Centre to Take Call on Sethu in One Month

RITES report on alternative route for canal project ready, says Union Minister Gadkari

Published: 16th September 2014 06:06 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th September 2014 07:52 AM   |  A+A-

CHENNAI: Ram Sethu will not be broken for the proposed Sethu Samudram Shipping Canal Project and a decision on the new alignment will be taken in the next one month, Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari said on Monday. Addressing a televised press conference which was attended by journalists from several Indian cities, the minister said that he will visit the site of Ram Sethu before forwarding the proposal to Union Cabinet and Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He said that Union government has given RITES (Rail India Technical and Economic Service) the task of identifying alternative routes to save the structure.

“The report by RITES is ready and it will be put before the cabinet. A decision will be taken within a month,” Gadkari said.

“We are also seeking the advice of international consultant on these alternatives before arriving at a decision,” Gadkari said.

The proposal to build the Sethusamudram shipping canal project for dredging was for navigation of large ships and creating fishing and shipping harbours in the coastal areas.

The minister said that there are four to five alternatives and a decision will be worked out without destroying Ram Sethu, which is a continuous stretch of limestone shoals that runs from Rameshwaram island to Mannar off the northern coast of Sri Lanka.

The project, considered as the pet project of DMK, was inaugurated during UPA-1 regime in 2006. The project was allotted `4,000 crore initially to start dredging works for the new shipping canal.

chip system to cut time at toll

Chennai: Now vehicles travelling on the national highway stretch will no more have to wait in the long queue to pay toll fee as the Centre is planning to roll out an electronic system. Union Minister for Road Transport, Nitin Gadkari said his ministry along with ICICI Bank was mulling a proposal to introduce Radio Frequency ID-based electronic toll collection in 359 toll plazas.

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