Tell centre to scrap Sethu Samudram, TN urges SC

New Delhi, April 29 (IANS) The Tamil Nadu government has urged the Supreme Court to direct the central government not to proceed with the implementation of the Sethu Samudram Shipping Channel Project in the Palk Strait.

The channel will facilitate navigation between India’s east and west coasts.

In his affidavit before the apex court, Tamil Nadu government’s chief secretary said that besides its questionable economic viability, the shipping channel project would adversely affect the extreme eco-fragility of the surrounding area. The state government said that shipping channel project was not in public interest.

The Tamil Nadu government sought the court’s direction to the centre to “give careful consideration and to accept” the conclusion and recommendation of Dr. R.K. Pachauri’s report.

The affidavit filed April 15, 2013, urged the apex court bench of Justice H.L. Dattu and Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar to direct the centre to declare Rama Sethu as a national monument and stay away from currying out any activity which may affect it.

Justice Dattu and Justice Khehar directed the listing of the matter for final hearing in August.

In its report, Rajender Pachauri’s Committee said that the alternate alignment for building Sethu Samudram Ship channel, while saving the mythical Rama Sethu, was “neither ecologically nor economically” feasible.

Pachauri gave his report after the government asked him to look into the possibility of an alternate alignment for the Sethu Samudram channel which was to cut through the spit of land just east of Dhanushkodi, bypassing and saving the mythical Rama Sethu.

The committee was set up by the centre July 30, 2008.

The report said: “It should also be emphasised that prudent adaptation strategy to deal with projected impacts of climate change should ensure that infrastructure investments are made in away that will not pose any risk to life or property.”

The centre has not accepted the committee’s report, saying that it had gone beyond its terms of reference.

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