Sethusamudram project to go ahead: Baalu

November 14th, 2007 - 2:55 am ICT by admin  
“More than 60 percent work in the Palk Straits, separating India and Sri Lanka, is over while dredging near the Adam’s Bridge, a 48- kilometre chain of limestone shoals that once linked Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu to Mannar in Sri Lanka, has been stopped following Supreme Court orders,” Baalu said.

He said over 60 billion rupees has been spent on the project.

“Actually as far as Palk Strait is concerned, it is 65-70 percent complete. Overall, as of now, we have completed 8-9 million cubic meters in Adam’s bridge,” Baalu added.

Earlier, asserting that the project will be completed by November 2008, he said that the first ship that will cross the Adam’s bridge would be flagged off by UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Meanwhile, the Union Minister of State for Home, Sriprakash Jaiswal, had said that the UPA Government would abide by the Supreme Court’s verdict on the multi-crore-ship channel project.

A fresh row erupted last month after the Central Government filed a statement before the Supreme Court on the project, saying that Hinduism’s most important texts are not proof of the existence of Hindu gods.

But the Congress party led ruling coalition backtracked on the ‘affidavit’ the next day and sought three months time from the apex court to file an amended one, following threats of nationwide protests by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Hindu groups have been opposing the 560 million dollar project, saying it would destroy the ‘holy’ Ram Sethu, a 48-kilometre chain of limestone shoals that once linked Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu to Mannar in Sri Lanka.

According to the Central Government, research has shown that the Ram Setu was a series of sand shoals created by sedimentation, but according to Hindus the narrow link, also known as Adam’s Bridge, was built by Lord Rama.

The Sethusamudram Project will dredge a channel in a narrow strip of sea between India and Sri Lanka, reducing distances and cutting costs for freight traffic for ships moving from the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal.

Dredging for the project began in 2005, and the channel — 12 metres deep, 300 metres wide and almost 90 km long — will provide a crucial link between the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar once completed. (ANI)

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