The central government on Friday informed the Supreme Court that the Ram Setu or Rama’s Bridge in Rameswaram will not be touched during the construction of Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project. The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led Centre further stated that it will explore an alternative route for the project which aims at creating a shipping route between India and Sri Lanka. The government has cited interest of the nation for not executing the project as planned earlier.
Anant Kishore Saran, Director of Shipping Ministry, stated that the government of India had filed an affidavit with the Supreme Court on February 22, 2013, and September 9, 2013. In the affidavit, the government intended to pursue the implementation of the Sethusamudram project after understanding the advantages of it. But the latest u-turn has come as the Centre is now considering the socio-economic disadvantages of the project.
The government is objecting to the proposed alignment and hence, will not go forward with it. The affidavit submitted to the apex court further read that an alternative route will be sought in order to avoid any damage to the Adam’s Bridge/Ram Sethu in the interest of the nation.
According to the initial plan, the Sethusamudram project is to be dredged in the Sethusamudram sea between Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka, passing through the limestone shoals of Ram Setu. It involves 83.2 km long deepwater digging. But ever since the government gave approval to the project, it has been opposed by people on religious, environmental and economic grounds.