Dinamalar, Tamil daily, Madurai edition, 19 Sept. 2007 Front Page
Dredging suspended at Adam’s Bridge Staff Reporter (Sept.19, 2007)
Dredgers withdrawn from the bridge area for “administrative reasons”
RAMANATHAPURAM: Dredging work under the ongoing Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project (SSCP) has been suspended on the southern side of Adam’s Bridge in the Palk Strait. Citing administrative reasons, dredgers deployed at the bridge were temporarily withdrawn on Tuesday. They are on their way to the Nagapattinam area.The southern part of the Adam’s Bridge is the area of contention, where a portion of the proposed alignment of the SSCP is located. The apprehension in some quarters is that the alignment will hit the ‘Ramar Sethu’ if dredging is undertaken. Union Minister for Shipping T.R. Baalu inaugurated the dredging work at the bridge on December 12, 2006. A few months ago, Aquarius, the Netherlands-made cutter suction dredger of the Dredging Corporation of India (DCI) was sent for repair to Cochin Shipyard after its spud broke during dredging. Following this, the DCI engaged three dredgers. Among them, Dredger-XVI, a trailer suction hopper of DCI, was sent to Chennai Port for periodic maintenance. It has still not returned to the dredging site.Dredger-VI, another trailer suction hopper of DCI, and Professor Gourjono, a chartered dredger from Russia, which were near Adam’s Bridge till Monday, are on their way to Nagapattinam area (Palk Bay and Palk Strait), where dredging is going on without interruption.According to an official, there is no dredger in the Adam’s Bridge area at the moment. About 80 skilled and unskilled workers, who were on board Dredger-VI and Professor Gourjono, are travelling in the vessels. These dredgers had been sent for bunkering and oiling. They would have to wait for further orders to return to the Adam’s Bridge site. According to the SSCP website, out of a targeted area of 48.05 million cubic metres at Adam’s Bridge, work on 1,18,94,810 cubic metre has been completed till September 17. In the Palk Bay and the Palk Strait, out of a targeted 35.50 million cubic metres, an area of 1,50,02,989 cubic metre has been dredged.