Chennai: A day after the Supreme Court sought
to know the Centre`s stand on Ram Sethu, Tamil Nadu Chief
Minister Jayalalithaa on Wednesday asked the union government to
declare it a national monument without further delay.
In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, she said her
government would also separately file a counter to express its
stand in this regard before the Apex Court, where the issue
has been posted for further hearing on March 29.
"In view of the strong objection raised to the earlier
alignment due to its archaeological, historical and cultural
importance, I request you to take necessary action to
communicate the views of the Government of India to the
Supreme Court that it would take immediate steps for declaring
the site as a National Monument without any further delay."
She noted that the Apex Court has directed the Additional
Solicitor General to obtain the remarks of the Centre before
Thursday on declaring the site as a national monument.
Jayalalithaa said petitions have been filed in the Supreme
Court regarding the Sethu Samudram Channel Project.
"Based on the strong opposition to the earlier Alignment 6
cutting across the ancient structure, popularly known as Ram
Sethu due to its immeasurable historical, archaeological and
heritage value, a number of writ petitions were filed in the
Madras High Court and in the Supreme Court," she said.
Jayalalithaa recalled filing a petition in 2007 praying for
direction to Tuticorin Port Trust and Ministry of Culture, to
declare Adam’s Bridge/Ram Sethu as a national monument.
It had also sought to take it over, preserve and maintain
the same and forebear Ministry of Shipping/Surface Transport
and Sethu Samudram Corporation Limited from in any manner
destroying/damaging the site in the process of execution of
Sethu Samudram Project.
Jayalalithaa said she would be sending her government`s
views on the R K Pachauri Expert Committee which was appointed
by the Centre in 2008 on the directions of the Apex Court.
The Prime Minister-appointed panel, headed by Pachauri, had
examined the feasibility of executing the controversial
Sethusamudram project through Dhanuskodi instead of routing it
through Rama Sethu.