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Posted at: Mar 17, 2018, 1:38 AM; last updated: Mar 17, 2018, 1:38 AM (IST)

Won’t damage Ram Setu: Govt

Satya Prakash

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 16

The BJP-led NDA government has categorically told the Supreme Court that Ram Setu will not be damaged, while implementing the ambitious Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project as it has decided to explore an alternative to save it “in the interest of the nation”.

“Considering the socio-economic disadvantages of Alignment No. 6, the Government of India does not want to implement the said alignment,” stated an affidavit filed by Anant Kishore, Director, Ministry of Shipping. Alignment No. 6 required damaging Ram Setu for going ahead with the Setusamudram Project.

“The Government of India intends to explore an alternative to the earlier Alignment of Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project without affecting/ damaging the Adam’s Bridge/Ram Setu in the interest of the nation,” the affidavit further read.

The affidavit has been filed in response to the court’s November 13, 2017 direction asking the Centre to clarify its stand on Ram Setu in six weeks. A chain of limestone shoals between India and Sri Lanka, Ram Setu is worshipped by Hindus as they believe it was built by Lord Ram thousands of years ago to go to Sri Lanka to fight demon king Ravan who had abducted his wife Sita. It is situated is between Pamban or Rameswaram Island off the south-eastern coast of Tamil Nadu and Mannar Island on the north-western coast of Sri Lanka.

Under the project, an 83 km-long deep water channel was to be created, linking Mannar with Palk Strait, by extensive dredging and removal of the limestone shoals. Besides the BJP and some religious groups, many environmentalists also opposed the project.

Modi Government’s predecessor, the UPA government had in two affidavits told the top court that given the advantages of the project, the Centre intended to pursue and implement it.

The top court is seized of a PIL filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy challenging the legality of the against the project.


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