Rama Setu: SSCP financial disaster?

White Paper on Sethu canal project demanded
Sunday November 4 2007 05:42 IST


CHENNAI: Expressing apprehension on the environmental impact and economic viability of the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project (SSCP), the Catalyst Trust, an NGO, has suggested that the Centre should issue a White Paper on the project.

In a memorandum submitted to the Committee of Eminent Persons, SSCP, the trust has suggested a review of the project on economic and financial grounds.

Referring to various reports on the SSCP, the trust pointed out key issues such as maritime terrorism, impact of LTTE on ships navigating through the canal and economic viability of the project.

The report submitted by the movement against SSCP pointed out that the project would have a lasting impact on biodiversity and therefore destroy the livelihood of fishermen. Citing this, the trust said that the latest scientific information and tools should be used to analyse the environmental impact.
Taking into consideration the escalation of costs and the project’s limited benefits, the trust pointed out the need for mechanisms to ensure that the original claims supporting the project were accounted for.

To address all these apprehensions, the trust suggested that the Union Government in consultation with the State government issue a detailed and comprehensive White Paper on the project.

This should allay apprehensions about economic viability, environmental and ecological sustainability, engineering feasibility and ethical acceptability of the project.

The trust also said that proceeding with the project without addressing these factors could lead to a financial disaster and serious ecological damage.



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