Sentimental journey to Setu, of a rationalist!
Press statement by
Dr. S. Kalyanaraman
President, Rameshwaram Rama Setu Raksha Manch.
7 June 2008 firstname.lastname@example.org
Hon'ble CM of Tamil Nadu, Thiru Mu. Karunanidhi's birthday poem of
self-eulogy (translated from Tamil) for his 85th birthday on 3 June
2008 includes the following lines:
"Respecting my trembling voice,
As I worked for this land, language during my lifetime,
Instead of killing the project by telling the name of Ram,
I appeal on the day of my birth as a message:
If you want to name it "Sethu-Ram", do it!"
It is amazing that a person who has been a rationalist all his life
has suddenly turned sentimental and with trembling voice. As a
rationalist, he should be pragmatic and carefully review the
socio-economic, ecological and security aspects of the dream-project.
Many experts have expressed their opinions that this is an uneconomic,
socially devastating scheme, a national security threat, disregarding
the ecological concerns of the neighbouring country, Sri Lanka. Sri
Lanka's 34 experts have said that the water supply to Jaffna and
Rameshwaram will be affected if the limestone caves of Rama Setu are
A rationalist will also evaluate alternative possibilities to increase
trade, say, expanding Tuthukudi (Tuticorin) as a container port with
transhipment facilities into a new Railway line linking Tuthukudi and
Chennai. Assuming that the objective of the project is to improve the
livelihood opportunities for the coastal people of Tamil Nadu, Marine
Economic Zones can be set up expanding the fishing facilities to 200
kms. from the coastline with improvements in fishing harbours,
cold-storage facilities, well-equipped fishing vessels to provide for
fishing activity in an expanded ocean zone of 200 kms. from the
coastline. Such MEZs will increase the foreign exchange earnings of
Tamil Nadu from Rs. 2000 crores to Rs. 8000 crores per annum through
export of marine products.
As a rationalist, Hon'ble CM has to review the opinions of
multi-disciplinary experts -- geologists, oceanography experts,
environmentalists, nuclear resource specialists knowledgeable about
the world's largest thorium deposits near Rama Setu, protective
measures to be put in place against another tsunami, putting in place
adequate coast guard security and most importantly, to explore
alternative avenues for livelihood opportunities for the coastal
people scrapping the Setu project and initiating MEZs.
Why should Hon'ble CM adopt ingenious methods of renaming Rama Setu as Setu-Ram?
If he is really keen to venerate the memory of Ram, he should consider
visiting Setutirtham for a pilgrimage to pay homage to the Tamil
ancestors, brilliant engineers like Nala, son of Vishwakarma who built
the Setu, the progenitors of Karikaala Chola's engineers who built the
Kallanai, the Grand Anicut on Kaveri. This resolve and remembrance of
ancestors will make the Hon'ble CM young and strong again and be
remembered as a rationalist who cared for protecting Setu, the World
Heritage made by Tamils under Shri Rama's orders, but also contributed
to making India a super-power (vallarasu).