the just struggle of the people in the river valley and the gross violations involved before she takes the final decision. Our humble request to you, who has been supporting this campaign and struggle, is to please send the following urgent emails and Fax messages to the following address without delay,

To,

Smt.Meena Gupta

Secretary,

Ministry of Environment and Forests

Room No.401

Paryavaran Bhavan,

CGO Complex

Lodhi Road

New Delhi- 110003

+ 91-11-2436 1896, 2436 0721
secymenf@nic.in

envisect@nic.in

FAX of MoEF: 011- 24362827 & 24360678

Dear Madam,

Sub: Environmental Clearance to proposed Athirappilly HEP in Kerala reg .

With deep distress, it is understood that the highest office of the MoEF has decided to grant Environmental Clearance to the proposed Athirappilly HEP in Kerala for a third time. I may humbly repeat that this is a project which has been rejected environmental clearance granted twice earlier in 1998 and 2005 by the High Court of Kerala in 2001 and 2006 respectively on the grounds of procedural violations and inadequacy of the EIA Assessment. Two EIA Assessments and two High Court ordered Public Hearings later; the project has been proven economically unviable and a threat to the environment especially to the low altitude riparian forests, unique to Kerala Western Ghats, the only habitat where the four hornbill species are found together, especially the only breeding habitat of the globally threatened Malabar Pied Hornbill, exceptionally high fish diversity area ( 104 sp with 5 sp new to science) and very rich elephant habitat ( 2.0 / sq.km) and the remaining viable elephant migratory route , high avian diversity area (185 sp) to name a few. People in the valley and experts in the field of hydrology have been consistently questioning the Kerala State Electricity Board regarding the false and fabricated stream flow data used to prove the technical feasibility of the project to which they have been maintaining guarded silence. This guarded silence was repeated at the River Valley Committee Sitting in April.

Hence it is my humble request to you madam,

  1. To please take time to look into the past history of the project and the reasons for it being rejected both by the people and the High Court before arriving at any decision.
  2. Allow the affected people to present their case before the MoEF which has been their consistent request to the River Valley Committee and the MoEF all these years given the contentious issues raised by the project
  3. Revoke the Forest Clearance granted way back in 1998 given the biodiversity significance of the area

Expecting a positive response in this regard,

Yours Sincerely

(Name)

Copy to: Sri. T.K.A. Nair, Principal Secretary to Prime Minister

Fax: 011-23017475