Ramsetu-“Don’t play with fire”

published on September 30, 2007

Rameswaram Ramasetu Raksha Manch- Press Statement

The judgement of the Hon’ble Supreme Court delivered in an extraordinary open hearing of the Court on a Sunday on 30 September 2007 is historic and constitutes a watershed in constitutional governance in India. The hearing was on petitions questioning the Constitutionality of the Tamilnadu bandh declared for 1 October 2007 by a group of parties who are partners in both the Central Government and the Government of Tamilnadu. It is strange that the governments which are entrusted with the security of the land should themselves be Indulging in internal pressure tactics through declaration of a bandh which adversely impacts the civil society.


 


When a suggestion was made for out-of-court parleys, the Court shot back: “Don’t play with fire.” These words of wisdom should echo in every entity of civil governance, governed by the rule of law. The bandh was declared allegedly to put pressure on the Central Government to implement the Setusamudram channel project desiccating the world heriage, Rama Setu – a desiccation which will have devastating implications on national sovereignty, security, accumulation of nation’s wealth in placer deposits, impairment of tsunami protection measures. The project is ill-conceived and in haste without consulting and involving Geological Survey of India (GSI) and without taking the neighbouring country Srilanka into confidence and without responding to the concerns raised by 34 Srilankan environmental experts pointing to the possibility of freshwater supplies drying up in Jaffna and Rameshwaram.If GSI had been consulted, they would have pointed out the geothermal situation, presence of volcanic rocks and the possibility of project work triggering min-tsunamis and with serious consequences impacting adversely the fragile ecosystem of the 24 marine parks which have been deemed to be a South Asia biosphere.


 


The Government of India should raise above party considerations and pro-american yen and shelve the Setusamudram channel project and order fresh, review of the rationale and economic-environmental-oceanographic-navigational-law of the sea aspects of the project while avoiding the creation of an International Waters Boundary in violation of the June 1974 Sirimavo Bandaranaike-Indira Gandhi declaration of Gulf of Mannar and Palk Straits as Historic Waters as a commonwealth shared by the two nations.

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