The UPA government has rejected the RK Pachauri Committee report that had found the entire Sethusamudram project unviable on two fronts – economically as ecologically. The Pachauri Committee had submitted its report to the Supreme Court on its direction.
In response to the committee report, the government made it clear that it intended to pursue the project cutting through the Adam’s Bridge, popularly known as Ram Setu. “Government does not accept the conclusions and recommendations of the Pachauri Committee. Given the advantages of the project, the Government of India intends to pursue the implementation of the project,” read the government affidavit, requesting SC to resolve the ‘contentious issues’ raised before it.
BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “The government’s affidavit is not the last word. The Ram Sethu is not a simple architectural symbol. It has the cult status of a deity.”
A bunch of petitions opposing the project are pending before SC since 2007 for adjudication. Work on the Sethusamudram project stopped after SC ordered a stay against the dredging work. It had then constituted the Pachauri committee to study an alternative route. The committee, however, called for scrapping the project.
In its affidavit the government further stated it had already incurred Rs. 829.32 crore on the project as on June 30, 2012. . The work commenced after environmental clearances and was based on well-researched technical studies. The Sethusamudram project, the shipping channel is proposed to be 30 metres wide, 12 metres deep and 167 kms long.