Stung on Setu, channel no good for big ships; SC hearing 28 Jan. 2008

Stung on Setu, channel no good for big ships; SC hearing 28 Jan. 2008

Stung on Setu, Cong to tread with caution
23 Jan 2008, 0204 hrs ISTclip_image001,clip_image002TNN
NEW DELHI: With BJP eagerly waiting to pounce on the government stand on Ram Setu, the Congress leadership has advised extreme caution on the affidavit that the Centre plans to file in the Supreme Court on the contentious issue.
The Congress core group on Tuesday felt that top party and government heads should meet once before the deadline for filing of affidavit on January 27.
The party wants to handle the sensitive issue with care, lest it is pounced upon by BJP and Sangh Parivar to paint the Congress-led government as “anti-Hindu”. Having been caught off-guard in the first affidavit, where Centre had called into question the existence of Lord Ram and triggered a massive controversy, the party is keen to ensure that the gaffe is not repeated.
In view of the defeats in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh and upcoming Karnataka polls, where BJP has a history of playing the Hindutva card, Congress is careful not to provide fresh fodder to the opposition party. The party has finally begun to address issues pertaining to states.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Stung_on_Setu_Cong_to_tread_with_caution/articleshow/2722685.cms

Modi not the only BJP trump card: Sinha

Statesman News Service
SILIGURI, Jan. 23: Former Union minister and BJP MP, Mr Shatrughan Sinha, today said that the BJP had several trump cards in addition to the Gujarat chief minister, Mr Narendra Modi, in the next Parliamentary polls…

Making reference to the controversy over the Setuamudram project and the Congress’ allegation that the project was actually cleared by the previous NDA government, the former Union shipping minister termed the allegation as a ‘white lie’.
“As the Union shipping minister then, let me clarify that my ministry did never clear the project. Rather we asked experts to scrutinise the project’s impact on the environment and our internal security,” Mr Sinha claimed.

http://www.thestatesman.net/page.news.php?clid=10&theme=&usrsess=1&id=187247

With an eye on North, Centre to dump Sethu project
Thursday January 24 2008 00:56 IST

K N Arun

CHENNAI: The Congress has all but decided to put the skids on the Sethusamudram project. Not because it has lost faith in the project, but because it is concerned about the political fall-out and the possible impact on the electorate in the north India in the next Lok Sabha elections.
According to informed sources, the Congress leadership would rather put the project on the back burner than risk further hurting the Hindu religious sentiments.
In fact, highly placed DMK sources said a senior Congress minister had even gone to the extent of telling his DMK colleagues in the Union Cabinet that the Congress could not afford to put its chances in half the country at risk for the sake of one state (Tamil Nadu).
The apprehension of damage to Ramar Sethu — believed to have been built by Lord Rama’s vanar sena — during dredging in the present alignment had sparked protests from various Hindu groups, and is even a matter of litigation before the Supreme Court.
The controversy heightened when the Centre in a counter affidavit in the Supreme Court had questioned the historicity of Lord Rama, though the affidavit was later withdrawn.
Now, the government has sought more time to file the counter affidavit, despite the fact that the report of an expert committee to go into the nature of Ramar Sethu, on which the affidavit was to have been based, has already submitted the report.
According to sources, the committee has concluded that there is no evidence that Ramar Sethu is man made. But DMK sources say that Congress leaders are apprehensive about the impact of such categorical assertion on the Hindu voters.
It is probably a reflection of this that TN Governor S S Barnala, in his customary address to the Assembly on Wednesday, barely touched upon the Sethusamudram project. He urged the Centre “to continue the implementation of this unique and constructive project, without paying heed to the untenable and contradictory arguments now raised by a few for political gains.”

http://www.newindpress.com/NewsItems.asp?ID=IE920080123143435&Title=Chennai&Topic=0

TN requests Centre not to shelve Sethusamudram project

January 23rd, 2008 – 8:19 pm ICT by admin – clip_image003 Email This Post

Chennai, Jan 23 (ANI): The Tamil Nadu Government has requested the Centre not to shelve the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project because of the issues raised by some people for their political gain.

In his customary address at the beginning of the State Assembly session, Governor said that this project is a long-pending dream of the people of Tamil Nadu and “desired” by scholars and eminent personalities.

The construction work at Ram Sethu Project had been stopped by the Supreme Court after a number of writ petition were filed seeking stoppage of demolition of the mythological bridge believed to have been constructed by Lord Rama.

“This government urges the union government not to go back on its endeavour to transform the future of people of Tamil Nadu to one of progress and prosperity and to continue with implementation of this unique and constructive project,” Barnala said while addressing the State Assembly.

The 560-million dollar project, approved by the government in 2005, plans to dredge a channel in a narrow strip of sea between India and Sri Lanka, reducing distances and cutting costs for freight traffic.

When the project is finished, ships sailing between India’s Western and Eastern coasts will not have to go around the south of Sri Lanka, and is expected to save up to 36 hours of sailing time which would strengthen the Countrys economy by expanding International and maritime trade.

Hindu groups have been opposing the 560 million dollars project, saying it would destroy the ‘holy’ Ram Sethu, a 48-kilometre chain of limestone shoals that once linked Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu to Mannar in Sri Lanka. (ANI)

http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/india-news/tn-requests-centre-not-to-shelve-sethusamudram-project_10014112.html

TN requests Centre not to stall Sethusamudram project

Chennai (PTI): Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday requested the Centre not to “go back” on the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project by paying heed to the “untenable” arguments raised by some people for “political gains”.

In his customary address to the state assembly, Governor S S Barnala said the project, a long-pending dream of the people of Tamil Nadu, had been studied since 1860 during the British rule and found feasible by engineering stalwarts.

It was also “considered desirable” by scholars and eminent personalities, he said.

The dredging work at Ram Sethu area had been stayed by Supreme Court on a batch of writ petitions seeking to stop demolition of the mythological bridge believed to have been constructed by Lord Ram to cross over to Lanka.

Barnala said the project has potential to contribute to the strength and development of India by expanding international and maritime trade.

“This government urges the union government not to go back on its endeavour to transform the future of people of Tamil Nadu to one of progress and prosperity and to continue with implementation of this unique and constructive project,” he said.

The Centre should not “pay heed to the untenable and contradictory arguments now raised by a few for political gains,” he said.

http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/401200801231221.htm

http://organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=175&page=29 Stop Setu Project, save South India — Setusamudram Project and impending tsunami devastation

Ram Sethu and Bully Baloo

24 Jan. 2008 K. Vijayan

Instead of countering the arguments of either the “Hindu zealots” or technical and financial experts which have been made public in the media and in sworn affidavits in Courts the Rowdy Leaders of Rowdy Parties go into war-mode with their private armies and money power. An eye-wash Commission of “Eminent Persons” holds a peremptory and casual hearing and comes out with a dubious report. Overnight the Commssion or Committee is labeled as an “Expert Committee” in spite of its bona-fides being questioned from day one.

The TN Chief Minister raised a silly rhetorical question “At which engineering college did Lord Rama study?”

It is being asked: what Scientific Studies did what Technical Experts of the various Bodies who have testified conduct on the Ramar Sethu all these years to come out with categorical assurances that the Sethu is not Man Made? Is such a study possible/feasible at all?

Some figures of economical viability have been put up for, and been countered by experts. This can at best be described as a Grey Area, given the fact that nobody in the world can predict how the Ocean will act over a period of time. One Tidal wave or Tsunami or cyclone may whip up seas and sand and fill up the dredged channel in no time at all. What will be the probabilities and periodicity of such occurrences? Is there any comparable Channel anywhere in the world? Experts have spoken about some Cape Cod Channel in USA as an example of a physical and economic disaster. Other experts have written much about the possibility of Chennai and other Ports being badly affected by erosion. It is claimed that the Pamban Channel dredged by the British was responsible for the submerging of the temples at Mahabalipuram and other places along the East Coast.

The point made by the Navy Chief about the Sethu Channel being useful for small ships only has been made by other experts also – before the Supreme Court also. He has refused to expand on this since it is a “sensitive issue”. So what is wrong in his statement? He should not open his mouth at all? It is understood that TR.Balu has complained about this to the Defence Minister. We would suggest that Balu being a representative of the people should not go about riding rough shod over the sentiments of the Hindu Majority in the first place. A little Shut Mouth will go a long way in convincing people of his bonba fides; if any.

And we have not touched Environmental issues here at all. Nor the aspect that the most affected will be the Christian Fisherfolk, who should be more aaam than other aam aadmis to Kazhagamas and Congress.

Most people do not believe that it is Religious sentiment that is against the Project ; it is the techno-economic viability which is dubious, and the motives of the persons trying to ram the project through.

Reasonable debate on any issue went out long ago in Tamil Nadu. For decades now it has been Rule by Rowdies and Dravidagoons in this unfortunate state. And ever since the Mestizo Dynasty firmed up its control over the Congress Party politics has become thoroughly criminalized and corrupt. The only force that is holding India together is the Hindu religion which is at the heart of the 80 plus percentage of the people; and not just in the North either. This is what will determine the fate of the ill-conceived, corruption-motivated Sethu Project, and its violent protagonists. The Cong seems to have come down to earth – will Curunananidhi is the question.

<K.Vijayan>

3/2, Vasanth Apts.II, 312, Lloyds Road, Chennai 600014.

Sethu project not good for big ships: Naval chief

PTI | January 22, 2008 | 14:13 IST

The Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project, aimed at deepening the waters in Palk Straits, is a ‘viable’ one but will not be useful for the navigation of the big ships, Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Suresh Mehta said in Chennai on Tuesday.

“It is a viable project. But, on completion, it will be useful only for small ships but not to those big ships navigating on international routes,” Mehta told the media on the sidelines of a meeting in Chennai on Monday night.

Asked to elaborate, the admiral said, “This is Tamil Nadu. And it is a sensitive issue,” and declined to eloborate.

He was interacting with the audience of the Fifth T S Narayanaswamy Memorial Lecture, where he spoke on ‘Oceanic Influence on India’s Development in the next Decade.’

SSCP was embroiled in controversy after the Bharatiya Janata Party, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and other parties objected to the dredging of Ram Sethu, which formed part of the project.

The Supreme Court also stayed the dredging work on Ram Sethu.

URL for this article:

http://www.rediff.com///news/2008/jan/22sethu.htm

Indian Naval Chief says, Sethu Samundram is not good for big ships

Chennai, Jan 22 (ANI): Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Suresh Mehta has said that the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project (SSCP), which will dredge a channel in a narrow strip of sea between India and Sri Lanka, would not be useful for the navigation of the big ships.”It is a viable project. But, on completion, it will be useful only for small ships but not to those big ships navigating on international routes,” Mehta told reporters here on Monday night.

ANI

Tue, 22 Jan 2008 08:04:09

Chennai, Jan 22 (ANI): Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Suresh Mehta has said that the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project (SSCP), which will dredge a channel in a narrow strip of sea between India and Sri Lanka, would not be useful for the navigation of the big ships.

“It is a viable project. But, on completion, it will be useful only for small ships but not to those big ships navigating on international routes,” Mehta told reporters here on Monday night.

When he was asked to elaborate the matter further, Admiral Mehta said: “This is Tamil Nadu. And it is a sensitive issue,” and refused to elaborate.

The 560-million dollar project, approved by the government in 2005, plans to dredge a channel in a narrow strip of sea between India and Sri Lanka, reducing distances and cutting costs for freight traffic.

However, according to the Central Government, research has shown that the “Ramsetu” was a series of sand shoals created by sedimentation and therefore no religious sentiments should be attached to it.

When the project is finished, ships sailing between India’s western and eastern coasts will not have to go around the south of Sri Lanka, and is expected to save up to 36 hours of sailing time.

Hindu groups, however, have been opposing the 560 million dollars project, saying it would destroy the ‘holy’ Ram Sethu, a 48-kilometre chain of limestone shoals that once linked Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu to Mannar in Sri Lanka. (ANI)

http://www.theinfosage.com/news/419/ARTICLE/26045/2008-01-22.html

Project should not damage Ramar Sethu, says Jayalalithaa

Legal Correspondent

Direct Centre to take alternative route: plea


Destruction fraught with serious consequences

Project being hurried through for political reasons

New Delhi: The Supreme Court will hear on January 28 a writ petition filed by Jayalalithaa, general secretary, All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, for a direction to the Centre to implement the Sethusamudram project through an alternative route without damaging Ramar Sethu.

She has also sought a direction to declare Adam’s Bridge/Ramar Sethu a national monument and to restrain the Centre and other authorities from destroying it while executing the project.

(On January 16, the court gave the Centre two weeks to file a comprehensive affidavit explaining its stand on the project. It is yet to be filed.)

Ms. Jayalalithaa said Ramar Sethu, by reason of its antiquity and unique features, should be treated as a world heritage site. Any destruction of or damage to the structure, as envisaged in the project, was fraught with serious ecological, environmental, climatic and security consequences.

She said the significance of Ramar Sethu could well be appreciated from the fact that even the Survey of India adopted in 1767 a logo “which reads ‘AaSetuHimachalam’ meaning thereby that India is spread between Ramar Bridge and the Himalayas.”

Ms. Jayalalithaa said: “One source notes that Ramancoil has been shown on a 1747 map made in the Netherlands, called the Malabar Bowen Map of the Netherlands, and that the 1788 edition of the map called Map of Hindoostan or the Mughal Empire, which is available in Saraswati Mahal Library, Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, makes [a] reference to the bridge.”

She said, “The bridge’s unique curvature and composition by age reveals that it is man made and that archaeological studies revealed that first signs of human inhabitants in Sri Lanka date back to the primitive age of about 17,50,000 years and the bridge’s age is also almost equivalent.”

Ms. Jayalalithaa said that in 2005, she as Chief Minister voiced her concern at the damage to the ecologically sensitive zone and the effect of the project on the livelihood of fishermen but these aspects were not considered and it was being hurried through for political reasons.

http://www.hindu.com/2008/01/23/stories/2008012355991300.htm

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Statement of Sri S.Vedanthamji, Working President (Intl), VHP

A Great victory for Ram Bakthas

For millions of Hindus Ramasethu was the bridge built by Nala & Neela under the instructions from Lord Ram to cross over the sea and redeem Sita Matha from Sri Lanka

The so called secular Govt. in Bharath in the garb of development wanted to demolish the Ram Sethu and implement the SSCP project though alternate route is available. To establish their claim they even dared to challenge the existence of Bhagawan Rama and the Chief Minister of Tamilnadu has gone to the extent of calling Rama as a drunkard.

The VHP and parivar organizations jointly put up a fight against the pseudo secularists for hurting the Hindu sentiments.

After many agitations & programmes like fasting, public meetings and rallies, road roko, and Rath yatra with the floating stones taken from the Ram sethu which were conducted in the nook and corner of the country evoked a very great response from the public. In order to show the solidarity of Hindus on this issue it was decided to organize a mammoth rally in the capital of the country to send a strong message to the Government.

This Rama Setu Mahasammelan convened by Rameswaram Rama Sethu Raksha Manch a forum exclusively formed for this purpose by VHP, was held on 30 Dec. 2007 from 11 AM to 5 PM is a historic movement, unprecedented in the annals of Indian history.Over 10 lakh Ramabakthas had assembled on a 27 lakh sq. ft. ground of Swarna Jayanti Park, Rohini, New Delhi in spite of the Mercury touching as low as 3 degree Celsius.

The vast park which was 1 km in both length and breadth was filled to capacity and the participants had to find accommodation on the parks and pathways adjacent to the Japani Park which had become Rama Setu Vaatika.

Sri Sudarsanji-RSS , Sri Ashok Singhlaji, Sri Vedantamji, Sri Praveen Togadia, Sri Rajnath Singh, BJP leaders like Dr Murali Manohar Joshi, Sri Arun Jaitley, Smt Sushma Swaraj, all the Chief Ministers of BJP ruled states and many MPs and MLAs from BJP have attended the programme.

The programme was presided over by Sankaracharya of Jyotish mutt and attended by many sadhus and Sanyasis from all over Bharath. To name a few: Sri Vishveshteertha Swamigal of Pejawar Mutt Udupi, Sadvi Ritambaradevi, Mahanth Sri Nruthya Gopal Doss, Acharya Dharmendra, Sri Ramvilas Vedanthi.

The 27 lakh sq ft ground which was full of bushes and litter was cleaned and made available for use in just 7 days by the local BJP MLA and the municipal councilors.

The participants came from every nook and corner of India by over 100 trains and using over 10,000 buses, 6000 cars, and thousands of two-wheelers and by pada yatra. Elaborate arrangements were made in New Delhi and nearby railway stations to receive people coming from remote corners of the country. VHP has booked more than 1000 temples 70 schools , 250 community centres and 50 dharansalas for accommodating more than 65000 participants. Over 10 lakh food packets were contributed by the people of Delhi and distributed to all the participants as they entered Delhi.

The message from the meeting was emphatic, loud and clear: declare Rama Setu as world heritage monument, declare Rameshwaram as divyakshetram and apologise for the comments made which have hurt the sentiments of crores of Hindus world-wide.

Due to this unexpected and unprecedented Hindu resurgence manifested in the form of such a vast congregation in the political capital of India the government is now scared to implement the Sethu Samudram Canal project fearing the backlash of Hindus.

http://kanchikamakoti.blogspot.com/2008/01/statement-of-sri-svedanthamji-working.html

tv serials remixed

Ramayana, the hit serial of the 80s is returning to the small screen in a new avatar. Bollywood had already attempted to present remixed hit movies of the past but these have not met with the desired success rate. The result is unhappiness but people are not daunted. They want to ride the bandwagon of proven successes – they should understand that the taste of people keeps changing and unless fares are dished out that viewers want, the ventures will always fail. Since Ramayana was a hit, the animated versions came in the market – the one on Hanuman had some audience. But, promoting these stories needs more imagination. Ramayana sells – this has been proved by political parties. Confusion has been created over the Ram Setu. Now we have our neighbor Sri Lanka promoting tourism riding the waves of Ramayana. They have announced packages to ancient sites reportedly of Ravana’s airports, the Gandhamadan Mountain that Hanuman had uprooted to bring the Sanjivani sudha to revive Lakshman and a whole range of attractive locations to woo tourism. Therefore a new look Ramayana on TV will have to struggle real hard to attract viewers. Today there are innumerable options before the viewer unlike when Ramayana was first telecast by Doordarshan. It is doubtful whether the same enthusiasm would be noticed in the present version.

posted on Tuesday, January 22, 2008

http://o3.indiatimes.com/rediscoveringindia/archive/2008/01/22/4867508.aspx

http://www.indianexpress.com/printerFriendly/264016.html

Bridge too far

Posted online: Tuesday, January 22, 2008 at 2329 hrs IST

The Indian Express

The political farce over the Sethusamudram shipping canal project could repeat itself, as the Congress worriedly contemplates the expert committee’s godless suggestion that

the Ramayana was just a ‘fairy tale without factual basis’. This ‘diverse’ committee was set up to examine all facets of the matter after the Archaeological Survey of India had overreached itself in precisely the same manner, embarrassing the Congress and presenting the BJP with a whole new comeback trail. Back then, through the intra-party accusations and counter-accusations, the Congress stand seesawed between born-again religiosity and practical defence of the project. The drama reflected the eternal bind of the Congress — whether to cleanly eschew religion and face the consequences, or selectively manipulate religious feeling for political profit as in the Shah Bano ruling or the more recent cow slaughter controversy.

Even as coalition partner DMK breathes down the party’s neck about getting on with the project, the BJP is waiting to pounce on any less-than-perfectly-pious pronouncement about the Ram Setu. By allowing the Sethusamudram project to be hijacked by the Ram issue, the Congress is surrendering the discourse to the BJP and its allies, who have proved themselves more adept at communal politics. It is also alienating a key ally.

The committee, comprising environmental experts, academics and historians, has certainly not spared any thought for the Congress’s political dilemma. In addition to the blithe ‘fairy tale’ remark, they insisted that the structure was not man-made without undertaking any archaeological study, which apparently bothers Union Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soni, who has not accepted the report. Of course, the ASI’s unfortunate affidavit a few months back has already given scientific approval to the project. If only the Congress could make the basic distinction between the established rationale for the Sethusamudram project and the philosophical wrangle about belief and blasphemy. Or is it the case that it doesn’t credit the people with the capacity to tell the difference?

Declare Ramsethu as National Heritage Site: Singhal

Bangalore, Jan 24: Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) today strongly demanded the Union government to declare Ramasethu as National Monument and Heritage Site.

Addressing the press here, VHP International President Ashok Singhal accused the UPA Government of trying to demolish the Ramasethu and hurting the feelings of Hindus and urged it to declare the structure as a National Monument and Heritage site.

Mr Singhal also wanted the Centre to declare Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, the starting point of the Adam Bridge, as a ‘Place Sacred for Hindus.” The VHP would undertake a nation-wide agitation if the UPA government failed to accept the demands, he added.

Objecting to the manner in which the Ramsethu issue was handled by the UPA government, Mr Singhal charged ”they have rendered a great insult to the entire country by ridiculing the belief of crores of Hindus.” Urging the UPA government to abandon the project, Mr Singhal threatened to intensify its nation-wide agitation if the Centre failed concede the demand.

— UNI

http://hindu.theuniversalwisdom.org/declare-ramsethu-national-heritage-site-singhal


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One Response to “Stung on Setu, channel no good for big ships; SC hearing 28 Jan. 2008”

  1. Dr. Ambekar Says:

    It is the faith of Hindus all over the world that Ram Sethu was Built by the Incarnation of Vishnu the God as Rama. Whether one believes in it or not. At least Hindus revere the site similar to Mecca to Muslims and Vatican to Christians.

    There can not be two opinions about the Ram Sethu for Hindus.
    Those who create divisions in the faith are the traitors of Hindus faith and are the sworn enemies Hindus.

    Dr. Ambekar.

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