Centre filed an affidavit in the Supreme Court on Friday saying
it had abandoned the alignment that would have involved dredging Ram Sethu or Adam’s Bridge for the Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project
(SSCP). Eleven years ago, the SC had directed the centre to find an Alternative
alignment to the ship canal project. But no serious effort was made by both the
UPA and NDA governments though a sum of Rs one thousand crores of tax payers
money had been sunk into the project.
the canal in the Gulf of Mannar has been completed way back in 2007 when the
controversy over Ram set erupted.
The shipping ministry told the SC it stood by the UPA
government’s affidavits filed in February and September 2013 conveying the
decision to pursue the Sethusamudram project, but “considering the
socio-economic disadvantages of Alignment No. 6 (that required dredging of Ram
Sethu), the government of India does not want to implement the said alignment.”
The project will help ships reach Chennai from Tuticorin Port in South Tamil Nadu
without having to circumnavigate the entire island nation of Sri Lanka.
“The Centre intends to explore the alternative to the earlier alignment of
Sethusamudram project without affecting/damaging Adam’s Bridge/Ram Sethu in the
interest of the nation. The SC may dispose of the petitions accordingly,”
additional solicitor general Pinky Anand told a bench headed by Chief Justice
in the Sethusamdudram project say barring a visit to the project site once by
the shipping minister Gadkari and the former shipping secretary no tangible steps
have been taken to complete the project. The BJP opposes the project on
ideological grounds, The fact of the matter is any alternative to alignment six
would compromise on the availability of adequate draft for the ships to pass
through the Canal.
completion of the ship canal project has of late assumed strategic importance
in view of the excessive presence of Chinese Naval ships in the Indian Ocean
Region as well as Bay of Bengal and
Chinese companies take-over of Hambantota Port in Sri Lanka, China also
considerable presence in Colombo Port.
these circumstances it would be naïve from the security point of view that
there could no movement of ships from North to South Tamil Nadu except to
circumnavigate via Sri Lanka, The ship canal project provides direct shipping
connectivity between Northern and Southern parts of Tamil Nadu, crucial for
country’s security, the sources said.