A report said on Thursday that the Union government has taken a decision not to go ahead with the original alignment of Sethusamudram Shipping Canal project in order to protect Ram Sethu or Adam’s Bridge.
At a meeting with a few Cabinet colleagues on Wednesday, PM Narendra Modi decided that the government should file a fresh affidavit in the Supreme Court making its stand on Ram Sethu clear.
The Times of India reported on Thursday that the Shipping Ministry will soon come out with a detailed proposal that would be placed before the Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs (CCPA), following which the fresh affidavit would be filed in the Supreme Court.
In 2014, Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari had categorically stated that the “sacred structure associated with Lord Ram” won’t be damaged under any circumstances.
And now, the government has decided that any alignment – whether original or alternate – that damages the Ram Sethu won’t be approved.
The government’s decision is aimed at taking care of both its political objectives as well as environmental concerns.
The Supreme Court had earlier this month asked the Centre to make its stand clear on the canal that aims to facilitate navigation between India’s east and west coasts.
A bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A M Khanwilkar, and Justice D Y Chandrachud had directed the Centre to state its position, after Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy said that the Centre has said that Ram Sathu will not be touched.
The Sethusamudram project has been facing stiff resistance from some environmentalists and Hindu groups as alignment number 6 in the Palk Strait to facilitate navigation between India’s east and west coasts was to pass through the mythological ‘Ram Sethu’.
The alternate alignment 4A was to cut through the spit of land just east of Dhanushkodi bypassing and thus save the mythical bridge. But this alternate alignment did not find favour with the experts.
The shipping canal or Sethusamudram project was mooted by the erstwhile United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. The BJP had opposed it, saying Ram Sethu associated with Lord Ram’s passage to Sri Lanka.