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Ram Setu: Panel says optional route not possible

Pachauri report- says alternative will not be economically and ecologically viable

delhi Updated: Jul 03, 2012 01:37 IST
Bhadra Sinha

The high-level committee headed by noted environmentalist RK Pachauri has stated that the alternative — other than dredging the mythological Ram Setu — to have a shorter navigational route between Western and Eastern coasts of India was not ecologically and economically viable.

The Centre on Monday submitted the report to the Supreme Court, which is hearing a bunch of petitions against the Sethusamudram project. The pleas claimed the execution of the project would damage the mythological bridge.

“Given the doubt raised by the detailed analysis which has been carried out, it is unlikely that the public interest would be served by pursuing the project on the basis of Alignment 4A,” the report said. The alternative route examined by the panel required dredging of the Palk Bay area and the spit of land just east of Dhanushkodi area but not Ram Setu.

Solicitor General Rohinton Nariman told a bench of Justice HL Dattu and Justice CK Prasad that the Cabinet was yet to consider and take a final decision on the Pachauri report. The court gave the government eight weeks' time to reply. https://www.hindustantimes.com/Images/Popup/2012/7/03-june-12-pg-13a.jpg

The work on the Sethusamudram project stopped after the Supreme Court in September 2007 had issued a stay order against the dredging while hearing the petition opposing the project. It had then suggested the alternative route following which the Prime Minister appointed the Pachauri panel. As per the Sethusamudram project, the shipping channel is proposed to be 30 metres wide, 12 metres deep and 167 km long.

Giving detailed reasons for its recommendations, the panel concluded: "For the foregoing, it can be seen that the project, including the possibility of adopting Alignment 4A, could potentially result in ecological threats that could pose a risk to the ecosystem in the surrounding area and in particular, to the biosphere reserve.”

It expressed apprehension of damage to the biosphere reserve of area that could take place due to oil spills.

“Another important aspect of risk management relates to the possibility of oil spills, which, even with the most stringent measures and precautions, would be difficult to rule out completely,” it said.