Sethu project rocks Parliament

via PTI published on May 3, 2007

NEW DELHI: The Sethusamudram project issue rocked both Houses of Parliament on Thursday with an aggressive BJP accusing the government of attempting to destroy evidence of the existence of ancient ‘Ram Setu’ (bridge) linking India and Sri Lanka.

Countering the claim in Lok Sabha, Shipping Minister T R Baalu, joined by DMK members, strongly objected to the issue being raised in the House on the ground that it was sub-judice. He said the matter was pending in the Allahabad High Court.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, BJP deputy leader V K Malhotra contended that the issue was not sub judice. It involved destruction of evidence, he said.

The Rs.2427 crore Sethusamudram ship channel project envisages dredging of 167 km channel along the Palk Straits, Palk Bay and Adams Bridge to connect Bay of Bengal and Gulf of Mannar between India and Sri Lanka.

The BJP-Shiv Sena members trooped to the well raising slogans against the minister, forcing Speaker Somnath Chatterjee to adjourn the House for a short while.

At one stage, when Baalu was waving a paper to press home his point, the Speaker sternly told him “Mr minister, don’t show the papers”.

When the House met at 12.30 pm, the Speaker said, “This being a contentious matter, you give me the papers because serious reservations seem to be there. I am not rejecting it”.

The BJP-Shiv Sena members again moved to the well shouting Ram Setu bachao (save Ram Setu). They later relented to allow discussion on the Finance Bill.

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