Govt to protect Ram Setu

Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday said that the government would submit a proposal to the Supreme Court to resolve the impasse over the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project, but would no way cause damage to the “Ram Setu”.

“We will submit before the Supreme Court such a proposal which would be acceptable to all and which would provide a way out (of the impasse over Sethusamudram project),” Gadkari told the Lok Sabha during Question Hour. He was replying to a supplementary question by the Biju Janata Dal MP, B Mahtab.

He said that it was the stand of the BJP-led NDA government that what was perceived as Ram Setu would not be broken to pursue the Sethusamudram project. “Our government has a very clear stand on this issue,” he added.

The sethusamudram project is intended to build a shipping channel between India and Sri Lanka, linking Palk Bay and Gulf of Manner. The project got entangled in controversies with questions being raised about its economic viability and environmental impact.

Several organizations opposed the project on the ground that it would cause damage to the Ram Setu – a chain of limestone shoals, between Rameswaram Island, off the southeastern coast of Tamil Nadu and Mannar Island off the northwestern coast of Sri Lanka.

Noting that the issues related to sethusamudram project were pending before the Supreme Court, Gadkari said that he had of late been briefed about four alternative proposals for the project.

“There is another proposal pending before the Supreme Court. Yet another proposal triggered some concerns about environmental impact,” he said.

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