Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Fragile Jaffna threatened by SSCP.

Given below are the excerpts from scholarly researches

on the formation of Jaffna and

the expected results of inundation of Northern Srilanka, if Ram Sethu is dredged.

Of additional interest is the information that there was no sea

in between Srilanka and India long ago.

This is what is being made out from the description found in Valmiki Ramayana too

in its narration of the digging of the ground by the sons of Sagara.

Details of this have already been posted in



Complete article on the Srilankans' research on the outcome of SSCP

on their lands can be read in the link below.

It must be noted that these reservations were raised in 1999 itself

when the SSCP was proposed by the then Government.


Mudaliyar C. Rasanayagam was the first to write about

the formation of the Jaffna peninsula

in his "Yarlpana Charitiram."

He wrote - The present Jaffna peninsula, a thousand years before Christ,

was two separate Island. The big island was called by the names of Maetkae-Nagathiepam (West Nagathiepam) Mani - Nagatheipam, Manipuri and Manipallavam, whereas the second island which was smaller in size

located in the East was called by the names Erumai - Mullaithievu and Erumativu.

Due to the frequent occurrence of flood and other natural calamities,

the big island disintegrated into several small islands

such as Karaitivu, Velanai, Mandaitivu, Pungdutivu,

Analaitivu, Nainativu, Nedunthievu (Delft) and

the Valigamam region of the present Jaffna peninsula,

but they were earlier a part of the big Island.

The Island in the East, due to the shallow sea,

it became the part of Vadamaradchy, Thenmaradchy and Pachilaipalli region.

Due to monsoons, the accumulated sand formed into ridges and

elevated the lower portions of the Elephant pass shallow sea and

blocked the flow of water from the sea,

led to the formation of the present Jaffna peninsula.

Thus geographically, the peninsula came into existence

by the merger of the portions of two islands.

Peninsula with its sprout thrust into the sea,

rest mostly on a limestone coral bed, that span the entire region,

and over-topped with sand brought down by the tidal waves from the adjacent coast. There are ample of proof that,

several rivers that were earlier flowing in those two islands

are still active and flowing through underground channels into the sea.

(Translation from the Tamil version).

A survey confirmed

S. U. Deraniyagala
of the department of Archeological Survey, confirmed

the analysis out forward by Mudaliyar C. Rasanayagam.

When describing the physiography of the Jaffna peninsula,

Deraniyagala in his The Prehistory of Sri Lanka, writes

"The Jaffna Peninsula and the offshore islands –

presents a monotonous flat landscape,

with many of the physical features characteristic of limestone regions,

such as caverns and sink-holes, brought about

by the solution of the limestone along joints and fissures,

as is the case with the northern coastal lowlands in general.

There are large areas of blown sand,

and this is especially marked on the eastern aspects of the peninsula and the islands."

This goes to proof that, the Jaffna peninsula sits on the limestone bed

and the limestone found in this region are too soft to be of any use.

According to geological survey,

it became apparent that these limestone beds on which the peninsula sits,

extend far beyond the island of Rameswaram,

"The present bed of Palk Strait, which separates India from Lanka,

consists of Miocene limestone,

suggesting that the Jaffna limestone formation is a continuous one,

extending from north-western Lanka up to southern India." –

[The Prehistory of Sri Lanka, by S. U. Deraniyagala].

"In former times there was no sea between Tutukudi (Tutucorin) and Lanka;

but there stood the city of Ravana." – Rajavaliya.

Earlier, Sri Lanka was a part of the South Indian peninsula,

subsequently, separated by a series of lineaments in the Palk Strait region.

Both India and Sri Lanka stand in the same continental shelf or platform.

The shelf is shallow and does not exceed 70 meters in depth at its maximum.

This goes to prove that the floor-bed of the Jaffna peninsula and

the 85 islands in the Western sea-shore from the peninsula to Galle

(names of these islands and their respective areas in hectares are given within brackets,

at the end of this article, for the information of the readers)

are connected with the Miocene lime stone formation with Rameswaran

which stretches continuously into Southern India.

Therefore once a canal with a total length of 99.88 nautical miles is laid by dredging the sea-floor 60 to 80 feet below the present level,

it would tend to break the continuous limestone formation,

which would result in causing sudden tilting, drift, gravitational pull and

numerous other violent process.

This might take place deep inside the floor-bed of Gulf of Mannar

and the ocean around the islands.

This process of land subsidence may not happen immediately,

but there is every likelihood of sea overcoming several islands belonging to Sri Lanka

in the western coast and Jaffna peninsula along with several areas

in the Western portion of the mainland inundated and

gradually to sink into the ocean in the very near future.

Furthermore, Oceanographers view that a great portion of the Indian Ocean

around the tip of the Indian peninsula is an ancient area in transition and

has not yet completed its full formation.

This section of the Indian Ocean has the most complex relief and the

earth crust is still in motion, as evidenced by volcanic eruptions and earthquakes.

Many oceanographers believe that this part of the ocean has developed differently

from all other sections.

Accordingly, it is understood

that the cherty siliceous nodules in the Miocene limestone found in the sea floor

are too soft, because they are yet to develop.

Therefore, it is feared that excavating the undeveloped limestone coral reef

would bring about catastrophic effect in the future.

Joao de Barros and Diogo do Couto, the two Portuguese historians,

assert that earlier around Sri Lanka

"there were more thirty thousand islands.

Already in the time of Ptolemy, who lived in the year of our Lord 143,

it appears that the sea had begun to cause this devastation:

because he says that around Tapobrana (Taprobane)

there were one thousand three hundred and seventy - eight islands."

The History of Ceylon - from the Earliest Times to 1600 AD.

Presently, we are only left with 113 islands around the mainland.

According to a recent survey, it is feared that,

several of these tiny islands are facing the danger of submersion.

At the 150 nations climate conference under the auspices of the United Nations,

held at Koyota, Japan on 8 December 1997,

the President of the tiniest Island Republic of Nauru,

(in the middle of the Pacific Ocean), Kinza Coldumar,

expressed concern and uncertainty, (as well as fear)

regarding the dangers the small Island nations in the Pacific and Indian ocean regions

are facing, as sea-water levels continues to raise.

This rise is around two feet above the sea-level due to uncontrollable factors

such as the global warming, El nino, an abnormal weather pattern

that might cause the submersion of several small Islands.

The uncertain climatic conditions should be viewed as a dangerous precursor

for a future global change.

According to another observation,

the sea level has already risen with an average of 10 to 25 centimeters

over the past 100 years

and the scientists expect the rising rates to increase,

even if the climate stabilized because ocean reacts slowly to changes.

Therefore, it is unfortunately that even after 51 years of attaining independence,

Sri Lanka, a country surrounded by sea,

has not formed a department or a specialized agency

to study and analyze the ocean around the country,

with special emphasis on the implications of the vast ocean around us.

As there is no government up to now have not taken up the issue

with the Indian government regarding the proposed dredging of

the Sethusamudram ship canal.

Thus, the Government has to study this project immediately,

with its environmental impacts, then urge the Indian Government

to reconsider the proposal. This would save the island country

and the small islands around it from any cataclysm in future.

(Weekend Express -16/01/99 & 17/01/99)

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