Karunanidhi giving communal colour to SSCP

published on May 5, 2007

CM giving communal colour to issue: BJP

‘Come clean on Ramar Bridge’


NT Bureau
Chennai, May 5:

The Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) and its ally, the Janata Party today upped the ante over the boiling issue of destruction of Ramar bridge in the Palk straits and demanded a white paper on it from the UPA government.

The BJP State unit president L Ganesan took serious exception to the remarks of Chief Minister M Karunanidhi that communal elements wanted to create trouble for the Sethu Samudram Ship Canal Project (SSCP) by invoking Ramar bridge theory and said it was condemnable.

Ganesan said it was unfair to portray the BJP as opposed to the Sethu Samudram project. ‘We have never opposed the SSCP, but are only against the destruction of Ramar bridge,’ the BJP leader said and regretted that the Chief Minster is trying to give a communal colour to the protests against the dredging in the Ramar Bridge area and it is condemnable.

He reiterated that all efforts were taken to implement the SSCP during A B Vajpayee’s tenure as Prime Minister. Preliminary works were undertaken and the then BJP government also allotted funds for the early commencement of works.

Ganesan also explained that a scheme was drawn up to carry out dredging near Mandapam. As an alternate plan it was suggested to commence dredging works near Pamban in Rameshwaram.

An alternate route was also suggested to Dhanushkodi, but it was given up as many felt that dredging the area would mean great damage to the ancient Kothandaramar temple.

Finally, it was proposed to have dredging works through the remaining areas of Dhaushkodi. It was welcomed by everyone since it was cost-effective and would also not cause any harm to Ramar Bridge, the BJP leader said.

Had the present government opted for the last suggestion, the work would have been completed without huge expense and also without causing damage to Ramar Bridge.

‘It is the duty of the government to protect ancient monuments and places of historical significance,’ Ganesan said and wanted a white paper seeking an explanation from the UPA government on the initiatives taken to ensure the safety of Ramar Bridge.

Interestingly, Janata Party president and former Union Minister Subramanian Swamy also demanded a white paper on Rama Sethu from the Central government today.

Speaking to reporters here, he claimed that the Prime Minister had given a clear direction to Union Shipping Minister T R Balu to ensure that Rama Sethu was not damaged.

Citing references made by Justice V R Krisha Iyer, President of India Dr A P J Abdul Kalam and former Supreme Court judge K T Thomas that Ram Setu is a natural formation, he wanted the government to take steps to protect it.

When asked about MDMK general secretary Vaiko’s recent statement on LTTE, he said that it is for AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa to clarify why differenes of opinion existed between the alliance partners.


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