Athirappally hydel power project | UPSC

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Athirappally hydel power project

      HEADLINES:

Kerala government gives go-ahead to Athirappally hydel power project

      WHY IN NEWS:

Decision elicits angry response from a cross-section of society

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:DAMS : Infrastructure

      LEARNING: 

For PRELIMS go through the rivers and the tributaries . UPSC is fond of asking right bank or left bank tributaries 😉

For MAINS look out for the vulnerabilities and possible environmental solutions for such mega projects. Do you think such projects are viable in the midst of pandemic ?

      ISSUE: 

The Kerala government has given the go-ahead for the proposed 163-megawatt (MW) Athirappally Hydro Electric Project (AHEP) on the Chalakudy river in Thrissur district, it was revealed on June 10, 2020.  

The majestic Athirappally waterfall draws 0.6 million tourists annually. Photo: K K Najeeb

The majestic Athirappally waterfall draws 0.6 million tourists annually. Photo: K K Najeeb The majestic Athirappally waterfall draws 0.6 million tourists annually.

THE CONTROVERSIAL DAM :

BACKGROUND

  • Silent Valley was an ecological movement with huge mass participation, that forced the Kerala government to abandon dam construction across the Kunthri River in Palakkad district during the late 1970s and early 1980s.

  The proposed project will be seventh dam along the 145-kilometre course of the Chalakudy river.

  • This is a death knell for what remains of endemic species of flora and fauna in the Athirappally-Vazhachal region.

BIODIVERSITY 

  • Around 168 hectares of biodiversity-rich forests in the Western Ghats would be submerged if the project got implemented.
  • “Athirappally is home to some rarest species of birds, animals and plant species.
  • The project would be an environmental disaster in the making and would sever the only link between the Peechi Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary and the Idamalayar basin of the Periyar river.

  The vital elephant corridor between the Parambikulam Sanctuary and the Pooyamkutty forests would also be affected.

  • Apart from being home to hornbills, tigers and leopards, the forests also host the Nilgiri langur, the lion-tailed macaque and the rare Cochin forest cane turtle.

TRIBAL BELT 

  Kadar tribal settlements in the forests will be dismantled.

  • The fresh move is even violative of the forest rights granted to the Kadars under Forest Rights Act,” .

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

  • “The latest decision is purely bureaucratic.
  • On the tourism front, the project would wipe out the majestic Athirappally and Vazhachal waterfalls, which draw 0.6 million domestic and foreign tourists every year.
     SOURCES:THE HINDU & PIB/DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS for UPSC CSE Prelims & Mains

DISCOVER MORE : Important GS-3 Articles

 

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