The Left parties on Monday accused the central government of "buckling down before the pressure from communal forces" in delaying the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project, and warned it against any changes in the project's alignment.
"The centre had no business to defer the project by three months and to agree to look for alternative routes. Having completed 60 per cent of the work, the central government must implement the project without subjecting it to any change whatsoever," N Varadarajan, general secretary of the Tamil Nadu unit of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), told reporters in Chennai.
"The SSCP has been charted by scientists, experts and various government agencies, and hence cannot be altered at this eleventh hour in the name of epic heroes. Such a development is not good for the country," added Communist Party of India (CPI) state secretary D Pandiyan.
Answering queries on the environmental impact of the project, they said they were working with the fishing community on a regular basis and knew the ground realities well.
"In fact, changes in the alignment will be an environmental catastrophe," Varadarajan said.
Pandiyan parried queries about the Left toeing the line of Tamil Nadu's ruling DMK party, and quipped, "The SSCP is not a project limited to the DMK. On the contrary, it concerns the whole nation."
The two leading communist parties are set to launch a joint campaign from Oct 20 to 25 in the state to buttress their twin demands of scrapping the India-US nuclear deal and the implementation of SSCP, the two leaders added.