Scrap Setu project, develop MEZ — Dr. Swamy

STATEMENT OF DR.SUBRAMANIAN SWAMY, PRESIDENT OF JANATA PARTY MADE IN CHENNAI ON JANUARY 4, 2008

1. The Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project (SSC) will now have to be scrapped because it is illegal. According to earlier Supreme Court judgments, prior environmental clearance of State Government Pollution Boards is necessary before the project can be inaugurated. But in the SSCP case, the PM inaugurated it on January 2, 2005 when the Tamil Nadu Pollution Board had not cleared the project. This fact was revealed by the then CM Ms.Jayalalitha in her message to the Rama Setu Rakksha Manch’s mammoth rally in Delhi on December 30th.

2. The SSCP is also illegal because the Ministry of Environment & Forests in a letter dated April 9, 1999 had advised the Ministry of Surface Transport to drop the project altogether because it is an environmental disaster. The NEERI had also stated in a report of 2002 that environmental clearance cannot be given if explosives are to be used to break through the Rama Setu, and hence the NEERI had rejected Alignment No.5, since it would have required using explosives near Dhanushkodi. Rama Setu however cannot be breached by dredging, and hence the Government was planning to use RDX when I obtained a stay from the Supreme Court. The SSCP thus is doomed to fail, and must be scrapped.

3. It is better therefore to develop Tuticorin and coastal areas of Tamil Nadu by developing a Marine Economic Zone, and by laying a double broad gauge railway line cum National Highway, connecting Tuticorin to Kolkata via Vishakapatnam.

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