Unviable Setusamudram Ship Channel project

Setusamudram Ship Canal Project

Oct. 4, 2007

Hello all.
If you remember, sir talked about the viability of the Setu Samudram project in terms of reducing the time of navigation in the last class. I think this makes a good case study for IPM course!
Here is my understanding of the project.

· The project does not serve the very purpose it is being done! It will reduce the travel distance by only 120 nautical miles. And usually the ships travel at 12-13 knot speed. But when it enters setu samudram waters, they have to slow down to half of the speed. This ultimately means saving of only around 1 hr 30 mins of travel time, if the same ship had gone via normal route around Sri Lanka. Now the question is, is it worth spending Rs. 2400 crores on this project just to save 1.5 hrs? and remember, no ship will pay a huge toll and use this shipping canal. The project, if realized, will be an economic disaster.

· Next worst thing is the effect on the marine ecology. The coral reef will be completely destroyed by dredging of the sea bed. These are the coral reefs that slowed down the Tsunami waves and lessened the effect of it on to the other side of Indian coast. Not only that. The water surrounding the island nation of Sri Lanka is the habitat for very rare species of whale which is on the verge of extinction. Their habitat will be severely affected by this project.

· Now onto the social impact of the project. Thousands of fishermen have to quit fishing and also the place, which is their habitat for hundreds of years. There is absolutely no rehabilitation plan so far being thought of for them. And the govt is hardly listening to their woes.

· There is also zero planning on the part of the parties involved in the dredging as to where to dump the excavated soil. The contract document says, it will be dumped in some safe place. But what is that place? where it is? how to transport the soil to that place? what are the aftermaths of dumping those thousands of tonnes of soil from sea bed on to the land? No answer what so ever.

· In terms of strategic gains, India is gaining only 1 out of 10 or even less. The Setusamudram area on to the Lanka side has a lethal sea-bourne marine unit of LTTE. The consequence of any friction with LTTE – I need not tell it!

o In fact, an issue like this shows how poorly we are managing our strategies. China has already built naval control points all around India. Pakistan has been of great support and help to China. China is building an ultra modern naval point off the Karachi shore, to control West part of India. It already has one such base in one of the Myanmar islands, and is closely watching the activities at Chandipur, the missile karma-bhoomi of India. And it is no secret many of the LTTE weapons are China made!!

· It is a nonsense argument that the project will bring economic prosperity to Tamil Nadu. It will only bring disasters!

· one China friendly ‘National Newspaper of India’ along with its buddy blind politicians of Tamil Nadu is supporting the project so much as if without this there wont be any progress in Tamil Nadu! how to stop this misguidance?

· where are the NGOs, Arundhati Roy and Medha Pathkar?!

· why are the govts silent on these aspects? what are the possible solutions to the socio – economic – environmental issues?

Posted by Thejas at 12:22 PM


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