The Kerala High Court today made it clear that the controversial 163 MW Athirapally hydel project, proposed in Thrissur district, cannot go ahead without environmental clearance from the central government.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice Ashok Bhushan and A M Shaffique issued the direction on a batch of petitions filed against the implementation of the project.
Earlier, the environmental clearance granted by the central government had expired following which a high-level meeting was conducted on May 19 taking a decision to obtain sanction from the Environment Ministry.
Recording this, the bench closed the petitions in this regard.
Environmentalists have raised fears that clearance to the project would result in destruction of wildlife habitat in Athirapally-Vazhachal forest ranges along the Western Ghats.
The project had received techno-economic clearance in 2005. However, the Ministry of Environment and Forest had, in a showcause notice in January 2010, asked the state government why the clearances accorded earlier to the project should not be revoked.