The indefinite Athirappilly Satyagraha launched against the proposed 163 MW Athirappilly Hydro Electric Power Project crosses around 2 months. As decided at the Convention on ‘Water Rights’ held at Athirappilly Grama Panchayath on the 27th November 2005, an indefinite Satyagraha has been launched at Athirappilly by the Chalakudy River Protection Forum, a platform of 30 odd organizations and led by the Athirappilly Vana Samrakshana Samithi members with the demand ‘Spare our River and Save our Lives’.
Athirappilly Vana Samrakshana Samithi was formed as part of the Joint Forest Management effort of the Kerala Forest Department along with the fringe area forest dependent communities for protection of the Athirappilly Tourism zone and eco restoration activities. Atleast 500 families living in the fringe areas directly depend on the income from tourism related activities at the famous Athirappilly waterfalls and the surrounding forests for their livelihood. They decided to launch the indefinite Satyagraha to protect their river and main source of livelihood, the Athirappilly Waterfalls that would be reduced to a trickle if the dam is built upstream and water is diverted to the powerhouse below the waterfalls. The waterfalls attract atleast 6-8 lakh tourists every year. Further, the proposed project will curtail the drinking and irrigation needs of 20 odd downstream panchayaths. The tribal R&R plan in the EIA by WAPCOS is incomplete and has deliberately downsized the actual displacement of the 300 odd ‘Kadar’ tribals, a primitive hunter-gatherer community. The loss of low altitude riparian forests, elephant corridor, fish diversity and hornbill habitat would be irrevocable if the dam is built.
The consistent ongoing struggle against the dam, the details of which are known to all has thus taken a new turn. Meanwhile, all the official procedures before dam construction are complete and the preliminary work can start at any moment. Tourists visiting the area, concerned individuals, Merchants Associations, Kerala Forest Protective Staff Association, Kerala State Road Transport Corporation Staff Association, etc. are already extending support to the Satyagraha. A mass signature campaign drive is going on at the Satyagraha site. Dr.Sukumar Azhikode, a well-known Gandhian writer and Social Activist have agreed to address the Satyagraha on the 18th January.
Your support and solidarity to the people involved in the indefinite Satyagraha is crucial at this juncture if the Government has to take the right step of abandoning this economically and ecologically unviable project. Your solidarity with the cause can be expressed by involving in any one of the following;
1. Write/ Fax/ e mail to the CM, Kerala, Sri Ommen Chandy and Sri Aryadan Mohammad, Power Minister, Kerala to pay serious attention to the concerns voiced
by the people against the proposed project and abandon the move to go ahead with the project.
Chief Minister of Kerala
Phone: 91-471- 2333812, 2333682
Fax : 2333489
Sri Aryadan Mohammad
Minister for Power
Office: 91-471- 2333254, 2327651
Residence: 2312330, 2312331
Fax : 2333294
2. Share the message far and wide and request others to respond immediately.
3. Make press statements in your region in support of the campaign and Satyagraha.
4. Request your media friends to write features and articles etc. any additional information can be provided by us.
5. Please take time away from your busy schedule to spend a day with the people involved in the Satyagraha. You can inform your convenient dates in advance to
6. Wherever possible, involve students in the campaign by asking them to write to the CM and the Power Minister to abide by the ‘intergenerational equity rights’, to
stop the move to go ahead with the project and to preserve the Athirappilly waterfalls and the Chalakudy river for future generations.
In Solidarity and Peace,
Chalakudy River Protection Forum
Picture Gallery of Athirapilly