Rama Setu: running a government through Press leaks

dinamalar6feb2008ramatorescue.jpgexpress6feb2008.jpgdinamalar6feb2008.jpgDinamalar, 6 Feb. 2008 Rama to rescue ! Renewed media interest in Shri Rama.

Rama Setu: running a government through Press leaks

Leaks from Ministerial group meetings have become a regular feature on the issue of Rama Setu.

On Feb. 1, 2008 a leak was published in the Kolkata Telegraph. This news report was attributed to ‘informed sources’. See details at https://kalyan98.wordpress.com/2008/02/01/setu-stalled/

This report apparently sought to leak the informal decision of the Group of Ministers (GoM) that Hon’ble Supreme Court will be approached to allow for a detailed archaeological investigation, thus effectively putting the Seut project in cold storage for about 5 years.

Now, another leak has been published in the Chennai Dinamalar, again from an ‘informed source’. If the informed sources of the Telegraph report of Feb. 1, 2008 appeared to be from Pranab Mukherjee and Ambika Soni, the Dinamalar report of Feb. 6, 2008 appears to be from TR Baalu.

Why is the Union Ministry playing these games with the sentiments of people and with the Courts?

A mockery of justice is ongoing since 19 June 2007 when the Madras HC delivered a judgement asking for studies for declaration of Rama Setu as national monument and choosing alternate alignment avoiding the desiccation of Rama Setu. This judgement has NOT been answered so far by the Centre. Centre has successfully transferred the case from Madras HC to the Supreme Court.

Couldn’t the last 8 months have been used by the Centre to review the 8000 pages of evidence which relate to these two issues covered by the Madras HC judgement? Why is the Centre politicking with this issue and taking the Courts for a veritable political ride?

This shocking state of polity is unacceptable and the charade being played among the warring cabinet ministers should end. Hon’ble Prime Minister as primus inte pares should put a stop to these leaks related to ministerial deliberations and call the erring cabinet colleagues to order.

After all, when the governance itself becomes a mockery, how can the people have trust in a government to safeguard national security. The project disaster called Setu project is a national security nightmare, apart from a total devastation of the livelihood of over 2 million coastal/marine people of Tamilnadu alone. Don’t the politico’s care for the peoples’ lives and their livelihood?


Dinamalar (6 Feb. 2008) Translation from Tamil:


Setu project in alternative channel?

No way, says Centre.

Our correspondent (Dinamalar, 6 Feb. 2007)

Centre has decided to submit an affidavit in the Hon’ble Supreme Court seeking permission to carry out the Setu project along the same channel alignment which has been chosen already.

This will be finally decided in the Cabinet meeting on 14 Feb. 2008.

Hindu outfits raised a war cry that Rama Setu is between India and Srilanka and in the channel proposed for Setu project and also that this Rama Setu should not be destroyed while implementing the Setu project. This opposition became intense, was taken up by AIADMK and BJP and cases have been filed in the Supreme Court. Supreme Court stayed the work of the project in the project area said to be Rama Setu.

A petition has also been filed that this project should be implemented using an alternative alignment without desiccating Rama Setu. Because of political compulsions, Congress, PMK, AIADMK parties have also started demanding an alternative alignment. An important question has now arisen: Is an alternative alignment feasible?

On this issue, day before yesterday Union Ministers Pranab Mukherjee, Chidambaram, Baalu, Bharadwaj, Kapil Sibal deliberated. This unauthorized meeting was also attended by Cabinet Secretary.

Informed sources have this to say about the deliberations of this meeting:

When the Setu project was formulated, six alignments were examined. Important issues considered included: economic viability, environmental protection, protection of aquatic fauna.

The first five alignments were seen to be unsatisfactory on one or more of these important issues.

Last 2003-04, the environmental investigation agency NEERI emphasized this in their report. There are 21 islands in this ocean zone. There is an increased presence of aquatic fauna. If any one of the first five alignments is chosen, the channel has inevitably to go through this zone.

Algae (see moss) will also be affected. Two of the five alignments have to go through international waters.

If the other two are chosen, aquatic fauna will be endangered. If another alignment is chosen, the inevitable involvement of the neighbouring country Sri Lanka will occur. Because of such arguments, all the five alignments were given up and the sixth channel alignment was chosen.

The sixth alignment chosen now is the answer to ALL questions. Naval and coast guard officials have now issued reports expressing dissatisfaction.

But, during the erstwhile NDA regime, the Defence Minister George Fernandes insisted upon the execution of this project and stated that if the project is implemented, the country’s defences along the borders will be enhanced.

Coast Guard commander has written a letter to Chennai Port Trust Chairman.

In that letter, he has said: ‘The naval vessels with the Coast Guard are all small vessels. These vessels can use drafts of only 12 meters for navigation. If the Setu project is implemented, the channel will be a great help for keeping a watch over coastal villages and for relief works during disasters such as tsunami.’ So, the sixth alignment chosen now is the firm and final choice.

Ignoring this, choosing an alternative alignment is impossible. So, either the Setu project should be implemented using the sixth alignment channel or the entire project should be scrapped.

Scrapping the project is impossible, hence, an affidavit will be filed in the Hon’ble Supreme Court to grant permission to execute the project using only the sixth alignment.

Coming 14th February 2008, an official (adhikarapurvamaana) GoM is to be held. A decision will also be taken to submit one comprehensive affidavit answering many issues.

So, informed the informed sources. (End of matter).

http://epaper.dinamalar.com/Web/Article/2008/02/06/001/06_02_2008_001_012.jpg (Original report in Tamil Dinamalar daily on the Front Page of Chennai edition)

DMK has been isolated on Sethu issue: TN BJP (The Hindu, 5 Feb. 2008)

Coimbatore (PTI): Accusing the Congress-led UPA Government at the Centre of ‘buying time’ till the next Lok Sabha elections by adopting delaying tactics in the Supreme Court on the Sethu Samudram Canal Project (SSCP), the BJP’s state unit on Tuesday said the DMK has been isolated on the issue.

“There are difference of opinion among UPA allies on the issue, evident in the delaying tactics adopted by the Centre, rather the Congress, in filing the affidavit. The government will continue to buy time till the Lok Sabha elections,” BJP state president L Ganesan told reporters here.

He said the PMK, an ally of the DMK-led Democratic Progressive Alliance in Tamil Nadu had suggested an alternate alignment for the SSCP. This showed that the DMK stood totally isolated on the issue.

The BJP, he said, was not against the project, but only against destruction of Ram Sethu. The party wanted the Centre not to destroy the huge thorium deposits along Ram Sethu and around three villages in Rameswaram, estimated to have about 30 per cent of total thorium deposits in the world, he said.

Moreover, the remarks of the Naval chief and some experts on the usefulness of the project and security angle had also added to the DMK’s woes in moving ahead with the project, he said.


Congress to first ascertain if Setu is man-made Plans to put project on the back burner, says relations with DMK won’t sour BY ANITA SALUJA (New Indian Express, 6 Feb. 2008)The UPA government is set to put the Sethusamudram project on hold with the Congress deciding to file an affidavit in the Supreme Court recommending a study by the Archaeological Survey of India to establish whether Ramar Sethu is man-made or a natural structure. Giving an indication of putting the issue on the back burner, AICC General Secretary Digvijay Singh said, “It is going to take time, to establish whether it is a natural or a man-made structure.

The issue is with the Supreme Court.” He added that the study might take five to six years.

 By recommending this study, the Centre will get a breather on the issue, a creation of its Culture Ministry, which had filed an affidavit in the apex court questioning the very existence of Lord Ram.

Lashing out at the BJP, Singh said it should not talk about Sethusamudram project as it was under the NDA regime that the project was sanctioned.

About the BJP plan to turn the project into an election issue, Singh wondered how they could turn the issue into a movement, for political gains.

 Trying to make amends with the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, Singh maintained the relationship between the two parties was hunky-dory and said there was no question of bringing instability to the State government. http://epaper.newindpress.com/ArticleText.aspx?article=06_02_2008_001_011&mode=1


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