NEW DELHI: The Centre on Friday told the Supreme Court that it has decided not to damage the ‘Ram Sethu’ bridge for the Sethusamudram project which was initiated to facilitate navigation between India’s east and west coasts.
A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice D Y Chandrachud were informed by the Union Ministry of Shipping that it has decided to explore an alternative to the earlier alignment of the Sethusamudram Ship Channel project without affecting the Ram Sethu.
In a one page affidavit filed after four years, the ministry said, “The government of India intends to explore an alternative to the earlier alignment of Sethusamudram Ship Channel project without affecting/damaging the Adam’s Bridge/Ram Sethu in the interest of the nation.”
“Considering the socio-economic disadvantages of alignment number 6, the government doesn’t want to implement the said alignment,” reads the affidavit.
Additional Solicitor General Pinky Anand, appearing for the Centre, told the court when BJP leader Subramanian Swamy’s mentioned his PIL against the Sethusamudram project.
The PIL has sought that Ram Sethu should not be touched on the basis of religious beliefs. It was believed that Ram Sethu was built by Lord Rama’s army to cross the sea and had also sought a national heritage status for it.
The Sethusamudram project has been facing stiff resistance from environmentalists and Hindu groups. Ram Setu, between Pamban Island near Rameshwaram in India and Mannar Island off Sri Lanka, is 50km long.
The alternative alignment 4A was to cut through the spit of land just east of Dhanushkodi by-pass and thus save the mythical bridge. But this did not find favour with the experts.