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Work begins on hydel project at Abbi Falls amidst tight security

Staff Correspondent

Project site cordoned off by police to keep protesters at bay


  • Protesters vow to continue struggle against project
  • Elected representatives accused of being indifferent to agitations
  • The 3-MW project is expected to cost Rs. 12 crores



    PAVING THE WAY: An earthmover clearing weeds near the Abbi Falls on Tuesday.

    MADIKERI: Work on the Abbi Falls mini-hydel power project began amid tight police security here on Tuesday.

    The Government instructed the district administration a few days ago to allow the implementation of the project on the grounds that it had been cleared by the Cabinet subcommittee. The police were present in good numbers to thwart any attempt by those opposing the project to enter the construction site.

    On Tuesday morning, an earth-moving machine started clearing weeds and bushes to lay roads close to the Abbi Falls, where a powerhouse and a storage grid will be constructed. V.P. Shahul Hameed, Executive Director of Rephidim Power Supplies Pvt. Ltd., told The Hindu that he is aware of the environmental concerns as expressed by the State Government. Not a single tree will be cut to lay roads to the powerhouse, he clarified.

    Asked whether the power generated by the project will be evacuated and supplied to Madikeri city, Mr. Hameed said a storage grid is being built at a cost of Rs. 2.5 crores near the powerhouse for the purpose. As per the power-purchase agreement, power will be sold to KPTCL at Rs. 2.80 a unit.

    Meanwhile, members of Cauvery Sene and Kodagu Anekattu Virodhi Samiti, who addressed a press conference here on Tuesday, vowed to continue their struggle against the project with the help of the people of Kalakeri-Nidugane villages under which the proposed project falls. A 10-day round-the-clock agitation will be organised in front of the Deputy Commissioner's office from November 18 demanding the scrapping of the project, Ravi Chengappa, convener of the sene said.

    Accusing the State Government of ignoring the protests launched by the sene and the villagers, he said the Government has betrayed the people of the district by approving the project.

    Kolatanda Raghu of the anekattu virodhi samiti said its members will launch a democratic struggle demanding justice.

    Project cost

    The 3-MW project is expected to cost Rs. 12 crores, and the Government will bear two-third of the expenditure while the rest will be borne by Rephidim Power Supplies Pvt. Ltd. Mr. Hameed said a retaining wall will be constructed first to the left of the ten-and-a-half ft weir. A temple will be built by the company near the spot, Mr. Hameed said and added that the project will not submerge any area or lead to displacement of people.

    However, visitors to the Abbi Falls will be allowed as usual.

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