Shri Rameswaram Ramasetu Raksha Manch’s letter to Prime Minister

published on September 30, 2007

To


 


Hon’ble Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh ji.


 


Subject: Rama Setu: undertaking for comprehensive review given by Govt. of India in the Supreme Court


 


Respected Hon’ble Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh ji,


 


I am writing this on behalf of Rameswaram Ramasetu Raksha Manch in the context of the undertaking given by Govt. of India in the Supreme Court for consultations and comprehensive review of the Setusamudram Channel Project.


 


It may be recalled that the Addl. Solicitor General told the Hon’ble Court, acknowledging “the wide-ranging public sentiment”: “The Central Government, without any reservations, in a spirit of inclusiveness and high democratic tradition, to consider a different point of view, withdraws the present affidavit, to re-examine the entire matter…all material would be re-scrutinised with care and  circumspection, including any alternative suggestion.”


 


Announcing that a “mechanism” would be in place where anybody who has got any objections on the project would be heard, the Government counsel emphasized that the Centre is “keen that its decisions bind and bring the society together, rather than cause any disruption in the religious and social psyche of one true India.”  We appreciate this candour and forthrightness.


 


Credible team of experts of RRRM It is with good faith and in this spirit of credible, transparent and inclusive re-evaluation of the Setusamudram Channel  


Project that names of experts recommended by us should be associated and consulted before any decision is taken to set up any ‘mechanism’ for review.


 


 


To avoid any injection of bias, the proposed review mechanism should, apart from detailed and wide-ranging consultations with the petitioners in the court cases,  include experts NOT directly connected with the project  implementation agencies but independent experts who can provide an unbiased opinion and provide guidance for evaluation of aspects which were NOT included in the earlier studies; in particular, national security aspects, orders in Madras HC judgement of 19 June, 2007, aspects such as geotectonics, geothermal heat-flows and volcanics in the project area, impact on placer deposit accumulations along the entire southern coastline, impact of another tsunami which has been indicated in the Nature magazine report of 6 September 2007 of a tsunami more devastating than the 2004 or 1762 tsunami putting 6 to 7 crore people of the  coastline of India at risk, changes in bathymetry and sedimentation parameters after the 2004 tsunami, evaluation of pro’s and con’s of a landbased canal versus mid-ocean channel passage with concomitant navigational hazards and impossibility of salvage operations for grounded ships, transport economics project alternatives such as road and rail to move coastal shipments into the  hinterland.


 


There are also issues related to internationalization of the channel as brought out in Justice VR Krishna Iyer’s letter to the Prime Minister. Views of  


eminent jurists like Justice KT Thomas should also be considered.


 


 


Consultations with the public


 


The two public hearings of the project in January and  February 2005 were not transparent, were incomplete, unfair, defective and void since the people directly concerned with the project along the coastline from


Nagappattinam in Tamilnadu to Kochi in Kerala were still recovering from the devastating impact of the Dec. 26, 2004 tsunami.


 


We look forward to being associated with the formulation of the mechanism for enabling a fair, equitable, credible and transparent review and look forward to an opportunity to meet with you with representatives of fishermen community, our experts of various fields such as geology, oceanography, navigation, seismology, mining with particular reference to rare earths, heavy minerals, atomic minerals, archaeology and heritage studies which have a bearing on the review.


 


 


Please indicate the time and date convenient for a team from RRRM to meet with you at your convenience to discuss about the composition and terms of reference of the proposed review mechanism.


 


 


Thanking you for your consideration and with the best regards,


 


Yours sincerely,


 


S. Kalyanaraman, Ph.D. 


Former Sr. Executive, Asian Development Bank, 


On behalf of Rameswaram Ramasetu Raksha Manch (RRRM), 

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