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Sethu Project Will Harm Marine Environment Badly: Jaya

The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister said the project would affect the marine wealth in the sea including traditional fish population and coral reefs that helped in breeding fish.

Published: 29th March 2014 08:05 PM  |   Last Updated: 29th March 2014 08:13 PM   |  A+A-

Jayalalithaa
By PTI

Describing the Sethusamudram project as a "useless" one that could harm the marine environment badly, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa said Centre had wasted Rs 830 crore on it.

The project envisages dredging of a shipping channel across the Palk Straits between India and Sri Lanka.

Campaigning for Anwar Raja, AIADMK candidate from Ramanathapuram constituency, Jayalalithaa wondered why the DMK was so keen to implement such a project.

"Is it for the benefit of the people of the state or for self-interest," she asked.

She said the project would affect the marine wealth in the sea including traditional fish population and coral reefs that helped in breeding fish. Besides,it would affect the livelihood of the fishermen, she said.

"AIADMK is opposing the project because the fishermen are against it," Jayalalithaa said. Besides big ships could not pass through the Sethusamudram channel, she claimed.

Even the State-owned Poompuhar shipping corporation ships, carrying 30 per cent of the coal requirement of thermal power stations of Tamil Nadu would not be able to pass through the channel, she said.

Even for small ships to pass through, the channel should be dredged frequently and recurring expenditure would be heavy she said, opposing the project.

AIADMK was planning schemes for people but DMK was planning schemes with self-interest, she alleged.

Talking about fishermen's problems in this coastal district under which Rameswaram falls, Jayalalithaa slammed the UPA Government for failure to prevent the attacks on them by Sri Lankan Naval personnel.

She said steps would be taken to resolve the issue once all the fishermen detained in Sri Lanka were released and her government would support talks between the fishermen of Lanka and Tamil Nadu and find an amicable solution so that they could fish without any problem in the Palk Strait.

She also assured Muslims, who are in significant number in this constituency, that she would take steps to increase the reservation for the community from the present 3.5 per cent.

Listing the development works being undertaken in the district, Jayalalithaa said she had increased the pension for the Ulemas.

She also mentioned about the grant given for Muslims and Christians for visiting their respective holy places -- Mecca and Jerusalem -- and also loan assistance given through Minorities Welfare Board.

The People were so vexed and frustrated with the Congress regime, that their state of mind was similar to the one that existed during the pre-independence period, when they wanted to throw out Britishers who plundered the country "Now they want to defeat the Congress," she added.

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