Chalakudy: The Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) has begun preliminary work on the controversial Athirappilly hydroelectric project. Transformers and construction materials have been off-loaded in the forest area. The board is keeping the work confidential.
This apart, the government had handed over Rs 5 crore to the forest department for afforestation as wide swathe of forest would be submerged on completion of the project.
The validity of the environmental nod for the project comes to an end in a few days.
Electricity minister M.M. Mani on Wednesday told the assembly the procedure to use forest land for the project has been completed.
The minister said the studies conducted by the Central Electricity Authority and the Central Water Commission have found that the project would be beneficial to the state.
The minister's statement contradicts his own earlier stance that it is difficult to implement the project braving opposition from various groups. Ever since the project was announced, environmentalists have been opposing it citing the hazards it would cause.
Political parties, including opposition Congress and ruling ally CPI, have also strongly opposed the project.