Friday, September 12, 2008

Setu channel: Kannagi’s curse anniversary on inaugural day; project misses deadline.

Setu channel: Kannagi’s curse anniversary on inaugural day; project misses deadline.

Thanks to Commander Unninathan for the brilliant note. It is Kannagi's curse anniversary indeed. Kannagi, the Tamil divinity will NOT allow the desiccation of Sethusamudram with a project which is a nautical folly and a mariner's nightmare. Maa Kannagi will take care of the welfare of the people of Bharatam, of the coastal people through marine economic zones and development of deep-sea container ports at Kochi and Vizhinjam to link up with the mainland through container-rail-coordination.

namaskaram. kalyanaraman

Commander GVK Unnithan September 12th, 2008 9:59 am :
The deadline was unilaterally decided by the Min of Shipping resulting from a wishful thinking. Infact the Shipping Ministry had boasted that the inaguration will take place on 8th of Oct 2008 ! None of the predicton considered the ground realities. The saving of the 424/785/30 syndrome is not at all practical. May be 12-18 hours would be gained at a very heavy cost. Has any one in the maritime industry or a professional shipper ok ed the project? None. It is a poitical canal for swindling the public money and adding one more name in the list of sick PSUs. Even if the courts clear it and the canal is opened, only coastal vessels can use it due to depth restrictions as no ocean going cargo ship/ oil tanker will use it as it is economically unviable. Added to this was the various govt officials concerned were working at cross purpose resulting embarassment to the govt at least more than twice. The inaguration of the Project has taken place on the very same day, when Kannagi cursed the city of Madurai for killing her husband Kovilan ( Shilappathikaram by Elango Adigal). Then how is the project going to materialise?

Sethusamudram channel project likely to miss deadline
Sep 12th, 2008 | By Sindh Today

New Delhi, Sep 12 (IANS) The controversial Sethusamudram ship channel to link India’s eastern and western coasts to avoid a 785-km detour around Sri Lanka is expected to overshoot its October deadline, as petitions against it are still pending in courts and only 25 percent of the work has been completed, officials said here.

The Rs.242.7 billion ($6 billion) project aims to create a 167-km-long navigable channel to link the Gulf of Mannar with the Bay of Bengal via Adam’s Bridge, Palk Bay and Palk Strait between India and neighbouring Sri Lanka.

‘As of now, nearly 25 percent physical progress has been achieved. Efforts are on to expedite the execution. But meeting the October deadline does not seem possible,’ said a senior official in the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation (S&PI).

The ministry oversees the implementation of major central sector projects related to several fields like atomic energy, power, railways, shipping, roads and highways.
The Sethusamudram project was sanctioned in June 2005. It was the first major shipping infrastructure project Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government sanctioned after assuming office in April 2004.

The Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways is implementing the project with the active participation of Tuticorin Port Trust (TPT).

‘The delay was inevitable in view of several litigations in the Madras High Court and even the Supreme Court. Two precious years were lost in riding out all these hurdles,’ the official, who requested anonymity, told IANS.

Said a senior official of Sethusamudram Corporation Ltd (SCL): ‘The dredging is going on at the Palk Bay side. Whether the deadline is met or not depends upon the court’s (Supreme Court) final verdict.’

‘It is a good project, and will help the country in furthering trade interests. We will save a lot of time, energy and money once the channel gets operational,’ the official told IANS on phone from Chennai.

At present ships cannot use the channel, partly because of the sand stone reef called Adam’s bridge at Pamban, near Rameswaram, where the depth of the sea is hardly 11 feet.

When completed, the channel will save nearly 424 nautical miles or 785 km and around 30 hours of sailing time for ships navigating between India’s east and west coasts.
The project ran into controversy soon after the central government decided to start the work with several organisations including the country’s main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) opposing the channel.

They claimed that the channel would destroy the bridge now called Adam’s Bridge. The epic Ramayana says the bridge was built by the army of Lord Ram on its way to Lanka for the battle with Ravan and the rescue of Sita.

The project has also raised the hackles of some environmentalists who say the shoals form a unique ecosystem that will be destroyed by the dredging, while the sand being dredged from the spot and being dumped in the seabed elsewhere will also destroy a lot of marine life.

The centre has, however, in an affidavit to the Supreme Court termed the opposition to the project as ‘misconceived’ and ‘unsubstantiated’ and asked the court to ‘refrain from interdicting’.

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