Sethu is back in news with the new set of ministers going vocal about their love for breaking Ram Sethu. Azhagiri, expressed his resolve to break it soon after swearing in and Vasan also did not lag behind in airing his intentions.
However I have a small hope on Vasan taking charge of Shipping ministry. He is a pious and balanced face groomed in Mooppanar image. I don’t think he will do anything to hurt the Hindu place of pilgrimage which is one of the oldest in the country, tracing its existence to Ramayana times. I don’t think the Congress also would irritate the Hindus by towing the DMK line. The reason for thrusting Vasan in shipping despite the clamour from DMK is perhaps to drive home the point that though Vasan will take care of Tamil ‘sentiments’ he will not be towing the DMK line in disregarding the religious importance of Sethu!
A lot has been written about Sethu’s importance.
I wish to show here a picture of the Sethu-k-karai.
The picture below is at the spot of Ram Sethu where pilgrims take bath. Parashara recommends a bath at this place to get relieved of Mother’s curse. Skanda puranam tells the many virtues of bathing here. The worst crimes against the 5 kuravargaL (mother, father, elder brother, teacher and king) are removed if one baths here. Kambha Ramayana also endorses this view.
The land area stretching into the sea is where the bund begins. One can see the white surf of waves formed by stoppage of waters by the bund. The while line of waves dashing on the Sethu stretches into the sea in the middle of the waters.
The force of waters is such that it is heavy and muddy showing that the entire volume of waters is hindered here – being stopped by the bund that rises from the bottom of the sea.
This is in contrast to the waters near Rameshwaram temple or in Dhanush koti where you feel the normal rush of waters to the shore.
Vasan's intent on Sethusamudram project stirs up a hornets' nest
Mihir Mishra / New Delhi June 03, 2009, 1:15 IST
As the new Union government takes its place in the saddle, the initial statements of intent by ministers have begun to create ripples. First up is Shipping Minister G K Vasan, who said upon taking charge that the United Progressive Alliance government should complete the Sethusamudram Shipping Channel Project, as it was beneficial to the country and Tamil Nadu. The statement by the minister, who represents the Congress, has raised the hackles of non-government organisations, as well as the main Opposition party, the BJP.
“The matter is pending before the Supreme Court and nothing can happen before the apex court’s verdict,” said BJP spokesperson Prakash Javdekar.
There is also the Pachauri Committee that is examining the project and is expected to come out with a report soon.
“The Sethusamudran Project, by any stretch of science, or environmental compatibility, is not good for the people,” said Ossie Fernandes, convenor, Coastal Action Network, a Chennai-based NGO opposing the project. “Dredging does not mean there is a canal.”
Subramanian G, executive-director of Manitham, another NGO, said: “We are opposing the project on environmental grounds.”
India has a peninsular coastline of 7,517 km studded with 12 major ports and 185 intermediary and minor ports. The Sethusamudram Project, which envisages dredging of a ship channel across the Palk Straits between India and Sri Lanka, plans to provide ships sailing between the east and west costs of India a straight passage through India’s territorial waters, instead of having to circumvent Sri Lanka.
The project is facing oppositions on environmental grounds. There is the fear that the project may result in tsunami waves hitting south Kerala more fiercely. The dredging of Ram Sethu, a mythological bridge built by Lord Rama in the Palk Strait, has made the BJP oppose the project.
There is a view that the project will disturb the ecological balance and kill corals. It is also an important fishing ground in Tamil Nadu. The trade in shells, which has a turnover of Rs 150 crore a year, will also die, it is feared. “We challenged Baalu (Vasan’s predecessor) and challenge Vasan to read the reports and then come out with any such claims,” said Fernandes.
Subramanian is less strident. Questioning the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (Neeri) report, he said he would not oppose the project if it got clearance from an international agency.
“We are not totally against the project. We want another survey by an international agency, because the Neeri report lacked facts about the tsunami and cyclones. If that international agency clears it, we will let it happen,” he said.
Both Fernandes and Subramanian said they would meet the minister. “Yes, we will meet the minister and show him that this is not feasible and so work on the project should be stopped,” said Fernandes.
Newly sworn-in minister M.K.Azhagiri promises to revive the Sethu Samudram project.
The newly sworn in minister for chemicals and fertilizers, Mr M.K.Azhagiri, promised on Thursday to revive the controversial Sethu Samudram project.
The elder son of the Tamil Nadu chief minister M.Karunanidhi, told this newspaper that the DMK manifesto had promised the people that the ‘prestigious’ project would be revived despite opposition by some groups on religious grounds.
“I will personally meet the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh, in this regard,” he said. “We will fulfill the promise we have given to the people.” The Sethu Samudram pro ject was inaugurated in 2005 by Dr Manmohan Singh and the Congress president Sonia Gandhi, during the previous UPA regime when Mr T.R. Baalu was the Union shipping minister.
Sources said moves had started on Wednesday itself with all the DMK ministers meeting the Tamil Nadu Congress leader G.K.Vasan, who took over as union shipping minister on Thursday.
The project involves dredging along the Palk Strait to form a channel that will enable ships to pass along without taking a circuitous route around Sri Lanka. It ran into controversy after environmental activists protested over the ecological damage and Hindu religious groups claimed it would damage the ‘Ram Sethu’ bridge believed to be built by Lord Rama to cross over to Lanka.
Mr Azhagiri, who won from Madurai parliamentary constituency by more than one lakh votes, said that all the ministers from Tamil Nadu will work for the growth of the country and the state.
The first time MP and the DMK’s south organising secretary was able to manage a victory in nine out of 10 parliamentary seats for the DMK-Congress combine.
He has already taken the reins of the party in New Delhi. “It was possible only because of joint efforts of the two parties and Kalaignar’s achievements,” he said.