//SPARE OUR RIVER- SAVE OUR LIVES

SPARE OUR RIVER- SAVE OUR LIVES

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.

   Sri. OmmenChandy
   Chief Minister of Kerala
   North Block
   Secretariat
   Thiruvananthapuram
   Kerala
   Phone: 91-471- 2333812, 2333682
    Fax   : 2333489
 
  Sri Aryadan Mohammad
  Minister for Power
  North Block
  Secretariat
  Thiruvananthapuram
  Kerala
  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,

S.Unnikrishnan
Media Convener
Chalakudy River Protection Forum
Chalakudy
Ph: +91-487-5524110
09846748081

http://athirapally.8m.com/

Picture Gallery of Athirapilly
http://akagi.ms.u-tokyo.ac.jp/cochin/excursion.htm