An open letter to the Pachauri Committee

via Dr. S.Kalyanaraman published on July 31, 2008

I hope, Pachauri committee will call for and read Capt. Balakrishnan’s incisive cost-benefit analysis; conduct 3-d computer simulation models on seismicity, ocean currents, heat flows; read also 8000 pages of docmentation submitted to the Hon’ble SC on 160 topics (including the resultant devastation of the ecosphere).

The channel project will be in the hole for a long, long time. Hopefully, the committee will recommend scrapping the project for the simple reason that such a mid-ocean channel envisaged by SSCP does NOT exist anywhere in the world. Unlike the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, this Rama Setu ain’t no reef; it is a continuation of the Indian landmass into Sri Lanka and a Setu, causeway, bridge; a veritable centrifuge acting on clock-wise, anti-clockwise ocean currents accumulating monazite sands in Manavalakurichi, Aluva and Chavara — a stunning 32% of the world’s reserves of thorium.

Hopefully, the committee will also come up with answers on coping with the Nature magazine’s Sept. 6, 2007 serious warning of a tsunami waiting to happen from Sunda thrrust, a tsunami which will be more devastating than the Dec. 24, 2004 tsunami and impact 6 crore people from Bangladesh to Kerala coastline.

Hopefully, the Committee will also call for and discuss with Dr. CSP Iyer, Dr. K Gopalakrishnan, Dr. S. Badrinarayanan who have given scientific reports on the ecosphere, geo-scientific aspects. Hopefully, the Committee will also call for and discuss with Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh and the fisherfolk societies on the impact on their livelihood.

Hopefully, the Committee will also call the Rameshwaram Rama Setu Raksa Manch concerned citizens on multifarious aspects related to culture and security implications at a place where over 5 lakh pilgrims gather evey ashadha amavasya to offer pitru tarpanam, homage to ancestors led by Sri Rama. Sri Rama rameti vyapohati na sams’ayah is the first invocation before sankalpa mantra.

Hopefully, the Committee will adopt transparent and open procedures for gathering views from the public and concerneed citizens and not rush through under the diktats of a regime under political compulsions.

What is needed a total revamp of the project approach as the Planning Commission observed and not a quick-fix or band-aid solutions based on trivial pursuits. Country’s national security and integrity, safeguarding nation’s wealth and protecting coastal peoples’ lives are far too serious matters to be treated as trivial for a quick-fix by a committee without detailed technical evaluations and environmental impact assessment studies under the laws of the land and also in tune with the 1958 Law of the Sea, 1958 Ancient Monuments Protection Act (a culural facet by any standards of definition), nation’s undertakings under international laws, treaties apart from the Indira Gandhi-Sirmavo Bandaranaike declaration of historic waters in Gulf of Mannar in June 1974, and concerns of the neigbouring state of S’rilanka in an indivisible ocean.

Dr. S. Kalyanaraman

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