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When 7 friends joined forces to build a dam, power a hospital in Kerala

The seven friends behind the mini hydroelectric power project in Mukkudam, Idukki, Kerala. Image Credit: Special Arrangement.

If a group of committed friends comes together for a cause, then they can even move mountains. Yes, that’s what happened at Mukkudam, Idukki, Kerala where seven friends came together and launched a small hydroelectric dam at a cost of Rs 31 crore to generate 4 MW of power.

What’s more, the friends have decided to provide 10,000 units of power free to Adimali government taluk hospital as part of their commitment to contribute to society.

Rakesh Roy, Unni S Sankar, Nitish S J, Renjini M, Faris E M, Cyriac Jose, and Rijo Joseph shared a common passion to chase a dream of starting their own venture in Kerala right from their academic days at FISAT Engineering College in Angamaly. Although they all went different ways after passing out of the college in 2006, they kept this burning desire alive in their hearts. After years, they all joined hands to launch the Small Hydropower Project at Mukkudam, Idukki.

The mini hydro electric power dam at Mukkudam

According to Rakesh Roy, the idea for the project was sparked when he learned about the Kerala government giving approval for privately-owned Small Hydro Power Projects in Kerala.

“I immediately thought of setting up a hydroelectric power project in my native place at Kambilikandam in Idukki, where I know the streams and the topography,” said Rakesh Roy, who, along with his friends, formed a company, Mukkudam Electro Energy Private Limited, to set up the mini-hydroelectric dam.

“There is a huge scope for private projects not only in the hydropower sector but also in wind and solar power in Kerala. Kerala offers a huge opportunity for small hydropower projects because of a lot of small brooks and streams that carry abundant water in the rainy season,” Rakesh told “Open Digest“.

The friends conducted a study of the spot they identified for the project and prepared a detailed project report. Although they initially prepared a project report in 2015 for a one MW power unit, they revised the project and submitted a project for 4 MW after realizing that the spot had more water flow than they expected.

After obtaining all necessary approvals, they began construction of the dam with a height of 10 meters and a length of 29.4 meters at Chathurakallippara in 2021 and completed the project in October 2023 at a cost of Rs 31 crore. The water from the dam is taken to the power house through a penstock having a length of 1.31 km.

“Two turbines generate a power of 4 MW, and the project is connected to the grid of Kerala State Electricity Board,” he said, adding that they have identified several additional sites for setting up small hydropower projects in the future.

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