Centre Brushes Aside TN Govt’s Objection on Ram Sethu

New Delhi : The Centre has brushed aside the objections raised by the Tamil Nadu Government against the Rs 25,000 crore Sethusamudram shipping channel project by telling the Supreme Court that it intends to go ahead with the venture as the expert panel headed by R K Pachauri has not come out with tenable and scientific data.

Tamil Nadu government had said that the controversial project should be scrapped and the Centre should accept the Committee report that has found the entire project unviable on two fronts — economically and ecologically.

In response to the contention of the state government that the project would adversely affect marine biodiversity and the Centre be directed to declare Ram Sethu as a national monument, the Centre submitted that environmental clearance to it was granted only after a careful examination of all relevant factors and the project would prove to be beneficial in public interest and economic terms.

The affidavit by Ministry of Shipping said, “The summary report has provided detailed guidelines for mitigation, including after the project is constructed, fully suggesting the project will be green-lighted.

“Yet, inexplicably, the committee concludes that the project is not viable. Conclusions are neither derived from nor supported by detailed scientific studies conducted by them,” it said.

The affidavit further said the committee arbitrarily and contrary to the findings of its own studies concluded that the project is not viable.

“Clearly, the recommendations of the committee are not tenable and are not supported by the scientific data and by the environmental studies commissioned by it,” it said.

The Centre said the committee’s conclusion that Alignment 4A (an alternative route suggested by the court as against the original Alignment 6 which will cut through Ram Sethu) was not acceptable, was not supported by detailed studies.

Tamil Nadu’s demand to declare the Ram Sethu/Adam’s Bridge, located southeast of Rameswaram near Pamban in Tamil Nadu, as a national monument did not find favour with the Centre.

“The committee of eminent persons constituted in 2007 has exhaustively studied the case for and against the project and has noted that no archaeological study has been undertaken in the Ram Sethu/Adam’s Bridge area by the Archaeological Survey of India,” the affidavit claimed.

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