New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked the Centre to make its stand clear on whether Ram Sethu could be declared a national monument.
While accepting the government plea for more time to make its stand clear on the matter, the apex court told the Centre that it had six weeks to place before it RK Pachauri`s report on the Sethusamudram project.
The SC had first directed the Centre in January to place before it the report of the Prime Minister-appointed expert panel on the feasibility of building an alternative shipping channel through Dhanuskodi instead of Ram Sethu around the country`s southern tip.
The six-member panel headed by Pachauri was set up in July 2008 by the PM to find a solution to the controversy over the Rs 2,240 crore Sethu Samudram Shipping Channel Project (SSCP).
SSCP proposes linking Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar between India and Sri Lanka by creating a shipping channel through the shallow sea and a chain of islands known as `Ram Sethu` and Adam`s Bridge.
The project was flagged off in 2005 but later met opposition following a decision to dredge `Ram Sethu`, believed to have been constructed by Lord Ram to cross to Sri Lanka.
A number of petitions, some of them transferred from Madras High Court to the apex court, have objected to the project on the ground of environmental concerns.
On April 21, 2010, the Supreme Court had put a virtual stop to SSCP, saying it would await a "full and comprehensive" Environmental Impact Analysis on feasibility of an alternative route through Dhanuskodi instead of Ram Sethu.
(With PTI inputs)