Rama Setu: Personal hearing by Setu Committee, Kalyanaraman

October 31, 2007

  

I was surprised that the Committee should ask me to provide them with copies of the Madras HC judgement of 19 June 2007 and references to Setu in Sangam and ancient Tamil texts.  In addition to the Chairman and Member Secretary, there were 5 members of the Committee. Outside the Committee room, there is a big announcement that it is a PRIVATE HEARING. This is in violation of the high democratic traditions promised by ASG in the Supreme Court for listening to alternative views. Anyway, I just had 25 minutes to present my views in addition to my written submission. The big announcement said that only 10 minutes are allowed. So much for transparency of the Committee process which is clearly a command performance, expected to submit their report on Nov. 11. I hope and pray that the Committee members will have the integrity to go through all the volumes of submissions carefully and with due diligence. Hope springs eternal even in a criminalised polity.

kalyanaraman

Copy of the follow-up letter submitted, in good faith, to the Committee to supply the requested documents. 

Rama Setu: Objections on Setu channel, submitted to CEPSSCP by Dr. S. Kalyanaraman

Chennai, 31 October 2007 (Regd. Post Ack. Due)

To:

Member Secretary, Committee of Eminent Persons on Sethu Samudram Shipping Channel Project, MALLIGAI, No. 30/95, P.S. KUMARASAMY RAJA (GREENWAYS) ROAD, Chennai – 600 028. Tel No.  : 044-24959005, 24959006

Respected sir,

Sub: Request for opportunity for presentation before the Committee

Thanks for providing me an opportunity for PRIVATE HEARING on 31 October 2007 between 10 and 10:25 AM.

As requested, I am attaching herewith two documents:

1. Madras HC judgement of 19 June 2007 in 11 pages detailing why Rama Setu should be declared as an Ancient Monument under the 1958 Act. You may note that the Hon’ble Court noted that irrespective of whether the Rama Setu is man-made or natural, it meets the criteria for such a declaration.

2. References to Setubandhanam in Tamil texts starting from Akananooru, Sangam age text and also Manimekalai and Silappadikaaram.

I would like to reiterate the oral submissions made by me highlighting the following aspects making it imperative to shelve the Setu mid-ocean channel passage project:

· Nature magazine of 6 Sept. 2007 indicates the ongoing plate tectonic activity in Sunda plate and the impending tsunami more devastating than the 26 Dec. 2004 tsunami.

· There has been serious neglect in not conducting detailed studies and total review of the project in the wake of the Dec. 2004 tsunami and impossibility of providing protective measures in the channel and locks on either end of the channel rendering the channel a navigational hazard and a national security issue.

· References to the responsibility of public servants under Section 295 and 304 of IPC in ensuring that there is no hurt to sentiments of communities and the minimizing of loss of lives by any project alternatives.

· The ongoing loot of thorium deposits (monazite sand) place deposit accumulations south of Rama Setu and the national imperative to protect these accumulations thanks to Rama Setu acting as a sieve with clock-wise and counter-clock-wise ocean currents.

· Reference to the FIR of 19 pages lodged in Madurai Bench of Madras HC about illegal export of thorium-containing sands from sand godowns.

· Failure to involve the Geological Survey of India in the project design.

· Arbitrary drawing of a channel passage 3 kms. west of the medial line between India and Srilanka without pre-project bathymetry and oceanographic studies.

· Failure to involve National Institute of Oceanography.

· Interference by US Navy Operational Directive of 23 June 2005 and inauguration of the project on 2 July 2005 disregarding the Sirimavo Bandaranaike-Indira Gandhi declaration of June 1974 declaring the Gulf of Mannar-Palk bay waters as HISTORIC WATERS. US Navy treating these as international waters is ominous and impinges upon India’s national sovereignty effectively succumbing to US pressures creating an international boundary which Sir A Ramaswamy Mudaliar Committee categorically sought to avoid. The Commiteee had also categorically stated that any idea of cutting a channel passage through Rama Setu should be ABANDONED because of the impossibility of controlling sedimentation in the region and the Committee suggested a land-based canal across Mandapam with protective measures and locks on the lines of the land-based Suez or Panama Canals. Fisherfolk from India and Srilanka have historically had rights to use the aquatic resources as a shared commonwealth.

· Failure of NEERI to take into account the sedimentation rates, recurrence of cyclones and tsunamis.

· Madras HC judgement of 19 June 2007 in 11 pages is a categorical acceptance of the 3000 pages of evidence submitted and the Court observation that the Rama Setu is an Ancient Monument under the 1958 Act. The Court also referred to Section 295 IPC and the recommendations of Sir A Ramaswamy Mudaliar Committee.

· References to Setu in Parantaka Chola’s copper plate (Velanjeri) of 10th century, 1903 Madras Presidency Administrative Manual, 1972 Ramanathapuram Gazetteer, sculptures showing setubandhana in a panel on Parambanan temple in Indonesia (published by Archaeological Survey of India), unprofessional nature of the withdrawn ASI affidavit in the Supreme Court and failure of project reports to recognize the archaeological, cultural and religious importance of the Setutirtha, Chittoor Rani Padmini’s baaraat taking place on Rama Setu (since her birthplace was Jaffna) which has always functioned as a land-bridge between India and Srilanka, meaning of the word ‘setu’ in Tamil meaning ‘ceyarkarai’ (artificial bund), bund as an English word coming from Bandha of Indian languages, imperative of declaring it as Ancient Monument, recommendation to declare it as World Heritage and as Divyakshetra on the lines of the declaration by AP Govt. for Tirumala pilgrimage place.

E&OE. I have a request to make. Please do make available to me a copy of the transcript of my oral submission since my submission has been videographed.

Thanking you,

Dr. S. Kalyanaraman


Setu channel: nautical sense?

May 31, 2007

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http://dinamalar.com/2007may31/general_tn2.asp


Rama Setu: Thuglak, Part 2 (6 June 2007)

May 31, 2007

More to destructive dredging than what meets the eye? 

Written by
Cho Ramaswamy Published on 02-06-2007 In National
Former secessionist, present day nationalist and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi has described all those who oppose the Sethu Samudram Shipping Canal Project as “traitors.”

The fact that he is yet to comprehend the difference between patriotism and perfidy comes as no surprise to me since the CM has donned the robes of nationalism only recently. Naturally he finds it difficult to discern the difference between fissiparous felony and faultless faith.

To the uninitiated, the project is all about deepening the Palk Straits – a stretch of water separating India and
Sri Lanka to aid circumventing the circumnavigation of ships around the latter island.

Several experts in maritime finance have repeatedly exposed the futility of the whole thing. Other [oceanographers] have explained how it would [irreversibly] cause an ecological disaster in terms of loss of marine life and result in natural catastrophes like tsunamis. [Geologists] have warned that the mineral thorium needed for our nuclear reactors will become unavailable in the region if the dredging is carried on.

Naturalists have expressed well-documented opinions about the imminence of fishermen’s trade turning unviable. Believers in Hindu religion have stressed the unacceptability of the plan since it would mean decimation of Rama Sethu. Former Supreme Court justice VR Krishna Iyer has opined that the project would compromise of
India’s international maritime boundary. Another judge KT Thomas has underlined that the move ought to be jettisoned since it goes against the sentiments of Hindus at large. O Fernandes, an environmental activist has challenged the matter legally. [Besides all this], defence analysts have cautioned the dangers of this scheme…

These are the personalities that Kalaingar has proclaimed as traitors!

Everybody knows that it took him several decades to comprehend that
India is a single nation and on that count, it is understandable that Karunanidhi may require more time to deduce what is patriotism. But one simply cannot allow the continuation of the project till that happens. To pretend otherwise is a sure path to self-destruct.

Concerned citizens have underlined that the Committee headed by Sir A Ramaswamy Mudaliar had pointed out way back in 1952 itself that this project would be uneconomical since it would entail repeated dredging of the waterway. [What is more], alternative viable routes for the canal have been suggested time and again.

Evidence pointing to the presence of a bridge built by [Lord] Ram has been in existence for over 260 years. Other documentation has been provided to prove its being ‘rechristened’
Adam’s Bridge later. These aren’t claims being manufactured by the BJP or VHP, in present tense. On the contrary, they have been in existence since the British era.

Further, [latest] satellite pictures from NASA have shown clearly that [the Ram Sethu] is a reality. Legends and historical facts have it that the bridge was indeed built [during pre-historic times]. That apart, these are matters concerning Hindu beliefs. If these are to be simply wished away as myths – faith in other religions too will suffer the same fate which, in turn, will erode the minorities’ trust – the political constituency of the DMK. Therefore, the CM must eschew the description of describing Ram Sethu as mere superstition.

Neither the Union Minister [for Surface Transport] TR Baalu nor his leader [Karunanidhi] – or for that matter the entire party to which they belong have put forth any believable argument to prove that Rama Sethu is nothing but pure fiction.

To set the record straight, they have been insisting that it is a naturally formed sandbank.

But there is nothing that suggests to the possibility of a natural formation originating from Dhanushkodi and stretching up to Thalaimannar as claimed by the DMK. Neither research nor geological proof backs this allegation.

If disbelief in Hindu legends is supposed to be rationalism, acceptance of the DMK theory is simply absurd.

For the sake of argument, even if one were to suspend one’s conviction, Rama Sethu has to be accepted as an ancient, archaeological rarity. Our Constitution underlines the need to preserve them. There is an entire department for its maintenance. Those destroying such phenomena are punishable according to our law.

Every [civilised] nation [in the world] shows alacrity in preserving its heritage sites. What is more, international archaeologists always are on the lookout for such occurrences to save them for posterity simply because they reveal the history of the respective parts of the globe.

Insisting on destroying such rarities is nothing but an adamant, unjust urge to destroy the roots of a nation.

In spite of availability of ample, obvious, centuries’ old evidence, despite the PMO raising serious objections, why are the DMK and its Union Minister [TR Baalu] continuing to disregard the finding of all sorts of experts and hurtling towards the a single-minded doggedness to wrong the entire Hindu community by proceeding with the project? Why are they ignoring other more eco-friendly alternatives?

Irrational, unreasonable, obstinate obduracy seems to be one of the reasons. However, it cannot be the only one. The other causes may not surface immediately [to the common public].

But, the Prime Minister [Dr Manmohan Singh] cannot be unaware about them. And if he doesn’t stop this obvious obliteration of our origin, he is failing in his sacred duty.(Translated from Thuglak by TSV Hari)http://indiainteracts.com/columnist/2007/06/02/More-to-destructive-dredging-than-what-meets-the-eye/ ramasetuthuglak6.jpg

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Rama Setu: stability of a deep channel in a slope

May 30, 2007

bathymetry.jpg

From Tuticorin to Dhanushkodi, the sea-bed rises from 3000m depth (near Tuticorin) to about 3 ft. below the sea (near Dhanushkodi). One can visualise the mountain stretching over a steep slope over a distance of about 75 kms. as shown in this image.

 If a 300 m. wide and 12 m deep channel passage is sought to be cut through this slope and beyond Rama Setu (represented by the peak of the mountain), how stable will the channel passage be?

 Without protective embankments on either side of the channel, won’t the channel passage be subject to continuous erosion of the banks and accumulation of shoals in the passage given the currents and counter-currents in the Rama Setu region, with Rama Setu acting like a sieve separating out the higher density mineral, Thorium 232 and creating the placer deposits in Manavalakurichi (Tamilnadu) , Aluva and Chavara (Kerala).

 This is the reason why ARamaswamy Mudaliar Report of 1956 categorically said that any idea of cutting a channel passage through Adam’s Bridge should be ABANDONED. Why has the present alignment been chosen ignoring this Report?

Why can’t an alignment through Dhanushkodi be chosen to create a land-based, controllable canal instead of a channel in mid-ocean?

 With such a land-based canal, locks should also be provided on either end of the canal to prevent the incursion of violent currents of Bay of Bengal into the serene waters of Gulf of Mannar.

 Questions to ponder. Questions which should be answered by the pundits seeking to create history by destroying history.


Rama Setu: concern about ongoing destruction

May 30, 2007

http://newsanalysisindia.com/ramsethu.htm 

Petition 

To whom it may concern. 

We are extremely concerned about the continuing reports in the media related to the determination of Indian government especially Mininsters of Shiping Mr. Balu and Ambika Soni of Cultural Mininstry to the destruction of Ram Sethu (Adam’s Bridge) by continuing the sethusamudram project.  The project is fine, but the present route is not, as it involves destruction of theAdam’s bridge (Ram Sethu).   The existence of Ram Sethu (Adam’s Bridge) has been proved by the satellite pictures of NASA. Details may be seen and read at: http://history.nasa.gov/SP-168/section3b.htm   Foreigners and Indians alike have described it as Rama’s bridge since ancient times in their maps and travelogues. The first time someone called itAdam’s Bridge was in 1804 by James Rennell, the first surveyor general of the East India Company. Even if the Government of India prefers to use the name Adam’s Bridge, it simply proves that not only Hindus but Muslims and Christians too have a reverence for the bridge it is going to destroy.                                                         

The Encyclopedia Britannica describes the bridge thus, ‘Adam’s Bridge also called Rama’s Bridge, chain of shoals, between the islands of Mannar, near northwestern Sri Lanka, and Rameswaram, off the southeastern coast of India.’ Read at: http://www.britannicaindia.com/duk_det_inside.asp?art_id=28

The Ram Setu or Adam’s Bridge connects India’s Rameshwaram to Sri Lanka’s Talaimannar. A movement has begun to safeguard it at the shores of Rameshwaram on April 18. Two former judges of the Supreme Court, Justice K T Thomas and Justice V R Krishna Iyer, none of them close to any political party, have warned the government against destroying the Ram Setu.

 Ramasethu acted as ‘barrier’ during tsunami: ADB expert

A former Asian Development Bank expert has urged for preserving the legendary ‘Rama Sethu’ bridge of ‘Ramayana’ times now immersed under sea waters, saying it had protected the entire South and South-West of Nagapattinam when the Tsunami struck the coastlines of several countries in the Indian Ocean. After the Tsunami struck the Indian coasts in December 2004, shoal accumulations of the Rama Sethu acted as a barrier in protecting the coastline on the South and South-West of Nagapattinam.The devastating high tides caused by the displacement of tectonic events near Banda Aceh in Indonesia circled the entire Sri Lankan Island and partially moved to Kerala and towards the Rama bridge.”If the bridge is breached for Sethusamudram, the waters would directly gush into the entire peninsular region beyond Dhanushkodi and the coastline in Kerala to Konkan regions in Karnataka-Goa and Maharashtra and the devastation would be incalculable,” he said. Even Geological Survey of India in its logo, which describes India in this line etched at the bottom of its insignia — Aasetu Himachal, meaning India is spread between the Bridge and the Himalayas. Millions of families of fishermen, Hindus, Muslims and Christians who eke out a living by the sea have formed a protest group under the banner Tamil Nadu Fishermen Sangh headed by Shri Kuppu Ram.  

This is comparable to a recent news story from the
USA which we highlighted here in HHR http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article1505736.ece
where the American courts disallowed the use of sewage for artificial snow on a sacred mountain used as a place of worship and pilgrimage by the Native American people. Why has the council rejected the alternative plans put forward by the various organisations?

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with United Progressive Alliance Chairperson Sonia Gandhi inaugurated the Sethusamudram project on July 2, 2005. The preent route of the project essentially requires the destruction of the Ram Setu (Adam’s bridge) is intentionally being adopted, while other options, closer to Dhanushkodi, which did not touch the Ram Setu were ignored?

And why is the Indian government hesitaring in consulting the issue related to the saety of Ram Sethu (Adam’s bridge) with the organizations want to save Ram Sethu (Adam’s bridge), scientists and NASA? We of the following signatures look forward to hearing from you or saving the workd heritage Ram Sethu *Adam’s bridge) – and, we hope, that Indian government will adopt a more responsible attitude to its own country heritage.as well as world heritage. 

Yours sincerely, 


Ramanathapuram Dist.: Geology, Archaeology

May 30, 2007

india_large.jpgCoral reef maps: Indian ocean, Indian coastline http://www.coral.noaa.gov/reef_maps/volume2/india_large.jpgcoralreefsoframanathapuram.jpg

http://books.google.com/books?id=hUkFUPp9pWoC&pg=PA4&ots=eYUGCesAwG&dq=raised+reefs+of+ramanathapuram&sig=g–NPaXhtbofNeqpgTUdgvbSE94

Source: John C. Pernetta, 1993, Marine Protected Areas Needs in the South Asian Seas Region: India, page 4

See: Institute of British Geographers, 1965, “Raised reefs of Ramanathapuram,” Transactions. “Indian Ocean elevated reefs, in Ramanathapuram District, Tamilnadu, South India, at the western end of Adam’s Bridge, between India and Ceylon. The morphology and fauna of the raised reefs are described, evidence for dating is assembled, and the implications for Gardiner’s and Sewell’s correlation of these deposits with other western Indian Ocean reef features are discussed.”

Ramanathapuram Dist.: An archaeological guideNS Ramaswami and I. Nagasami, 1979, Collector of Ramanathapuram, 135 pages


Rama Setu: burning our bridges with the sacred environment

May 30, 2007

June 03, 2007

Burning our bridges with the sacred environment

India has recently revived the idea of having the Sethusamudram canal built between itself and Sri Lanka. This means digging a big hole through the Rama Sethu Bridge and effectively destroying it. The economic benefits are said to be enormous as it will allow maritime vessels to no longer be compelled to circumnavigate Sri Lanka, but sail directly between the two countries.

In Hindu tradition, our entire environment is regarded as sacred and there are specific instances which provide important symbols for this. Witness the reverence Hinduism has for the great rivers – for example the sacred Ganga river – for their life giving and life sustaining qualities, the mountains which source these life giving forces and provide protection and indeed the whole land which is regarded as the Mother in addition to the regard for the millions of plants and animals. The Rama Sethu land formation (also known as Adam’s Bridge), linking southern India to northern Sri Lanka, is an example of such a sacredsymbol which is revered in Hindu tradition as the bridge constructed by Lord Rama and his army to cross into Lanka and defeat the demon Ravana.

India has recently revived the idea of having the Sethusamudram canal built between itself and Sri Lanka. This means digging a big hole through the Rama Sethu Bridge and effectively destroying it. The economic benefits are said to be enormous as it will allow maritime vessels to no longer be compelled to circumnavigate Sri Lanka, but sail directly between the two countries, thus boosting trade. In practice it will save at most just a day in travel time. There are also high economic costs – estimated at hundreds of millions of Rupees which will probably escalate into billions by the time the project is completed. But there are non-economic costs too, the first of which is the offence caused to Hindus for destroying a traditional place of pilgrimage and worship. This is comparable to a recent news story from the USA which we highlighted here in HHR where the American courts disallowed the use of sewage for artificial snow on a sacred mountain used as a place of worship and pilgrimage by the Native American people.

( http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us and americas/article1505736.ece)

http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=186&page=28