Centre mulls alternate route for Ram Setu | india | Hindustan Times
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Centre mulls alternate route for Ram Setu

The UPA-led government has constituted an expert committee headed by Nobel prize winner RK Pachauri to look into the court’s suggestion for an alternative alignment of the Sethusamudram project.

india Updated: Jul 31, 2008 00:31 IST
Bhadra Sinha

The UPA-led government has constituted an expert committee headed by Nobel prize winner RK Pachauri to look into the court’s suggestion for an alternative alignment of the Sethusamudram project.

The committee, which has been asked to submit its report “as quickly as possible”, will also survey a canal cutting through the portion between Dhanushkodi and Lands End on Rameshwaram island.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its judgment on various petitions challenging the project. The court, however, went through the letter received by senior advocate Fali S. Nariman from the cabinet secretary, K M Chandrashekhar, and decided “not to pronounce its verdict until the committee submits the report”.

“Let the committee give its report and, if there is any development, after that the court shall consider the same before delivering the judgment,” the court said.

The committee has been formed at the instance of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Nariman, representing the Centre as a special counsel in the case before the apex court, had written to the Prime Minister last week on court’s suggestion to explore the possibility of an alternative route. Though, initially, Nariman had opposed the idea stating Lord Ram had himself damaged the Setu.

N Sundaradevan, principal secretary of Tamil Nadu’s ministry of environment and forests, and R Kirtoshkumar, who is the collector of Ramanathapuram district of the state, have been nominated as the special invitees of the committee. The government has left it to the committee to co-opt other experts or institutions to facilitate its work.

Meanwhile, Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan has turned down petitioner Subramanium Swamy’s request to permit a public hearing before the committee.