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Tuesday, Jul 20, 2004

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Views on Pathrakadavu hydel project

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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: An open forum that discussed the pros and cons of the proposed Pathrakadavu hydel project in the Silent Valley environs yielded divergent views on the environmental and social impact of the project.

The former president of the Kerala Sastra Sahithya Parishad, Prof R.V.G. Menon, sounded a note of caution when he said that the Pathrakadavu project would disturb the natural habitat and endanger the unique biosphere that extended beyond the administrative boundaries of the Silent Valley project.

According to Mr M.S. Rawther, leader of the KSEB (Kerala State Electricity Board) Employees Confederation, the sustained opposition to hydel projects by the environmental lobby was part of a larger "game-plan" aimed at forcing the State into total dependence on thermal energy. The Pathrakadavu project would have very little impact on the environment, as it would require only four hectares of forestland, he contended.

In Prof Menon's view, the project would only manage to open a backdoor to the national park, which has to thank the sheer inability for access for its largely unspoilt environment. The dependence on hydel projects for low cost generation would push the KSEB into heavy loss and lead to its privatisation.

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