Thiruvananthapuram | As the LDF government face differences in its own ranks over the Athirappilly hydro- electric project, Kerala Power Minister Kadakampally Surendran today said no project would be implemented ignoring the sentiments of people. However, he said the state needed mega power projects to meet the growing demand for energy.
Addressing a meet-the-press programmes here, Surendran said the government would proceed with any project only after holding detailed discussions and reaching a consensus. The government is not for any controversy. We will go ahead only after arriving at a consensus among various stakeholders including environmentalists. But, for the state’s growth, mega power projects are necessary. No project would be implemented ignoring the sentiments of people, he said.
Surendran was referring to the protests by Congress and others and differences expressed by LDF partner CPI over the government favouring implementation of the project in ecologically sensitive Athirappilly.
Various environment activists and groups especially ‘Chalakkudy River Samrakshana Samithi’, the outfit which campaigns for the conservation of river Chalakkudy where the proposed Athirappilly hydel project is to come, have already come out against the government’s move to revive the project.
The long pending hydro-electric project has come into focus now after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan pitched for it during his recent New Delhi visit. Stating that the government was not stubborn in implementing any project, Surendran said What we said was only our approach to the project. But we will take a decision only after taking into account the limitations of the state and after a detailed discussion with the public society.
The Minister also said the state could not go forward in the coming years with the minor power projects producing meagre two or three megawatt. Detailing the present power situation in the state, he said the demand was increasing by about 60 per cent annually whereas the generation was not increasing correspondingly. What Kerala needed is mega power projects with less investment cost, he said.
New Leader of the Opposition in the assembly Ramesh Chennithala had yesterday said a public debate over the project was necessary to form a consensus. Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh has criticised Vijayan’s move to push the long pending project, terming it a perfect recipe for ecological disaster.