Abandon Setu project so save livelihood of coastal people and save ecosphere
Two sets of documents are posted. One set contains the detailed reports of Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh. These reports are based on personal visits and discussions with the coastal people on the impact on their livelihood if the Setusamudram channel project is implemented. The arguments are stunning and point to the imperative of ABANDONING the project completely. The choice is stark: between fisherfolks’ lives and navigation cutting through Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay. The choice is obvious. Fisherfolks’ lives should take precedence. There should be no Setusamudram channel.
A second set contains two parts of an article ‘Rama Sethu and the need to save ecosphere’ by Dr. S. Kalyanaraman. These contain a stark warning of the impending tsunami as reported in the Nature magazine (Sept. 9, 2007) which could be more devastating than the Dec. 26, 2004 tsunami. Rama Setu which serves as a tsunami wall protecting the coastline against devastating cyclones and tsunamis and which separates the two distinct habitats of Bay of Bengal and Gulf of Mannar should NOT be touched or damaged in any way.
Thus, environmental issues and the issues related to the livelihood of coastal people – both of which are interlinked – lead to only one conclusion: Setusamudram navigation project should be shelved.
There are, of course, other serious issues related to national security by creating a mid-ocean channel passage as an international boundary where such a boundary never existed, thus opening up the region to dangerous geopolitical interventions. This is evidenced by the US Navy operational directive of 23 June 2005 refusing to recognize the age-old claim of historic waters and treating them as international waters defying Law of the Sea 1958.
Kalyanaraman 13 Nov. 2007
BHARATIYA MAZDOOR SANGH
RAM NARESH BHAVAN, TILAK GALI, PAHAR GANJ, NEW DELHI – 110055 (INDIA)
Tele: (011) 2358 2648, 2358 4212, Fax: 91-11 2358 2648,
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Ref No: .BMS/TN/107/07 Date: 29.10.2007
Member Secretary, Experts Committee;
Poom Pozhil, No.5, Greenwuys Road,
Chennai – 600 028.
Sub: Sethusamuthram Shipping Channel Project – Impact on the employment of fishermen and workers of the allied activities – objections against SSCP – Reg.
The implementation of the Sethu Samutharam Shipping Channel project, is eliminating the avenues of employment of fishermen, and other workers engaged in supporting and allied activities in the coastal districts of Tamilnadu. Hence we tender our objections to SSCP.
We conducted survey and the findings are as detailed here under.
1. Loss of employment.
(a). The Passage from Rameshwaram island to Srilanka, via. Dhanushkodi and Ram Sethu (Ramar Palam) Connecting Thalaimannar on the western coast of Srilanka, has been a formidable wall, making the sea waters of Palk Strait and gulf of Mannar peaceful. Several Thousands of Species of fish and other marine beings are growing in the sea water. About 15 lacks fishermen and other workers performing supporting services are making living in the coastal Districts of Tamilnadu.
(b). The Dredging operation for SSCP from the last 3 months, have disturbed the Peace of the sea. Polluted the water and air. The place were dredged earth is dumped, impacted the survival and growth of fish and marine life. As a result the fish wealth is depleted and costly varities of fish like ‘sela’ is not available.
(c). The fishermen and their boats are not permitted in the area of present dredging and Prospective ship channel. As a result the fishermen are not getting fish catch as before and suffering, depletion and loss of earnings and livelihood. The position would worsen with be proposed dredging for another one year from now and the ship movement there after.
(d). The self employed workers on fishing and related works, would become unemployed and displaced employees. The Government did not provide alternate avenues of employment as is the case, where ever workers are displaced due to projects. The position of 45 thousand workers earning livelihood on fishing and related works on the Rameshwaram island is deplorable, as there is no other means of earning.
(e). It is not the case that the government of Tamilnadu and Central Government are not aware of the displacement of 15 lacks of fish workers. The workers are advised to seek alternate employment, and opened few training Centre of tailoring, etc.,
(f). It is reported that SSCP authorities proposed to bring into operation fishing harbors at Rameswaram, Thondi, Sethubhavachatram and Mallipatnam at a cost of 60 crs. for the benefit of fishermen. This arrangement would not, in any way benefit several lakhs of fishermen conducting fishing operations 160-200 km. stretch of sea coast spreading over six districts from Thuthukudi to Nagapattinam. The main requirement is the availability of fish in the waters, which would be adversly impacted by the SSCP.
(g). The survey revealed that out of 1200 motor boats (i.e. launches) of Rameshwaram island, only 200 are in operation, as they are not able to secure adequate catch of fish, even to meet the expenses of voyage, like diesel oil. Availability of fish is crucial and SSCP would have adverse impact in this regard.
Our considered opinion is that scientific assessment of loss of employment was not made, nor any concrete steps are taken to provide alternate employment.
(h). The fishermen and other workers are in deep debts., and there would be no alternative than to follow the farmers that resorted to suicide, in similar indebtedness.
The Ship Channel and deepening and digging of sea, and breaking of Ram Sethu, and impending disturbance of sea waters and pollutions, by ship movement, would affect ecology and environment.
The Protection against tsunami would be lost; and the people at the sea coast of Tamilnadu would be the sufferers. The memories of Tsunami of 26.12 .2004 is still. haunting the workers.
3. Economics of SSCP.
The anticipated returns from SSCP do not justify the expenditure of 4,000 Crores.
The SSCP has no justifications against the loss of earnings of 15 lacks workers. At the stake of environment, on going SSCP is not justified. Accordingly we tender our Strong objections to SSCP.
Be pleased to consider. Yours Sincerely,
(R.V. SUBBARAO) (N.M. SUKUMARAN)
All India Vice President, BMS. General Secretary
Akhil Bharathiya Mathsya Mazdoor Maha Sangh
BHARATIYA MAZDOOR SANGH
RAM NARESH BHAVAN, TILAK GALI, PAHAR GANJ, NEW DELHI – 110055 (INDIA)
Tele: (011) 2358 2648, 2358 4212, Fax: 91-11 2358 2648,
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Ref No: .BMS/TN/108/07 Date: 9.11.2007
Tamilnadu Fish workers doomed.
‘The fish-wealth in the Palk Bay depleted on account of the ongoing dredging operations by the Sethusamudram Ship Cannel Project, (SSCP), since the last four months’, has been the complaint of the Fishermen, and other workers engaged in supporting activities. Their means of livelihood is affected, which is obvious. A joint team of Bharatiya Shramshod Mandal, Pune, consiting of Dr.Sia Ram Sharma, Director, and Dr. Rajiv Ranjan, Co-Director, and Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh consisting of Sri R.V.Subba Rao, Vice President, BMS, Sri N.M.Sukumaran, Secretary, BMS, Sri Shankara Subramanyn, Secretary, Tamlinadu BMS, Sri Muniasamy, Pramukh, Seva Bharati, Sri Mathialagan, State Secretary, Tamilnadu Minavar Sangham, Sri Saravanan, General Secretary, Ramanathapuram Mavatta Bharatiya Minavar Sangham conducted survey at Rameswaram island, during 25th to 30th October, 2007.
The Government of India and the Government of Tamilnadu are implementing the SSCP, to make a passage for ships through the Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar on the Tamilnadu Coast. The dredging operations disturbed the peace of the sea waters. The oil spillage and leakage, and exhausts from the ships and machines polluted the sea waters. Breeding area and plants are destroyed at places, where the material dug out from the sea bed (dredging operations) is dumped. In the result the fish wealth in the sea depleted. The Authorities restricted the movement of the Fishermen and their boats in the area which is marked for navigation of ships and where the dredging operations are going on currently, and cut off the nets, mercilessly. The fishermen are not getting sufficient catch and are unable to meet the expenses of fishing voyage, like cost of diesel oil. High rated fish, ‘sela’ is not available, lamented the fishermen. Activities related to fishing like sorting of fish, preservation, drying, ice factory, transport, marketing, export, local marketing etc. experiencing less work or no work. If this is the impact during the dredging operations, (which will continue for one year), what would be the fate, with the commencement of ship navigation, is the question haunting the workers.
The SSCP would destroy the livelihood of 15 lakh workers, spread over 200 Km. of sea coast, covering six districts of Tamilnadu. Ours is a Welfare State, and providing employment, creating avenues of employment has been the objective, but this is not taken care of in this case. Whenever and where ever, the existing employment is threatened or closed, the Governments have been offering compensation for the losses and providing alternate avenues of employment. In this case, no such steps are declared. It is not the case that the Authorities are not aware of the devastation of employment on a large scale. The workers were advised, a year ago, to search for alternate employments like nursing. Tailoring training centers were opened. Can this solve the displacement of 15 lakh workers? It is reported that the Authorities proposed to bring into operation four shipping harbors at Rameswaram, Thondi, Sethubhavachatram and Mallipatnam, at a cost of 60 crs. This arrangement would not, in any way benefit several lakhs of workers engaged in fishing and related operations spreading over 200 km coast line. Availability of fish and growth of fish is crucial, which the SSCP would impact. At Rameswaram Island, out of 1200 motor boats, only 200 are in operation, as they are not able to secure adequate catch of fish, on voyage, even to meet the expenses of voyage, like the cost of diesel oil.
The self employed fishermen and workers in the supporting activities would become unemployed, and would face starvation as no other avenues are created. The workers are in deep and perennial debts, and there is no other way to them, than to follow the farmers that are resorting to suicides, unable to realize adequate returns on the farm produce and repay loans. The workers are in a depressed mood and worried as the devastation is staring at them. There is no other means of earnings in the Rameswaram Island, and the workers may have to migrate. Whether the anticipated returns of 200 crs. per anum from the ship navigation of SSCP justify devastation of the employment of 15 lakhs of workers ? Can the gains of SSCP supplement the GDP loss (on fishery)?
Geographically, there was a pedestrian passage from Rameswaram towards east to Sri Lanka via Dhanushkodi and Ram Sethu (Ramar Palam), connecting Talai Mannar on the West Coast of Sri Lanka. Which was in use up to the end of 19th Century. This passage separated the sea waters in between India and Sri Lanka, into Palk Bay on the North and Gulf of Mannar to the South. Besides, it formed a formidable wall in the sea waters which made the sea waters peaceful, providing safe growth for thousands of varieties of fish, costly fish and other marine beings and rare coral reefs. The SSCP would destroy the peace of the sea waters, and environment and ecology of the region. Ram Sethu has been protecting the southern parts of Tamil Nadu and up to Kerala from tsunamis, and the protection offered during the devastating tsunami of December, 2004 is fresh in very ones memory. Whether the SSCP is justified against this devastation?
Accordingly, a delegation of BMS and Bharatiya Shramshodh Mandal submitted objections against the SSCP, before the Expert Committee, Chennai, set up by the Government.
R.V.Subba Rao, Vice President, BMS.
Lr. To the expert committee Chennai, dated 29-10-2007.
Tamilnadu Fish workers doomed
The Govt. of India is implementing the SSCP (Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project) in the Palk Strait and Gulf of Mannar, to make passage for ships at an estimated cost of 4000 crs. expecting a revenue of 200 cr. per annum. Dredging Operations (Channel digging) Commenced about 3 months ago, threatened the marine life in the sea waters and 15 lakh workers living in Fishing & related works are at the verge of doom.
To asses the situation and impact of the SSCP on the employment of workers, a team of Bharatiya Shramshod Mandal, Pune, (Maharastra) conducted survey, met the workers at Rameswaram Island from 25th to 30th October, 2007. The Team consisted of Dr. Sia Ram Sharma, Project Director, Dr. Rajiv Ranjan, Co-Director, Sri R.V. Subba rao, Vice President BMS, Sri Shankara Subramanyan, Secretary, BMS (Tamilnadu), Sri Mathialagan, State Secretary, Tamilnadu Bharatiya Minavar Sangam, Sri Saravanan, General Secretary, Ramanathapuram Mavatta Bharatiya Minavar Sangam and Sri Muniasamy, Pramukh, Seva Bharathi.
Out of the 60,000 population of Rameswaram Island, Temple provides employment to 10,000 and 45,000 make their living by fishing and allied operations, and the rest on jobs related to bazaar-shop. It is note worthy that at Rameshwaram, there is no other avenue of employment for earning, like agriculture or handicrafts.
Geographically there was a pedestrian passage from Rameswaram towards east to Srilanka via Dhanuskodi and Ramar Palam (Ram Sethu) connecting Talai Mannar on the west coast of Srilanka which was in use up to the beginning of 20th century. This passage separates sea waters in between India and Srilanka into Palk Strait on the north, and Gulf of Mannar to the south. Besides, it formed a formidable wall in the sea waters which made the sea peaceful, providing safe growth for thousands of varieties of fish, costly fish, other marine beings and rare coral reefs. This peace is disturbed by the dredging operations for SSCP since last 3 months, and polluted the waters by spillage/leakage of diesel / crude oil from the ship engines and exhaust of effluents, impacting the growth of fish, and high rated high quality fish. “Sela” a high rated fish is not available, after the commencement of dredging, complained the Fishers. The place where the earth and other dredged (dug out) material is being dumped would subject the fish to extinction. Restrictions are imposed on the Fishers and their boats for fishing operations in the area meant for the navigation of ships, and where dredging operations are going on, by the authorities, for security and other reasons impacting their opportunity to voyage, and fishing. Depletion of fish wealth in the sea, and restrictions on the movement of Fishermen and their Boats, have become a threat for the very existence of lakhs workers living traditionally on Fishing & related operations. The Situation would become worse with the completion of dredging operations, and the movement of ships, the workers lamented.
The self employed Fishermen would become no employed or unemployed and would face starvation deaths as there are no other avenues of employment in the Rameshwaram island. The workers are in deep and perennial debts and there is no other way than to resort to suicides as in the case of Farmers / Agriculturist, who are unable to get proper value and remuneration for their produce and repay loans. The workers are in depressed mood at the doom staring at them. The workers are disheartened that the govt. did not spelt out alternative employment
It is reported that SSCP authorities proposed to bring into operation fishing harbors at Rameswaram, Thondi, Sethubhavachatram and Mallipatnam at a cost of 60 crs. For the benefit of fishermen. This arrangement would not, in any way benefit several lakhs of fishermen conducting fishing operations 160-200 km. stretch of sea coast spreading over six districts from Thuthukudi to Nagapattinam. The main requirement is the availability of fish in the waters, which would be adversely impacted by the SSCP.
At Rameshwaram Island, out of 1200 motor boats only 200 are in operation, as they are not able to secure adequate catch of fish, even to meet the expenses of voyage, like diesel oil. Availability of fish is crucial and SSCP would have adverse impact in this regard.
Ours is a Welfare State wherever the avenues of employment are depleted or extinguished, the Govt. would come forward with proposals for alternate employment. In the instant case it is felt that neither the Governments.(either of the Centre or State) made assessment of loss of employment and the number of workers that would be displaced by the SSCP nor declared any alternate means of livelihood. The workers reported to the team, that Government officers advised the workers to search for alternative employments and for the purpose opened Tailoring Training center at one or two places. Also advised the workers to undergo training as nurses on medial side. This shows that the govt. is aware of the loss of employment on a large scale. It may be concluded that the govt. is not interested to spell out alternatives and is callous to the needs of workers that are facing displacement by SSCP.
The BMS team felt that loss of employment in a large scale is imminent; and alternative is not is sight. Do the gains of SSCP justify the loss of lively hood of over 15 lakh workers?
The govt. is not minding the issues of Pollution of the environment and threat to ecology, by the SSCP. All the scientists are unanimous that the Ram Sethu has been protecting the sea coast from tsunami since centuries. The protection provided to southern parts of Rameswaram from the devastation of tsunami of the 26.12.2004 is fresh in memory. Distruction of Ram Sethu for SSCP augurs distruction, towards south of Rameswaram and up to Kerala. The Srilanka expressed that the ship movements by SSCP would destroy marine life on their side too.
Why the govt. of Tamilnadu and Central Govt. going ahead with implementation of SSCP in spite of impending calamity to workers & environment?
On 29-10-2007, the team of Bharatiya Shramshod Mandal and Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh filed objections to the SSCP, on behalf of the Fishermen and workers, before the Experts Committee on the SSCP, Chennai, constituted by the Government.
Chennai, Tamilnadu, Dr. Sia Ram Sharma, Director,
29-10-2007. Bharatiya Shramshod Mandal
Sri R.V.Subba Rao, Vice President, . Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh.
Rama Setu & the need to save ecosphere http://kalyan97.wordpress.com/2007/11/13/1245/
Rama Sethu & the need to save ecosphere
Tuesday, 13 November, 2007 , 01:28 PM (News Today Editions, 9 and 10 November 2007)
A huge environmental disaster in the making, the Sethusamudram project will cause irreparable damage to the fragile biosphere reserve. Moreover, the dredging project will lead to erosion in the coastal areas and also endanger marine species.
The ingress of the ocean submerging coast lands is an ongoing phenomenon linked to plate tectonics. Boats were tossed out like toys in Nagappattinam on 26 December 2004 when tsunami struck the Tamilnadu coastline.
.The Gulf of Mannar near Rama Sethu (Adam’s Bridge) is a fragile ecosystem and any short-sighed policy of the government of India will put the entire coastline at risk.
The marine region is also referred to as Rama’s hotspot, given the intensity of heat flows, apart from evidences for dormant volcanoes (Mannar volcanics are dated back to 105 million years), the region is riddled with fault lines.
The report in Nature magazine of issue dated 6 September 2007 points to the continuous movement of tectonic plates evidenced by a tsunami in 1762 and again in 2004 which pointed to the high probability of another tsunami which will be more devastating than the one which occurred in December 2004 when 260,000 lives were lost.
This impending tsunami is stated to put 60 to 70 million people along the coasts of Bay of Bengal at risk.
Professor CSP Iyer with whom I have been associated and who participated in an international seminar on Scientific and Security Aspects of Sethusamudram Project had pointed out that the project which cuts through Rama Sethu should be shelved.
The project would destroy the remarkable natural tsunami-protection wall — Rama Sethu with unpredictable consequences on ocean current flows and even climate systems, aspects which should be subjected to detailed multi-disciplinary and scientific studies.
Unlike the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, Rama Sethu has always been called a bridge since it connected India and Sri Lanka as a land-bridge across the Indian Ocean (Gulf of Mannar bioreserve which harboured a rich and unique ecosystem). Professor Iyer has now participated in the Centre for Innovation in Science and Social Action (CISSA), a Thiruvananthapuram-based group of scientists, technologists and environmental activists which urged the Central government to shelve the the shipping canal project
The canal project had the potential to trigger a series of ecological catastrophes along the Indian coast in the long run, apart from the adverse environmental impact which would be immense. The excavation of the region and effluents from ships will impact on the rich biodiversity all along the Indian coast. The panel led by Professor Iyer who is also former head of Centre for Marine Analytical Reference and Standards (CMARS) said the proposed realignment of the shipping canal to avoid the Adam’s Bridge was not a solution.
‘From 1961 onwards, four alignments were considered for a navigable route connecting the east and west coasts of India,’ the panel said. Iyer noted that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for the Sethu project had failed to take into account the tsunami or the frequent cyclones hitting the east coast. Dr Rajendran of the Centre for Earth Science Studies said the EIA had not considered the high sedimentation rate of the Palk Bay.
Apart from navigational hazards resulting from a mid-ocean channel passage being subjected to periodic cyclones making it extremely risky to salvage a grounded vessel, continuous navigation is likely to trigger ecological imbalance, affect habitats of aquatic resources such as corals, sea-cow (dugong), green turtle and affect the lives of millions of coastal people whose livelihood is integrally linked to the marine biosphere with 24 marine national parks hugging the coastline of southern India.
Olive Ridley turtles which migrated between Setutirtha (India) and Mahatittha (Sri Lanka) would face extinction. The breeding grounds of over 3,500 aquatic species of flora and fauna would be lost when waters from Bay of Bengal rush into the Gulf of Mannar in a constant stream through a channel created by the Sethu project.
Sea grasses and manila reefs (algae) are photoplyktons accounting for the free oxygen of the ecosphere, mitigating the ill-effects of carbon dioxide. The reefs slow-down the waves and act as a natural protection against the onrush of sea currents and thus prevent erosion of the coasts.
It will be a travesty of development if such a situation is created by cutting a channel through a natural barrier of reefs, sand banks and stone constituting Rama Sethu. Over 80 Sri Lankan islands would be at risk of erosion and getting flooded. In fact, 34 Sri Lankan experts have warned that any damage to the limestone fresh water caves in Rama Sethu is likely to devastate fresh water supplies to Jaffna (Sri Lanka) and Rameswaram (India).
The last tsunami brought in a huge volume of sediments into the Palk Bay – Gulf of Mannar that in some places, the sea bed had risen by as much as 200 metres. It is a nightmare even to contemplate a scenario of oil spills if 30,000 DWT vessels carrying oil products were to pollute the ecosphere.
It will take millennia to restore the ecosphere to its natural state in the region if Sethusamudram project is put through without compassion and careful evaluation of all aspects related to the impact of the ecology and marine reserves.
What has taken millions of years to form corals like the turbinella pyrum will be destroyed in one shot by dredging and blasting in the area. What if a nuclear submarine sank there? What would the consequences be in such an eventuality? How many hundreds of years would it take to clean up the mess?
The coral reefs unique to the marine bioreserve at the Gulf of Mannar represent over 8,500- year-old industry that yields s’ankha (turbinella pyrum) which is considered sacred in the Hindu religion. The bangles made of the s’ankha adorn young brides in West Bengal.
Rama Sethu was mentioned in ancient literature and it was shortlisted for being labeled an international heritage monument by the World Heritage Watch List based in New York. The ongoing destruction is on the scale of destruction of the Bamiyan Buddha calling the monument a mere stone.
It is time for environmentalists of the world to come together and save Rama Sethu.
Sir A R Mudaliar Committee Report 1956 said: Choose canal, NOT mid-ocean channel passage. Reasons: Shifting sandbanks; no possibility of construction of protective works; and navigational hazard. Channel would border on the Sethusamudram Medial Line. ‘In these circumstances, we have no doubt whatever that the junction between the two seas should be effected by a canal; and the idea of cutting a passage in the sea through Adam’s Bridge should be abandoned.’
Breach of coastline security
Rama Sethu is a tsunami protection wall which saved the coastline of Tamilnadu, Kerala and west coast during the tsunami of 26 December, 2004. It is impermissible to damage such a protective structure impairing the integrity and security of the nation.
A report in scientific journal Nature on 6 September 2007 and carried in major newspapers of the world said there was an imminent threat of tsunami more devastating than the one in 2004. The report states that about 60 – 70 million people of the east coast of India will be at risk. In view of the seriousness of this scientific report, the Central government should immediately suspend all project works along the coastline which could be resumed only after a detailed, multi-disciplinary investigation of the threat to national security and integrity.
Rama Sethu should be deemed an ancient monument and a world heritage under UNESCO. The logo of Survey of India mentions aa setu himachalam, meaning: from Sethu to Himalayas as Bharatam. This is thus a national metaphor, defining the boundaries of ancient India.
Madras Presidency Administration Report, 1903 and a Travelogue, 1744 refer to the bridge; Glossary entry for Adam’s Bridge: ‘Called the bridge of Rama. It really joined Ceylon to India until 1480, when a breach was made through rocks during a storm. A subsequent storm enlarged this and foot traffic then ceased. Partly above and partly below water; but when covered has now here above three or four feet of water.’
Asiatic Society, 1799, Asiatick Researches: Or, Transactions of the Society Instituted in Bengal, P 52 refers to the bridge called Setband (alternative spelling, setuband like Allahband; setu-bandha), broken in three places. It also notes: ‘The people call it a bridge; or otherwise it appears to have wood growing on it, and to be inhabited.’ English word ‘bund’ comes from Bharatiya word: bandha as in setubandha.
Ancient Sethu (Aryachakravarti) coins of Jaffna, 13th century and Parantaka Chola copper plate (10th century). Copper plate inscription of Parantaka Chola. The copper plates indicate that Aparajitavarman went to Setutirtha.
Rama Sethu in sculptures
Stone steles from the Ramayana wall carvings at Prambanan temple in Java, Indonesia, that were built during the 9 – 10 centuries; Setubandha venerated as sacred tirtha by Alwars and Nayanmars; and Rameswaram is one of the 12 jyotirlinga sthalams for the pilgrimage to Ganga river is complete only after the pilgrimage to Rameswaram and Setutirtham.
Evidence for Rama Sethu accepted. Courts use the word Rama Sethu / Adam’s Bridge. High Court noted: Sir A Ramaswamy Mudaliar Committee expressly rejected the idea of cutting a channel through the bridge and said that the idea should be abandoned.
Ramanathapuram judge: ‘Final opinion could be pronounced only after subjecting their documents to thorough scrutiny with the opinions of experts in the field (archaeology and geology).’
Supreme Court order: ‘Till September 14, the alleged Rama Sethu / Adam’s bridge shall not be damaged in any manner. Dredging activity may be carried out so long as it does not damage Rama Sethu.’
Department of Earth Sciences noted in their report of March 2007, based on the report of a consultant that around Rameswaram there are raised Teri formations that supported a rich assemblage of mesolithic – microlithic tools indicating the presence of strong human habitation and activity in these areas as early as 8000 to 9000 years B P and as recent as 4000 years B P.
On Sri Lanka there are indications of human habitation extending to late Pleistocene (about 13,000 B P) based on bone and fossils of human and animal form. All these point to a flourishing human activity on both sides of Adams Bridge and probably when the sea levels were just right the link between India and Sri Lanka could have been established.
Heat flow in Rama Sethu 100 to 180 milliwatt per sq m comparable to Himalayan hot springs. Will dredging at Gulf of Mannar activate these heat zones? It is a criminal act of negligence that the work commenced without consulting the Geological Survey of India which is mandated to provide guidance for such projects.
If a land-based canal alignment is chosen, it will be possible to provide locks on either end of the canal to prevent disturbance to ocean habitats of aquatic resources mandated under the Law of the Sea. The protection walls against tsunami for any canal project should be provided: example, tsunami wall in Japan. The project does NOT include such protection measures. In fact, NEERI report did not even taken into account past history of cyclones and tsunamis.
Suez canal uses special bollards every 200 feet to salvage a grounded vessel. Such bollards are possible only if a land-based canal is used. According to Captain Balakrishnan, the saving in time from Kolkata to Tuticorin for a ship will be only 1.5 hours.
Is it viable to cross channel at six nautical miles paying pilotage charges (approx Rs 5 lakh per passage)? Even many small ships with only 30,000 DWT (dead weight tonnes) may prefer to navigate around Sri Lanka instead of using the channel.
Time is short and it is important for environmentalists around the world to join hands and prevent the damage to our planet.