Setu channel a white elephant

Setu channel a white elephant https://kalyan98.wordpress.com/2008/02/16/setu-project-unscientific-capt-h-balakrishnan/  The Coastal Action Network and Capt. H. Balakrishnan should be complimented for highlighting the environmental and national security disasters which the Setu Project creates. The security aspects will result in enormous annual expenditures by the Navy and the Coast Guard to guard the contemplated mid-ocean channel passage called Setu channel. These costs will render the Setu project economically a white elephant; even the estimated Rs. 200 crores annual income from the channel will evaporate leaving the channel as a sick unit to he handled by present and future generations. Kalyanaraman ‘Sethu project unscientific’ NT Bureau | Sat, 16 Feb, 2008,02:28 PMA retired Naval Officer and Master Mariner for the Merchant Navy H Balakrishnan on Saturday said the implementation of the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project (SSCP) was unscientific and would also pose a threat to country’s national security as maritime terrorism and sea piracy were getting inter-mingled.Balakrishnan who has 32 years of experience at sea, endorsed Coast Guard DG Vice Admiral Rusi Contractor’s recent remarks that the project pose a threat to national security.‘Contractor is correct. I also analysed it. The project will pose a threat to national security as there is a piracy threat from Sudan, Straits of Malacca and South China sea’, he added.Quoting views of security experts, he said maritime terrorism and piracy were getting intermingled and going by the world report the global ransom rate per ship is one lakh US dollars.Referring to the installation of the underwater sea mines by the Lankan government between Katchatheevu and Neduntheevu, he said it was to prevent Sea Tigers, the marine wing of the LTTE, from entering the Island Nation.‘SSCP is an open channel and there is always a possibility of LTTE setting up sea mines, which is much cheaper when compared to acquiring surface-to-surface missiles. It’s enough if just one ship explodes’, Balakrishnan said. Observing that LTTE factor had a direct bearing on the safety of shipping navigation through the SSCP, he said the outfit had control over most of North Sri Lanka coastal region.On the economic aspect, the Naval Officer said a ship would incur a loss of Rs 19.4 lakh for a voyage between Kolkata and Tuticorin via SSCP.Similarly a ship will lose about US $ 60,000 for a voyage between Eden and Singapore. ‘One cannot justify an expenditure to the tune of Rs 2400 crore for a meagre time- saving move’, he said.Scientists and experts who took part in the meet called upon the Centre to table a comprehensive and transparent White Paper on Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project in Parliament giving full facts on the economic viability, environmental and ecological sustainability and engineering feasibility of the project. http://newstodaynet.com/newsindex.php?id=5043%20&%20section=7 Experts Ask Government To Come Clean On Sethusamudram  Saturday 16th of February 2008 (India Post) Scientists and experts at a meet organised here Saturday urged the central government to table a white paper in parliament on the ‘economic viability, environmental and ecological sustainability, engineering feasibility and ethical tenability’ of the controversial Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project (SSCP). The meet organised by the Coastal Action Network, an umbrella group for 7,000 villages and fishing federations in Tamil Nadu’s 1,000 km long coastline, also questioned the security risk of such a canal project. The project, started by the union government in 2005, involves dredging a 20-km long, 300-meter wide and 10.7 meter deep channel between the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay, through Adam’s Bridge at a cost of Rs.2400 billion ($600 million). The government estimates that nearly 3,000 ships will use the channel every year to cut short the travelling distance between Chennai port and Kanya Kumari (Cape Comorin) to 402 nautical miles from the present 755 nautical miles.  Retired naval officer and Master Mariner for merchant navy H. Balakrishnan said: ‘The SSCP is an open channel and there is a possibility of the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam) setting up sea mines, which is much cheaper when compared to acquiring surface-to-surface missiles. It’s enough if just one ship explodes.’ Balakrishnan endorsed Coast Guard Director General Vice-Admiral Rusi Contractor’s recent remarks that the project ‘poses a threat to the national security’. ‘Contractor is correct. I also analysed it. The project will pose a threat to national security as there is a piracy threat from Sudan to Straits of Malacca and to South China Sea,’ Balakrishnan added. The LTTE had ‘a direct bearing on the safety of shipping navigation through the SSCP,’ he said, pointing out that the LTTE had control over most of north Sri Lanka coast. ‘The global ransom rate for one ship today was $100,000,’ he said, adding, ‘Tigers have displayed considerable ingenuity and daring act in sea-borne insurgency’. The Sri Lanka government has installed mines between Kachchatheevu and Neduntheevu, under water to prevent Sea Tigers, the marine wing of the LTTE, from crossing into international waters, he said. Mired in religious and environment controversies, the cost of the project has escalated to Rs.35 billion and the Supreme Court has stayed the project amid speculation that the government is unwilling to continue with it. http://newspostindia.com/report-37628 Sethu security threat: Expert Chennai, Feb. 16 (Deccan Chronicle 17 Feb. 2008): Retired naval captain H. Balakrishnan on Saturday said the implementation of the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project (SSCP) would pose a threat to the country’s national security as maritime terrorism and sea piracy were getting inter-mingled.   Speaking to reporters at a press conference organised by the Coastal Action Network, Mr Balakrishnan, who has three decades of experience at sea, endorsed the recent remarks by Coast Guard vice-admiral Rusi Contractor that the shipping canal project on completion would pose a threat to national security.  On the economic aspect, the retired naval officer said a ship would incur a loss of Rs 19.4 lakh for a trip between Kolkata and Tuticorin via SSCP. Similarly a ship will lose about US $ 60,000 for a voyage between Eden and Singapore. “One cannot justify an expenditure to the tune of Rs 2,400 crore for a time-saving measure,” Mr. Balakrishnan said.  The canal is likely to encourage only vessels with a carrying capacity of about 30,000 tonnes, but currently the merchant ships are handling a cargo of more than 60,000 tonnes. And oil ships, whose volume is high, will also avoid  SSCP, he pointed out. Further, SSCP is an open channel and there is always a  possibility of  the LTTE setting up sea mines. He also emphasised that the LTTE factor had a direct bearing on the safety of shipping navigation through SSCP. The banned outfit had control over most of the coastal waters of North Sri Lanka, he added.

http://www.deccan.com/chennaichronicle/City/Citynews.asp#Sethu security threat: Expert

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