CHENNAI: Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has resumed her fight to save the historic Adam’s Bridge or Ram Sethu from the controversial Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project. The DMK has been championing the Ram Sethu cause, pressuring its UPA ally the Congress to execute the controversial project that may hurt religious sentiments as well as raising archaeological debates. Jaya has written to prime minister Manmohan Singh to declare Ram Sethu a national monument, but he hasn’t written back.
The issue hit the limelight after the Supreme Court, on March 27, directed the Centre to clarify its stand on declaring the Ram Sethu a national monument. The Court, gave two weeks time to the Centre to clarify its stand. The bench has posted the matter for further hearing on April 19.
The Supreme Court’s direction has boosted Jayalalithaa’s efforts. In the letter to the PM, she referred to her writ petition pending before the Supreme Court since 2007. “In view of the strong objection raised to the earlier alignment cutting across Ram Sethu due to its archaeological, historical and cultural importance, I request you to take necessary action to communicate the views of the Centre to the Supreme Court that it would take immediate steps for declaring the site as a national monument without any further delay,” Jayalalithaa’s letter read.
Jayalalithaa recalled that an expert committee under Dr R K Pachauri was appointed by the Centre in 2008, based on directions from the Supreme Court and the summary of the report by this committee has been forwarded to the State government for its remarks. “I have had the report of the expert committee examined by the concerned departments of my government and a letter is being sent separately to the Ministry of Shipping, communicating the views of the State government,” Jayalalithaa said.
The Supreme Court’s direction to the Centre came in a hearing challenging the current alignment of the Sethusamudram Canal through Ram Sethu. The bench also asked the Centre to place on record the Pachauri panel report. The panel was asked to look into the feasibility of changing the alignment of the Sethusamudram Canal without causing damage to Ram Sethu.