Karunanidhi decries efforts to stall Sethusamudram project

Decrying efforts to stall Sethusamudram Shipping Channel Project, DMK chief M Karunanidhi said it had been in consideration since Jawaharlal Nehru`s days but `Ramasethu` was causing roadblocks now.

Chennai: Decrying efforts to stall the multi-crore Sethusamudram Shipping Channel Project, DMK chief M Karunanidhi on Thursday said it had been in consideration since the days of former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru-led government but `Ramasethu` was causing roadblocks now.
He said various technical studies since 1955 had argued for feasibility of the project in the Palk Straits and that National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) was in 2001 handed over the task of taking up new studies by then BJP government.

In a letter to party workers, the 88 year-old leader, a strong supporter of the project, said NEERI had recommended Alignment No.6 which he said included Adam`s Bridge (Ramasethu).

"BJP which had approved the alignment then, is opposing it now," he said referring to the March 3 BJP National Council meeting where the party had said any tampering with the ancient structure would not be acceptable to the party.

He said the Environment and Forest Ministry had given its clearance in 2005 after various studies, adding "it is clear that the area around Adam`s Bridge had no geographical evidence to show the existence of a man-made structure." Neither was there any archaeological proof.

While AIADMK general secretary and chief Minister J Jayalalithaa was now opposing the project in the light of Ramasethu, the party`s election manifestos in 2001 and 2004 had argued for the project, he said.

Karunanidhi said that in 1998 then Prime Minister A B Vajpayee had promised to implement the project.

At various points of time, the term Ramasethu never found a mention and was only known as Adam`s Bridge, he said and pressed for the implementation of the project.