NEW DELHI: Factoring in on the BJP-pronounced stand not to demolish ‘Ram Sethu’, the Central Government is in the process of exploring an alternative route for the launch of Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project (SSCP), a source of much controversy, ever since it was flagged off.
“We are in the process of exploring an alternative route for the SSCP through Pamban Pass without affecting Ram Sethu/Adam’s Bridge,” a Shipping Ministry official said on Tuesday, citing the Rail India Technical and Economic Service study on an alternative route. The report submitted in this regard came up with several alternatives.
“We are studying the report,” the official said. Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari had recently said that the question of demolishing ‘Ram Sethu’ for implementing the SSCP did not arise. In November, the minister had inspected the area by air in a Coast Guard aircraft and through sea by hovercraft.
The SSCP project, which envisages dredging a ship channel across Palk Straits, providing a shorter navigational route for ships from East and West coasts of the country, instead of circumventing Sri Lanka, has hit a block after protests over the proposed demolition of Ram Sethu. The BJP Government, after coming to power, has made it clear that Ram Sethu structure will not be demolished.
The Tamil Nadu Government has opposed the project on the ground that it will affect the livelihood of fishermen, already under much strain.
Once the project is implemented, it would result in India getting a continuous navigable route within its territorial waters.