M A I N   N E W S

Govt not to demolish Ram Setu

New Delhi, July 23
The chances of Ram Setu being spared brightened today when, reacting to the Supreme Court suggestion, the Union government agreed to take an alternative route while completing the Setusamudram Shipping Canal Project (SSCP).

A Bench comprising Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justices R.V. Raveendran and J.M. Panchal suggested senior counsel F.S. Nariman appearing for the Union of India (UoI) that the government should do some balancing act between faith and biosphere and must not hurt the former even if a little damage was caused to the latter.

Justice Raveendran also suggested that the government should not try to create an issue where there was none.

He also told Nariman that the situation would have been different had there been no alternative alignment but when a number of alignments/alternatives were available then why insist on demolishing Ram Setu?

Nariman agreed to the suggestion of the apex court and assured the latter that he would advise the government to look into the same seriously, while contending that when no one went to worship the place, therefore it ceased to be a place of worship.

The court, however, said if faith of the people was involved, a little diversion in the route of the Sethusamudram Canal, which would link Rameshwaram coast to Sri Lanka and was likely to reduce the navigation time considerably, was desirable.

The Supreme Court also suggested to the UoI to consider whether a little diversion would be appropriate for the government “scientifically, technically, economically and most important, politically.” Earlier, counsel for the petitioners, that include former union minister Dr Subramanian Swamy and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa, concluded their arguments while seeking a declaration from the court that Ram Setu was a national heritage and therefore should not be demolished or destroyed.

According to the petitioner, eight alignments are available and the government is insisting on taking the route, which will involve demolition of Ram Setu without any justification and the Archaeological Survey of India has not carried out any scientific study till date to ascertain whether it is manmade or a natural formation.

Nariman, however, referred to Kamban Ramayan, in which it has been said Ram Setu was constructed by Lord Rama to reach Sri Lanka to free his wife Sita but while returning, the bridge was destroyed by Lord Rama himself. Therefore, the government was not demolishing any setu or bridge because as no bridge existed there. — UNI



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