To shelve SSCP, Hit hard with Cost card!

via HARAN.B.R published on September 18, 2007

Our country has a hoary past for the best and most ancient civilization in the world. It is well known for its richness in religious traditions and cultural heritage, for which the great epics Ramayana & Mahabaratha serve as backbones. Millions of Hindus worldwide revere these ‘Ithihaasaas’, not only as sacred texts, but also as the true history of our ancient nation for which a number of evidences are available to prove their historical existence.


 


The Sethu Samudram Canal Project has been in contention since the British period and many committees have been constituted since then, to study the viability of such a project. All those committees, up to the A. Ramasamy Mudhaliar committee (1956), have suggested only a land-based canal starting from Rameswaram Island. The project has been an electoral issue for all the political parties in Tamil Nadu and during the NDA regime (DMK, PMK & MDMK were partners then) the foundation for the project was laid and studies were undertaken and finally six route plans were arrived at. With the advent of the UPA government, the route plan cutting across the Rama Sethu was arbitrarily selected and the inauguration was hurriedly held, without a proper study on the economical viability of the project. The authorities also showed scant regards to the religious sentiments of millions of Hindus, genuine concerns of environmentalists and expert opinions of geologists, marine archaeologists, tsunami experts and security experts.


 


The DMK is famous for its anti-Hindu and atheistic stands and sadly & unfortunately, the other allies of the DMK government have also been supporting it, while the opposition parties AIADMK & MDMK have been remaining silent on the issue of Rama Sethu. All of them were under the presumption that taking a stand favouring the protection of Rama Sethu, would result in loss of votes, as the project is being projected as a developmental opportunity for Tamil Nadu. The UPA at the centre and the DPA at the state have created a picture, as though, the project is going to bring in a lot of revenue, employment opportunities, etc, resulting in the over all development of the state. The DMK has been so audacious that the Shipping Minister T.R.Balu didn’t even bother to consult the Defence Ministry / Indian Navy, with regards to the security aspects. Immediately after the inauguration, SSCP Corporation was set up and a deal was finalized with the Dredging Corporation of India and work was started. Until last month, crores of money has been allegedly spent with zero result. The dredged sand gets accumulated again & again due to the movement of waters and the DCI’s attempts to break the Ramna Sethu has resulted in the breakages of cranes & their spuds. If the bridge is actually a natural formation of sand dunes, then how come cranes & spuds weighing 250 to 300 tonnes get broken? If a natural formation could be there for a stretch of 30 kms, then why there was no other similar formations, even for a stretch of 5 kms, around the world? It is also alleged that the SSCP Corporation has not paid the bills of Dredging Corporation of India for their works so far!  


 


On the other hand, to establish the actual truth of Rama Sethu, literary, historical, archeological and numismatic evidences have been submitted in the Courts of Law. Despite all these evidences, the Government of India had the arrogance to file an affidavit questioning the existence of Rama & truth of Ramayana. Even after the centre backtracked and withdrew the affidavit, the state government exhibited its arrogance through the malicious statements of Chief minister Karunannidhi, Dravida Kazhagam leader Veeramani and PMK leader Ramadoss. They all have said that Rama, Ramayana and Rama Sethu are myth and they are persuading the central government to go ahead with the project. The valuable opinions of geologists, marine archeologists, tsunami experts, environmentalists and security experts have been ignored with contempt. As both the governments are expected to reject the religious sentiments, environmental & security concerns and the expert opinions, the only way to stall or shelve the wasteful & useless project is to attack and arrest them on the economic point of view. It becomes imperative, as the Shipping Minister has already hinted that the government would approach the SC for getting appropriate orders to restart the dredging works.


 


To go from Tuticorin to Kolkatta, directly cutting across the sea between India & Srilanka will be certainly shorter than circumnavigating Srilanka, which is a simple logic, even a child can say. But, while making such a route plan, we have to consider, the depth of sea, weight of ships, shallowness of the waters, speed at which the ships can travel, the fuel consumption & costs, requirement of pilots & pilotage and toll fee, etc. After considering all these factors and making a threadbare analysis, the marine experts have arrived at the following conclusions: –


 



  • The time saved will be only 2 hours or less and not 36 hours as claimed by the SSCP Corporation. In fact the time consumption might be more because of embarking & disembarking of pilots and other inspection procedures.

  • The cost difference is not worth considering and sometimes circumnavigating Srilanka would be cheaper.

  • Ships weighing 30,000 tones & below only can sail through the proposed canal as it may not be suitable for the sailing of heavier vessels.

  • Security risks are perennial because of terrorists’ threat.

  • Against these limitations, the foreign vessels would certainly prefer to circumnavigate Srilanka and only a small number of Indian vessels may use the canal, that too on compulsion only, which may result in loss of revenue.

  • In this context, the SSCP does not make any “Nautical Sense” and it is advised to shelve the project instead of wasting thousands of crores of taxpayers’ money.

 


The Defense Minister might be aware of security concerns and the Prime Minister being a financial wizard must also be aware of the economical non-viability of the project. But, unfortunately both of them do not have a voice of their own and the DMK directly deals with Sonia, who doesn’t know anything about history, religion & economics. In order to survive in power, she would compromise with the DMK and hence, the project might be expected to be taken up again after three months. When it is well, ascertained that the project is a “white elephant”, it should be shelved and the taxpayers’ money must not be wasted. For that, the central & state governments must be hit hard with the cost card, at the court of law, so that, this worthless project is shelved once and for all

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