Home > Archives (2006 on) > 2008 > May 31, 2008 > On Sethusamudram Project

Mainstream, Vol XLVI, No 24

On Sethusamudram Project

Monday 2 June 2008, by S G Vombatkere


The Supreme Court has asked the government to make a statement on the historicity of the Ram Setu. If the government can show that the Ram Setu is historical, it becomes a national monument that must be preserved. If the government cannot show its historicity, the religious plea will hold good and the result is likely to be the same, namely, that the Sethusamudram Canal Project will have to be scrapped or the canal re-aligned overland.

The politicisation of the project has resulted in sidelining three very important issues that should demand an honest review of the project. One, people who are dependent on the shore for fishing and other related livelihoods will be displaced and made destitute whether the channel is re-aligned or not. Two, the massive and irreversible ecological damage that will have long-term ill-effects on the coasts of India and SriLanka. And three, the fact that the technical viability (effectiveness and associated costs of dredging a channel that will re-fill with shifting sands in hours, location for dumping dredged material, etc.) and economic viability (time taken to transit the canal comparable to circumnavigating Sri Lanka, tonnage and draught of vessels that can use the canal, total volume of traffic versus charges for transit, IRR of the project, etc.) have not been established.

Maj General S G Vombatkere,
- Mysore VSM (Retd)

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