Indian GPS IRNSS goes global

December 26, 2015

Say Goodbye To GPS! India’s All Set To Switch To The Desi Navigation System, IRNSS

December 8, 2015

It’s time we move away from the American Global Positioning System (GPS) and make way for our own desi navigation system — the Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System or IRNSS on our mobile phones.

Say Goodbye To GPS, India

Bihar Prabha

In October 2015, Isro held a major meeting in Bangalore involving location and navigation device manufacturers, mobile phone manufacturers and global information system (GIS) technology developers  where the advantages of using the IRNSS technology over the current GPS technology was showcased.

Isro feels that seven IRNSS constellation satellites once operational by July next year will be significantly more accurate than the American GPS system.

Say Goodbye To GPS, India

Unlike American GPS, Isro is recommending a small additional hardware in handheld devices that can receive S-Band signals from IRNSS satellites and inclusion of a code in the phone software to receive L-Band signals.

“Both these L and S-band signals received from seven satellite constellation of the IRNSS are being calculated by a special embedded software which reduces the errors caused by atmospheric disturbances significantly. This, in turn, gives a superior quality location accuracy than the American GPS system,” says a senior Isro official.

All the seven satellites of Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) are expected to be in orbit by March 2016, Indian Space Research Organisation.

ISRO also aims to make signals available not only to India and surrounding countries but also to the entire globe, ISRO Chairman Kiran Kumar said.

GSAT-15 satellite with GAGAN payload is slated for launch by November 10

IRNSS is ISRO’s initiative to build an independent satellite navigation system to provide precise position, velocity and time to the users of Indian region. The system is designed with a constellation of seven spacecraft and a vast network of ground systems.

With the addition of fourth spacecraft IRNSS-1D in March 2015, the minimum satellite requirement is met and independent positioning is now possible for the first time using an Indian satellite-based navigation system.

He said, “as we make it global, global users will be able to take advantage. Otherwise, now only regional users can take advantage of IRNSS.”

With inputs from TNN, PTI

http://linkis.com/www.indiatimes.com/n/Mvfrr

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Samudra Gupta bahusuvarNaka and Indus Script

December 26, 2015

 

The expression ‘bahusuvarNaka’ mentioned in Mulavarman’s yupa inscription may be related to the gold coins of Samudra Gupta

George Coedes provides a succinct reasoning for the presence of Sanskrit epigraphy in Borneo (like the inscription of Mulavarman’s yupa inscription which refers to bahusuvarNaka yajna. I suggest that the expression refers to coins of gold of the type in circulation in India during the reign of Samudra Gupta between 335-75.

Elephant-headed crocodile (fish?) on which Lakshmi stands on a gold Dinar is an Indus Script hieroglyph. karibha ‘trunk of elephant’ ibha ‘elephant’ rebus: karb ‘iron’ ib ‘iron. karA ‘crocodile’ rebus: karA ‘artisan, blacksmith’.

Yupa shown on some Samudraguptagold coins may also be read rebus: meDhi ‘pillar, stake’ Rebus: meD ‘iron’ (Ho.), med ‘copper’ (Slavic)

यागशाला may mean ‘workshop connected with yajna’. This expression is used in Tamil in Sangam texts as follows: யாகசாலை yāka-cālai, n. < id. + šālā. 1. Sacrificial hall; வேள்விச்சாலை. யாகசாலை புக வோடவே (தக்கயாகப். 242). 2. The sacrificial hall of a temple; கோயிலுள் யாகஞ்செய்யும் மண்ட பம். (I. M. P. Cg. 437, 8.) யாகம் yākam, n. < yāga. 1. Sacrifice, of eighteen kinds, viz., cōtiṭṭōmam, aṅkiṭṭōmam, attiyaṅkiṭṭōmam, vācapēyam, atirāttirakam, cōmayākam, kāṇṭakam, cāturmāciyam, cavut- tirāmaṇi, puṇṭarīkam, civakāmam, mayēntiram, aṅkicamaṉ, irācacūyam, accuvamētam, viccuva- cittu, naramētam, piramamētam; சோதிட்டோ மம், அங்கிட்டோமம், அத்தியங்கிட்டோமம், வாசபே யம், அதிராத்திரகம், சோமயாகம், காண்டகம், சாதுர் மாசியம், சவுத்திராமணி, புண்டரீகம், சிவகாமம், மயேந்திரம், அங்கிசமன், இராசசூயம், அச்சுவமேதம், விச்சுவசித்து, நரமேதம், பிரமமேதம் என்ற பதி னெட்டு வகைப்பட்ட வேள்வி. (திவா.)

Archaeometallurgical investigations/studies on ancient mints and how they were relatedto such यागशाला may provide additional light on the possible links of the octagonal brick stake found in fire-altars in sites such as Binjor.altar

Plate VI.5 Napki Malik Obv. Bust of king with winged head-dress; above, buffalo’s head facing Pahlavi legend, Nakpki Malik. Rev.Fire-altar and attendants, wheel over head of each. Similar Sassanian coin motif occurs on Mihiralgula with Jaytu Mihirakula on Figure Plate VI.4 (debased). Source: CJ Brown, Coins of India, AES, 1922. Association of fire-altar with the coin is significant and points to the possibility that yajna kunda as fire-altars also may have been used to produce bahusuvarNaka, gold coins of the type issued by Samudra Gupta.

Punch-marked “…coins from Eran bear the figure of goddess Lakshmi, other show animals (horse and elephant), tree within- railing and various other symbols, such as swastika, triratna, Indradhwaja, dharmachakra, lotus, Ujjain symbol, river with fishes semi-circle design, crescent, cakra, bull, sadarcakra, hill, taurine and the vajra symbol, river with fish and the cross and ball symbol.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eran Many of these are Indus Script hieroglyphs related to metalwork. Mints of Eran (AirikiNa) and Vidisha have produced a number of ancient coins.

“For important fire ceremonies such as the Soma Yaga, the Athirathra and the Aswamedha the fire altar is set up with 10,008 bricks or 1,008 bricks (Please read my article Hindu’s Magic Numbers). Each brick is cleaned ritually and mantras are chanted while the eagle shape fire pit is constructed. The altar is sprinkled with gold chips. If it is an Aswamedha Yagna the altar that is constructed is three times bigger.In the Valmiki Ramayana we get more details about the Aswamedha performed by King Dasaratha. Gupta Kings issued gold coins after they performed the Aswamedha. Pandya coins were excavated featuring a horse on its side. This proves that they performed the Aswamedha. All credit for this goes to Mudukudumi Peruvazuthi…Pallavas were powerful and they performed the famous Aswamedha (Horse Sacrifice) to establish their political superiority. If we look at the epigraphs and copper plates of that time, they give a long list of the Yagas they performed and the donations they gave on such occasions. Rajathi Rajan I performed an Aswamedha according to his epigraphs. Foreign scholars, with their mischievous propaganda of Aryan Dravidian divide distorted Indian history beyond recognition. They made us believe that there were two different cultures existing in India during ancient times. Anyone who studies our ancient literature without the Aryan Dravidian prejudice will find one culture and unity of thought throughout its 5,000 year history from the northernmost Himalayas to the southernmost oceans. The minute our scholars realise this truth, they will find the key to the Indus script as well.” http://tamilandvedas.com/tag/garuda/

Thanks to S. Swaminathan for this perceptive comment on Indus Script. My decipherment of Indus Script Corpora reads rebus the hieroglyphs of the script in Prakritam (Meluhha) lexis of metalwork.

See: http://bharatkalyan97.blogspot.in/2015/05/meluhha-hieroglyphs-on-copper-seal-of.html Meluhha hieroglyphs on copper seal of Karandai plates (1053 CE), legacy of Indus script

“If we associate ‘as’ with accumulation and ‘va’ with blowing, then aswa would stand for obtaining wealth by blowing. It appears that originally ‘as’ may have been associated with the accumulation of wealth by the smelting of metals. The metals, after all, were the basis of all wealth in the early periods. Perhaps the Rig Vedic people had some relationship with smelting and they use the term ‘Aswamedh Yajna’ to describe the smeltery. Verse 3.29.6 (volume 3, chapter 29, stanza 6) of the Rig Veda tells us that the furnace of the yajna was made of stone. Similarly, verse 1.142.6 tells us that there were openings in the furnace that were closed during the sacrifice, according to protocol. These descriptions indicate that precise control of the fire was very essential for the yajna.”  http://www.downtoearth.org.in/blog/aswamedh-yajna–the-burning-question-29465

RV 3.029.06 When they rub (the sticks) with their arms the radiant Agni bursts forth from the wood like a fleet courser, and like the many-coloured car of the As’vins unresisted in its course, Agni spreads wide around consuming stones and trees.

RV 1.142.06 Let the bright, separable doors, the augmenters of sacrifice, the purifiers of rites, the desired of many, be set open for the gods to enter. [The hymn is addressed to the divinities presiding over the doors of the chamber of sacrifice; asas’cata = not adhering together, mutually separable; asajyama_na-paraspara viprakr.s.t.a, perhaps folding-doors of wide or open doors].

 अश्व √1. अश् Un2.  अश्  ‘to eat, consume’; va ‘wind, air’.

Chandragupta II, gold dinar, c. 375-414. Weight: 7.68 gm, Diameter: 19-20 mm. King standing left, sacrificing at fire altar at left,

Skandagupta, silver drachma, c. 455-467
Weight: 1.67 gm., Diam: 12 mm.
Head of king right /
Fire altar, Brāhmī legend around:
paramabhāgavata maharajadhiraja sri skandagupta kramaditya  

http://coinindia.com/galleries-skandagupta.html

S. Kalyanaraman

Sarasvati Research Center December 26, 2015

Gaya copper plate inscription of Samudragupta, the year 9

Gaya, Gаya distr., Bihаr copper Plate of Samudragupta. (G?)9 Vaiщаkha di. 10
(Fl. No. 60; Bh.No. 1540); D. C. Sircar, SI, Bk. III. No. 5, pp. 264-66; R. C. Majumdar, IC. Vol. XI (1944-45), pp. 225-30; P. L. Gupta, PIHC. XVI (1953), pp. 94-5. So-called spurious plate. (Characters of about the beginning of the 8th cent. A.D.)

Text.
1. Oм svasti [||] mahаnau-hastyaщva-jayaskandhаvаrаjаyoddhyа-vаsakаt-sarvva-rаjo-cchettu pр-
2. thivyаm-apratirathasya caturudadhi-salilаsvаdita-yaщa(so*)dhanada-varuнendrа-
3. ntaka-samasya kрtаnta-paraщornyаyаgatаneka-go-hiraнya-koтi-pradasya ciroccha-
4. nnащvamedhаharttu mahаrаja-щrи-gupta-prapauttrasya mahаrаja-щrи-ghaтotkaca-pautrasya
5. mahаrаjаdhirаja-щrи-candragupta-puttrasya licchivi-dauhittrasya mahаde-vyа(м*) ku-
6. mаradevyаmutpanna(х*) paramabhаgavato mahаrаjаdhirаja-щrи-samudra-
7. guptaх gаyavaishayika-revatikаgrаme vrаhmaнa-puroga-grаma-vala-
8. tkauшabhyа(?)mаha | eva(м*) cаrtha viditambo bhavatveщa grаmo mayа mаtаpittrorа-
9. tmanaщca puнyаbhivрddhaye bhаradvаja-sagotrаya vahvрcаya sa[vra]hmacа-
10. riнe vrаhmaн-gopadevasvаmine soparikaroddeщenаgrahаratvenаti-
11. sрштaх [|] tadyuшmаbhir-asya щrottavyam-аjга ca karttavyа sarvve [ca] [sa]mucitа grаma-pra-
12. tvayа meya-hiraнyаdayo deyах[|] na cetatprabhрty-etad-аgrahаrikeнanyagrа-
13. mаdi-karada-kuтumbi-kаruk-аdayaх praveщayitavyаm-anyathа niyatam-аgra-
14. hаrаkшepa(х*) syаd-iti [||] sambat 9 vaiщаkha-di 10 [||*]
15 anyagrаmаkшapaтalаdhikрta-dyуta-gopasvаmyаdeщa-likhitaх [|] anyagrаmаkшapaтala Dyуta-Gopasvаmin

______________________________________________________________________

Commentaries and variants.

L.1 Symbol for siddhaм later pronounced as oм siddhiх or siddhirasta; read -vаrаd=ayodhyа;
-cchettuх is intended, but read -cchettа. (SI)
L.4 The intended reading is cirotsannащvamedhаёrtturma-. (SI)
L.5 Usually licchavi. (SI)
L.7 Read brаhmaнa, for Valatkauщan see Nalanda inscr.(SI)
L.8 Read -rtho vidito vo, read bhavatveшa.(SI).
L.9 I.e. bhаradvаja-gotra-jаtаya, read bahvрcаya or bahvрca-, read sabrahma-. (SI)
L.10 Read brаhmaн-; uparikara “tax paid by temporary tenants” uddeщa – space above the surface of the land often specifically mentioned as tala. (SI)
L.12 pratyaya = pratyаyа (CII, III, 170, note 5 = tax, revenue); read caitatpra- instead cetatpra and -наnyagrа- instead -nanyagrа-. (SI)
L.13 Read tavyах | anyathа; niyatam-agra- instead niyatam-аgra-. (SI)
L.14 Read saмvat. (SI)
L.15 Supply lekhaх ayam after likhitaх. (SI)

Nalanda copper plate inscription of Samudra Gupta, year 5

1. Nаlandа(Baрgaon), Pатnа distr., Bihаr copper Plate of Samudragupta. (G?)5 Mаgha di.2.
Hiranand Sastri, ASI.AR. 1927-28, p. 138; (Bh. No. 2075)A. Ghosh, EI. Vol. XXV (1939-40), pp. 50-53 and Pl.; D. C. Sircar, EI. Vol. XXVI (1941-42), pp 135-36; SI, Bk. III, No. 4, pp. 262-64; R. C. Majumdar, IC. Vol. XI (1944-45), pp. 225-30; Hiranand Sastri, MASI. No. 66, pp. 77-78; P. L. Gupta, PIHC, XVI (1953), pp. 94-95; B. Upadhyaya, SAII. pt. II, p.50. So-called spurious plate of which (characters seem to belong to Samudragupta’s time, see Bh. List. p. 290, fn.1.

Text.

1. Oм svasti [|] mahаnau-hastyaщva-jayaskandhаvаrаnandapura-vаsakа[tsa]rvvarа[jocche]ttu(х) pрithivyаmapratirathasya caturudadhi-sali[lаsvа]-
2. dita-yaщaso dhanada-varuнe[ndrа]nta(ka*)-samasya kрitаnta-paraщornyаyаgatаneka-go-hiraнya-koтi-pradasya cirotsa[nnа]-
3. щvamedhаhartturmmahаrаja-Щrи-Gu(pta*)-prapauttrasya mahаrаja-Щrи-Ghaтotkaca-pauttrasya mahаrа[jаdhi]rаja-[Щrи-Candragupta]-putra-
4. sya Licchavi-dau[hi]ttrasya mahаdevyакKumаradevyаmutpanna=paramabhа[gavato mahаrаjаdhirаja-Щrи-Samudragu]ptaх tаvi[rguнya](?)-
5. vai[шayika] bhadrapuшkarakagrаma-krimilаvaiшayikapу[rнanа]gagrа[ma(yoх*)] [brаhmaнapuroga*]-grаma-va[la]tkauшabhyа(?)mаha (|)
6. eva[м*] cаha viditambo bhavatveшau grа[mau] [ma]tаpittorа[tmanaщca] pu[нyаbhivрddha]ye jayabhaттisvаmine
7. .. … … … .. [sopari]karo[ddeщenа]grahа[ratve]nаtisрштaх [|* tadyuшmаbhira[sya]
8. ttraividyasya щrottavyamаjга ca kartta[vyа] [sa]rvve [ca] [sa]mucitа grа(ma*)-pratyа-(yа*)meya-hiraнyаdayo deyа na cetaЫ pra-
9. [bhр]tyanena ttrai[vi]dyonаnya-grаmаdi-karada-kuтumbi-[kаruk]аdayaЫ praveщa[yita]vyа[ma]nyath[а] niyatamаgrahаrаkшepaх
10. [sy]аditi || sambat 5 mаgha-di 2 nivaddhaх[|*
11. anugrаmаkшapaтalаdhi[kрta]-mahаpиlуpati-mahаvalаdhi[kр]ta 20-gopasvаma(myа)deщa-likhitaх [|*]
12. [kumа*]ra-щrи-candraguptaх 21 [||*]

______________________________________________________________________

Commentaries and variants.

L.1 Symbol for siddhaм later pronounced as oм siddhiх or siddhirasta.(SI) Sastri read -nуpura.
L.2 Ghosh read: -dаntaka in varuнe[ndrа]nta(ka*).
L.5 Fleet found here two officials named -valatkauщan. (SI)
L.6 Read – cаrtho vidito vo. In inscription used va and ba without differentiation. That is, possibly, the argument for the point of view, that the text fabricated in V-VI AD; read -tvetau in bhavatveшau. (SI)
L.7 Ghosh is inclined to fill up the lacuna by some ephitets of the donee (SI).
L.8 Read щrota- instead щrotta. Supply a word like vacanaм after щrotavyaм; read deyах | na caitatpra- (SI).
L.9 Read tаvyах | anyathа and niyatama-. аkшepa may indicate violation of the condition relating to an agrahаra. (SI)
L.10 There are 3 short horizontal strokes after the usual sign for stop; read saмvat and niba-. Supply the word lekhaх after nibaddha. (SI)
L.11 the Gaya plate reads anyagrаmа-; read mahаbalаdhikрta. (SI)
L.12 Candraguptaх was possibly the dуtaka. (SI)

“It does seem probable, however, that the conquests of Samudragupta (around 335-75) in southern India, and the subsequent submission of the Pallava sovereign with his viceroys, produced serious perturbations that in turn resulted in the exodus of certain elements of the southern aristocracy to the countries to the east. We have seen that Levi attributes the probable presence of an Ino-Scythian on the throne of Funan in 357 to the conquest of the Ganga Valley by Samudragupt. This episode was perhaps merely the prelude to a more general movement which, from the middle of the fourth century to the midde of the fifth, brought princes, Brahmans, and scholrs to the peninsula and islands which were already Indianized and in regular contact with India. These Indians were responsible for the introduction of Sanskrit epigraphy in Champa, then in Borneo and Java.” (Coedes, George, 1964, The Indianized states of southeast Asia, Honolulu, East-West Center PRess, pp. 55-56),

Samudragupta (c.335-380) minted some remarkably detailed and informative coins

Source: http://www.grifterrec.com/coins/india/ancientindia3.html
(downloaded Jan. 2006)

“Samudragupta (circa 335 – 380 AD) AV Stater. Obverse: King standing left, holding long sceptre in left hand, right hand lowered to an altar; Garuda standard to left. In Brahmi: ‘Samudra’ in right field; and partial marginal legend. Reverse: Goddess Lakshmi enthroned facing, holding cornucopia; symbol to left. In Brahmi: ‘Parakramah’ to right.”


Another example of the same general type, also with Brahmi inscriptions

Source: http://www.vcoins.com/ancient/parscoins/store/viewItem.asp?idProduct=2910&large=1
(downloaded May 2006)

“GUPTA KINGS of INDIA. Samudragupta. 335-380 AD. Gold Dinar (7.47 gm; 20 mm). Standard Type. Samudragupta, nimbate, standing left, holding standard; Garuda standard behind / The goddess Laksmi seated facing on throne, holding diadem.”


 

Samudragupta playing the vina; *a look at the whole coin*

Source: http://ignca.nic.in/asp/showbig.asp?projid=ac28
(downloaded March 2004)

“King bare-headed, wearing only waist cloth and jewelary, seated on couch with sloped back, playing the vina (Indian lyre), Samudragupta, gold dinar, obverse, Ca.355-380, The Skanhe Collection, ACSAA.”


A coin of Samudragupta’s depicting a horse-sacrifice

Source: http://www.vcoins.com/ancient/parscoins/store/viewItem.asp?idProduct=2587&large=0
(downloaded Mar. 2006)

“Circa 335-380 AD. AV Dinar (7.62 gm; 20 mm). Ashvamedha type. Sacrificial horse standing left before pedestal with filleted yupa post, from which a banner flutters; “si” on footstool below / The queen, not nimbate, standing left on lotus-form mat, holding chouri (fly whisk) and cloth, suchi (filleted spear) before her. Brahmi legend right: Asvamedhaparakrama.”


Samudragupta, in Kushan attire, performs a sacrifice

Source: http://ignca.nic.in/asp/showbig.asp?projid=ac28
(downloaded March 2004)

“King standing, wearing a kushan style coat and trousers, holding a tall standard in his left hand, sacrificing over an altar. In the field to his right is his garudadhvaja. Samudragupta, gold dinar, Ca.355-380, The Skanhe Collection, ACSAA.”


The goddess Lakshmi is honored by Samudragupta

Source: http://ignca.nic.in/asp/showbig.asp?projid=ac28
(downloaded March 2004)

“Lakshmi standing on a makara (elephant headed fish) to the left, holding long stemmed lotus in left hand, her right hand extended to her side, Samudragupta, gold dinar, Ca.355-380, The Skanhe Collection, ACSAA.”


A gold dinar of Chandragupta II, Samudragupta’s successor, also honors Lakshmi

Source: http://www.vcoins.com/ancient/parscoins/store/viewItem.asp?idProduct=2911&large=1
(downloaded May 2006)

“GUPTA KINGS of INDIA. Chandragupta II. 380-414 AD. Gold Dinar (9.07 gm; 20 mm). Chandragupta standing left, holding arrow and bow; Garuda standard behind / The goddess Laksmi seated facing, holding diadem and lotus.”


Another gold dinar of Chandragupta II, also honoring Lakshmi

Source: http://www.vcoins.com/ancient/parscoins/store/viewItem.asp?idProduct=2468&large=1

“Chandra Gupta II 375-414 AD. Gold Dinar (7.67 gm; 18 mm). Chandragupta riding horse right, he holds a bow above the horse’s head and a whip by his side / The goddess Lakshmi, nimbate, seated left on wicker stool, holding diadem and lotus..”

http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00routesdata/0300_0399/earlyguptacoins/earlyguptacoins.html

Response to the proposed study by NIO on Setu channel

January 30, 2010

Sub: Response to the proposed study by NIO on Setu channel
Respected sirs,
The following note is submitted to NIO, Kochi and to NEERI, Nagpur in the context of the Press Report of January 14, 2010 (appended) that Rs. 9.45 crores are proposed to be spent by NIO and NEERI on an environmental impact analysis of Alignment 4a for the Setu channel in Setusamudram.
Whether it is Alignment 4a or Alignment 5, the project area is seriously impacted by geological and ecological factors unique to the Setusamudram bioreserve. These factors have been discussed in detail in the submissions made to the Hon’ble Supreme Court and to earlier Committees.
We suggest that the Setu Channel project be abandoned. This proposed study is a waste of public funds since the channel is in an ecologically fragile national biosphere and is also a sacred ecological zone with people travelling to Dhanushkodi to worship on Rama Setu according to the traditions for worship followed over thousands of years.
The note focuses on three issues: geoenvironmental, nautical and ecological concerns of any project in Setusamudram.
Geoenvironmental concerns
It is surprising that geologists are not included in the proposed study under NIO, Kochi.
Prima facie, the expenditure of Rs. 9.45 crores is a waste of public funds. Whether it is alignment 4a or alignment 5, the project are is a very fragile protected national bioreserve and a sacred tirthasthanam.
Government of India should be spending the money to provide for facilities to the pilgrims doing puja on Dhanushkodi sands and near Kothandarama Swamy temple. There should be unimpeded access to the puja areas on Dhanushkodi sands.
Government of India should be directing the scientists to study the implications of devastating impact of another tsunami with the ongoing subduction of Indian plate into Sundaplate which is a geotectonically active region and recommend protective measures.
Government of India may also consider setting up Marine Economic Zones, formation of Marine cooperatives, to provide for improved employment opportunities and living conditions for coastal people by taking advantage of the Special Territorial limit of 200 kms. from the coastline to exploit the resources of the Indian Ocean.
Alternative alignment does NOT make nautical sense
Capt. Balakrishnan has noted that as the alignment 4a is close to the coast line, there is a greater danger of ships getting grounded near the coast due to shallow water or squat effect.
Quote from Capt. Balakrishnan:
My findings from a navigational standpoint,which I have included in my speech for 29 AUG is as follows:
” I would term Alignment NO: 4 as a “NAVIGATIONAL HAZARD” for large vessels.This is on account of the following factors:
(A) When approaching PAMBAN ISLAND, the ‘closest point of approach (CPA)’ to land is between 1.6 to 3.8nautical miles. This is too close for comfort for large vessels.
(B) IN A CROSS-TIDE OR CURRENT OR WIND CONDITION, the vessel will find it extremely difficult to maintain the pre-determined track, with shallow waters outside the dredged channel.
(C) There is hardly any safe sea-room for a large vessel to manouevere itself safely if “drifted” on account of wind/tide/current.
(D) On account of the ‘venturi effect’ in the Gulf of Mannar / Palk Bay, wind velocity is very high in this region. I have experienced the same off Tuiticorin harbour / Keezhakarai. Further the “Bay of Bengal Pilot” (a navigational publication of the Admiralty) records that the winds blow in this area from all directions of the compass.
(E) The 11 AUG 2008, Chennai edition of “The New Indian Express” carried a report of high winds of 55 kmph covering the Rameswaram – Dhanushkodi Road with sand and the District Administration stopping even 4 wheeler traffic on the road. This phenomenon was on account of the ‘Depression’ in the Bay of Bengal off Orissa. Every time a pressure imbalance occurs in the Bay of Bengal, wind velocity picks up in the Gulf of Mannar / Palk Bay. What happens to a large vessel, navigating 1.4 to 2.0 nautical miles from land ?
(F) A 30,000 DWT fully laden vessel with a single propellor and rudder and a high freeboard , automaticaaly offers a large sail area for the wind. The effect is to “drift” the vessel off the pre-determined track. The only solution in such a situation, is for the vessel to put on speed to increase its manoueverability. However, higher speed induces the “Shallow Water or Squat Effect”. Truly a HOBSON’S CHOICE for the Master of the vessel!!
Ecological concerns
Rama Setu, sacred ecology. Drop setu channel project
http://sites.google.com/site/kalyan97/setu
Rama Setu, sacred ecology of Setusamudram

In a heartening development catalysed by the Movement, a group of scientists gathered in Londonin November 2008 to declare the imperative of saving and protecting Setusamudram as the world’s sacred ecological treasure.
Tsunami potential

Sacred ecology, sacred ocean, sacred Setusamudram

India urged to drop Sethu project
Press Trust of India
London (12 Dec. 2008, New Indian Express)
ASKING India to shelve the controversial Sethusamudram project as it could damage the productive marine eco-system, an international group of environmentalists has suggested the Gulf of Mannar region should be declared a cultural and natural world heritage site.
Requesting President of India Pratibha Patil to cancel the Sethusamudram shipping canal project, the ecologists and environmentalists group claimed that the Government’s decision to go ahead with the project, was based on legal flaws and would have inevitable and disastrous ecological and social impact.
“The project could disrupt and damage the productive marine ecosystem through a massive increase in the burden of silting and sedimentation,” the group said adding, it will also affect coral reefs, sea grass beds, oyster beds and food fisheries.
They said that the salinisation of the shallow aquifers on both sides of the channel could endanger and even lead to the extinction of the important local species, including dugong, green turtle and at least 25 different species of sea snake, resulting in collapse of the entire ecosystem.
It also asked India and Sri Lanka to write an application to the UNESCO to declare the Gulf of Mannar region, a mixed cultural and natural world heritage site.
Earlier, a resolution in this regard was adopted on the issue at a meeting here, attended by an international consortium of ecologists, academics, scientists and religious leaders.
http://epaper.expressbuzz.com/NE/NE/2008/12/12/ArticleHtmls/12_12_2008_009_010.shtml?Mode=1

http://setubandha.blogspot.com/2008/12/demand-for-sacred-site-status-for-setu.html
Demand for ‘Sacred Site’ status for Sethu
PTI
Tuesday, December 02, 2008 15:02 IST
LONDON: Campaigners protesting against the dredging of the Sethusamudram Ship Channel have demanded that Gulf of Mannar, which is home to the Ram Sethu, be designated as ‘Sacred Site’.
The announcement for seeking a ‘Sacred Site’ status was made by Martin Palmer, Secretary General of Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC) and religion and ecology advisor to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, at a two-day meeting here.
“The Gulf of Mannar has enormous spiritual significance within both Hinduism and Islam,” he said during his announcement.
“The meeting erupted into applause when he made the announcement. To get the Gulf of Mannar recognised on the international conservation stage will be a huge step forward in preserving its sanctity and ecology for future generations,” Kusum Vyas, founder of The Living Planet Foundation, which organised the London meeting, said.
‘Sacred Site’ is now an international term of protection for sites that are spiritually, religiously, culturally and ecologically important.
Flowing between South-East India and Sri Lanka, the Gulf of Mannar is home to Ram Sethu or Adam’s Bridge, a site of immense spiritual significance for both Hindus and Muslims worldwide.
Situated in South-Asia’s largest biosphere reserve, it is also one of the last remaining biological hot-spots on the planet, offering sanctuary to numerous endangered plant and animal species such as the dugong and the green turtle.
http://www.dnaindia.com/report.asp?newsid=1210895
Scientists converge in London to stop destruction of Setu Samudram
http://setubandha.blogspot.com/2008/11/scientists-converge-in-london-to-stop.html

To stop the destruction of the Sethu Samudram – Scientists, Academics and Religious Leaders Converge in London
Tue, 2008-11-25 05:23
By Walter Jayawardhana
London, 25 November, (Asiantribune.com) Ecologists, academics and scientists and religious leaders around the world organized by the US based living Planet Foundation are meeting today (November 25) at London’s historic Linnean Society, Burlington House in Piccadilly to ask Indian and Sri Lankan governments to persuade UNESCO to designate the Gulf of Mannar a World Heritage site and stop the imminent devastation that could cause to the environment by the controversial Sethu Samudram project. The seminar will last two days continuously.
The organizers said, “The aim is to prevent the destruction of the Gulf of Mannar , one of the last remaining intact eco-systems of the world and home to the famous Ram Sethu or Adam’s Bridge , a site sacred to one billion Hindus worldwide.”
“The gathering is set to provide enough multi-disciplinary evidence to persuade” the two countries to ask UNESCO to grant World Heritage designation to the Gulf , the Living Planet Foundation said.
Interviewed in a London Hotel, one of the participating scientists of the seminar Dr. Ranil Senanayake told this correspondent, “Sethu Samudram canal project is a 140 years old idea proposed by the British imperialists not compatible with the thinking of the 21st century. Today, much better things could be thought about for better results. Dredging through this geological formation would cause innumerable damages that cannot be reversed.”
Asked to pinpoint one, Dr. Senanayake said that the present waves in the gulf bring the mineral sands from which Thorium could be processed. The sea currents deposit tons of mineral sands on the South Indian and North Sri Lankan beaches .He said Thorium processed from these mineral sands is believed to be the source of energy of the future, from which atomic power could be produced without allowing any chance of producing nuclear weapons. Once, the bridge is destroyed such sand deposits would stop by the gulf basin currents, the scientist warned India and Sri Lanka.
Many scientists have assessed the Gulf of Mannar is a shallow stretch of water separating India and Sri Lanka. Despite its important ecological and cultural significance as one of South Asia’s largest biosphere reserves, the Indian government, under pressure from Tamil Nadu state politicians, is pressing ahead with plans to build a shipping channel called Sethusamudram , right across it, threatening the numerous endangered plant and animal species that live there as well as livelihood of local fishermen.
The proposal has been met with a chorus of international disapproval. It has also become the subject of a case in the Indian Supreme Court, which has temporarily delayed the devastating dredging.
Scientists have said the Gulf , free from oceanic currents , provides the calving grounds for a substantial part of the diverse whale population of the bay of Bengal. It is also identified as the habitat for rare and endangered plant and animal species including the threatened green turtle and dugong. The sea grass meadows of the gulf are the largest remaining feeding grounds for the globally endangered dugong. The centuries old pearl and conch shell fishing still exists there.
“The dredging will destroy this fragile eco-system. What we need is not an industry that will benefit only few shipping companies and dredgers. When, ships starts sailing along the canal even the limestone wells of Jaffna could become salty. What we need there is a sustainable development project,” scientist Ranil Senanayake said.
– Asian Tribune –
http://www.asiantribune.com/?q=node/14376
Text of the News Today article of 15 December is appended. (Figures in the attached zip file).
http://newstodaynet.com/col.php?section=20&catid=29 15 December, 2008 (News Today)
In a heartening development catalysed by the Movement, a group of scientists gathered in London in November 2008 to declare the imperative of saving and protecting Setusamudram as the world’s sacred ecological treasure.
Location map of Rama Setu: bathymetry map ofSetusamudram (reproduced from Murty et al., 1994)

http://WWW.SETUSAMUDRAM.IN/HTMDOCS/ARTICLES/CP_RAJENDRAN_2.HTM
Setusamudram
The Gulf of Mannar and Palk Straits of the Indian Ocean separated by the causeway, Rama Setu is called Setusamudram. Setusamudram is a compound term: Setu + Samudram (Causeway + Ocean). Unlike the Great Barrier Reef of Australia, the Setu has for millennia served as a causeway linking India and Sri Lanka. This sacred monument is venerated in the cultures of millions of people of many nations along the Indian Ocean Rim – nations which can be called the Indian Ocean Community, analogous to the recently constituted European Community. TheSetusamudram is so sacred that every year hundreds of thousands pilgrims assemble in the oceanfront near Rameshwaram (a jyotirlinga pilgrimage place) to perform samudrasnanam (sacred bath in the ocean) at a place where the Indian Ocean remains placid like a lake. This samudrasnanam is a celebration of and a homage to the ancestors of many civilizations, hindu civilization, in particular. This homage is called pitr-tarpanam reinforcing the identity of a billion people on the globe who revere the story of Rama and the history of Setubandha (the bund to cross the ocean built by the architect Nala, under the direction of the avatarapurusha, Sri Rama and by vanara army led by Sri Hanuman. Both Sri Rama and Sri Hanuman are worshipped in many temples across the globe. [vanara is erroneously translated as ‘monkeys’; va-nara literally means people-like speakers, evoking the evolution of man on earth.] The causeway is a physical structure superimposed over a ridge formed by collapsed canyons in geological past in an ocean zone exemplified by Mannar volcanic rocks, heat-flows of geothermal energy potential and plate tectonics (earthquakes caused by plate-movements).
Heatflow in Rama Setu 100 to 180 milliwatt per sq. m. comparable to Himalayan hotsprings. Will dredging in the area activate these heat zones?
Corals of Setusamudram
Setusamudram is home to corals. The coral conglomerates which are referred to as floating stones in many versions of the story of Sri Rama were used to construct the causeway, Setu (which is explained in Tamil encyclopaedia Abhidana Chintamani as ‘ceyarkarai’ that is, artificial, man-made bund). Setubandha is celebrated in ancient texts, in the song, dance and sculptural traditions of the Indian Ocean Rim states.
Setubandha construction shown on a 9th century sculptural panel in Parambanan (Brahmavana) temple in Indonesia.
The devastation warned, affecting over 60 million people should make every public official and scientist pause and consider the sacred ecology thatSetusamudram constitutes. Over the millennia, people have venerated the Indian Ocean as a life-source. Many young, married couples go for the samudrasnanam praying for the birth of children in their families. Millions of marine folk along the long 7,500 km coastline of India live off the marine wealth of the coastline including the wealth of corals. Corals have a particular sacred significance in Hindu civilizational traditions. The shankha or turbinella pyrum is also called the sacred conch. This sacred conch, shankha, adorns the hands of Vishnu and Bhairava, two divinities worshipped in thousands of temples all over the world. The shankha is also venerated as the conch-trumpet called Panchajanya used by avatara purusha Sri Krishna to call the troops to battle in the Kurukshetra war described in the epic Mahabharata. Sri Rama is also shown blowing the shankha trumpet in an exuiquite terracotta sculpture of the 3rd century in a village near Ayodhya.

Terracotta panel of Bhitargaon showing Vishnu blowing the conch, an event depicting Rama as Vishnu avatara, defeats the rakshasas led by Malyavan, Mali and Sumali and as narrated in the Uttarkanda of the Ramayana (Cantoes VI-VIII).http://ignca.nic.in/pb0020.htm
Quake-induced uplift of coral families in Sumatra Mentawai islands.

Setusamudram is an Indian Ocean region famous for the coral turbinella pyrum, shankha. At The devastation warned, affecting over 60 million people should make every public official and scientist pause and consider the sacred ecology that Setusamudramconstitutes. Over the millennia, people have venerated the Indian Ocean as a life-source. Many young, married couples go for the samudrasnanam praying for the birth of children in their families. Millions of marine folk along the long 7,500 km coastline of India live off the marine wealth of the coastline including the wealth of corals. Corals have a particular sacred significance in Hindu civilizational traditions. The shankha or turbinella pyrum is also called the sacred conch. This sacred conch, shankha, adorns the hands of Vishnu and Bhairava, two divinities worshipped in thousands of temples all over the world. The shankha is also venerated as the conch-trumpet called Panchajanya used by avatara purusha Sri Krishna to call the troops to battle in the Kurukshetra war described in the epic Mahabharata. Sri Rama is also shown blowing the shankha trumpet in an exuiquite terracotta sculpture of the 3rd century in a village near Ayodhya.

Terracotta panel of Bhitargaon showing Vishnu blowing the conch, an event depicting Rama as Vishnu avatara, defeats the rakshasas led by Malyavan, Mali and Sumali and as narrated in the Uttarkanda of the Ramayana (Cantoes VI-VIII).http://ignca.nic.in/pb0020.htm
Quake-induced uplift of coral families in Sumatra Mentawai islands.
Setusamudram is an Indian Ocean region famous for the coral turbinella pyrum, shankha. At Kizhakkarai, 15 kms. from Rameshwaram, West Bengal Development Corporation has an office for acquiring the shankha; the annual turnover is over Rs. 50 million ($1 million). The shankha is used to make bangles. Without shankha bangles, no Bengali or Oriya marriage is complete. So sacred are the shankha bangles.
Studies of the type carried out in Mentawai Islands near Sumatra have to be carried out inSetusamudram to record the upliftment, if any, of the coral reefs, in the region which is earth-quake prone, apart from being the only coastal region with evidence of Mannar volcanic rocks and heat-flows comparable to the heat-flows recorded in the sub-Himalayan hot-springs.
Setu as tsunami-protection wall
The Setu has served as a natural tsunami-protection wall in an ocean zone subject to many earthquakes and consequent tsunamis. The nearby region of Sumatra is also home to the world’s most devastating volcano, the Mount Toba which had a super-eruption about 74,000 years ago spewing volcanic ash to a depth of 6 to 12 inches all over South India south of the Vindhya mountains.
The Bay of Bengal part of the Indian Ocean is a trough subject to recurring, severe cyclonic storms from the area of depression near Taiwan. The storm surges get sucked into the trough of Bangladesh causing enormous damage to lives and properties. The tsunami which occurred on December 26, 2004 was an event triggered by the subduction of the Indian plate under the Burmese plate resulting in the displacement of water which surreptiously travelled as tsunami resulting in the loss of over 200,000 lives and the virtual disappearance of Aceh island. A tsunami expert, Prof. Tad S. Murthy notes that if any channel is laid across Setusamudram, the channel will act like a funnel absorbing the energies of the next tsunami and devastate the coastline of South India because of what is known as the ‘quarter-wave resonance amplification’. This is proved by the Alaska tsunami of 1964 which resulted in maximum devastation along the Alberni Canal in Canada and the destruction of the Alberni Port.
The sentiments expressed in the London seminar echoe the judgement of the Supreme Court of India which asked the Union of India to reconsider theSetusamudram Channel project and noted that a Pachauri Committee will go study the issue. Prof. Rajendra Pachauri heads the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, an institution which received the Nobel Prize for Peace. Pachauri Committee should not only recommend the scrapping of the Setusamudram Channel project which will be a world calamity if carried through, but also recommend a serious, multi-disciplinary agency to study the impact of another tsunami in the Indian Ocean. Another tsunami in the Indian Ocean is not a theoretical model but a reality. Scientific advances have not been able to predict the exact date of the next tsunami but all scientists are agreed that another tsunami more devastating than the December 26, 2004 tsunami is a possibility.
This nightmare warning, this possibility has been studied by seismologists (researchers of earthquakes) and earth scientists studying corals. In a recent study published in the Science Magazine (December 16, 2008) scientists have observed that many coral colonies in the Mentawai Islands near Sumatra were killed in September 2007 when large earthquakes lifted the reefs 1 meter or more out of the water. Seismology studies show that an earthquake of magnitude greater than 8.8 on Richter scale, could rock the coastal areas of Bengkulu and Padang in the next 30 years (along the Sumatra earthquake belt), triggering a major tsunami which could put over 60 million people of the Indian Ocean, east coast of India, west coast of Burma and south coast of Bangladesh at risk.
Pachauri Committee will also be well-advised to review the creation of Marine Economic Zones all along the long 7500 km. coastline of India to create new economic opportunities for the coastal and marine people.
Tsunami-protection wall in Japan
A multi-disciplinary team of experts should be constituted IMMEDIATELY, by the Union of India to study the warnings of another tsunami which will devastate the nation’s coastline and lives and property of coastal people and establish Disaster Management Zones all along the vulnerable coastline with structures like tsunami-protection walls constructed in Japan.
Next tsunami
Sacred traditions help us remember the sacredness of the earth in which we are only trustees of the present and future generations. We do NOT have the right to destroy this sacred ecology and deny future generations, the privilege of worshipping sacred sites and remembering the ancestors who have given the humanity its very identity.
Indian Ocean Rim states impacted by the tsunami of December 26, 2004
http://nctr.pmel.noaa.gov/propagation-database.html
The next tsunami is likely to impact the same Indian Ocean region – a lesson learnt from history.
List and locations of catastrophic tsunamis of Indian Ocean
What the scientists tell us about earthquakes and tsunamis should make us pause and ponder.
The 9.0 Earthquake of December 26, 2004 at 6.58 hours at the epicenter (and in Sri Lanka) led to a sequence of 15 quakes across the Andaman region. While earthquakes could not be predicted in advance, once the earthquake was detected it was possible to give about 3 hours of notice of a potential Tsunami. Such a system of warnings is in place across the Pacific Ocean but is only being put in place in the Indian Ocean; this needs further cooperation among the nations of the Indian Ocean Community.
Nature magazine reports: “Tens of millions of people along the heavily populated coasts of Myanmar, Bangladesh and West Bengal could be living under threat of a tsunami as massive as the one that devastated the Sumatran coast in 2004, according to a report to be released by Nature on Thursday this week. The report claims that while the 2004 disaster took the scientific community by surprise many of the same warning signs currently exist in the Bay of Bengal.”
When the plate boundaries abruptly deform and vertically displace the overlying water, a tsunami occurs. A tsunami travels very fast as ocean waves, about 800 km/h, or 0.2 km/sec for a water depth of 5000 m. Seismic waves are faster and cause enormous upheavals on the earth’s crust and ocean-beds. Oceans are the treasure of humanity and it is our responsibility to harness the treasure in a sustainable manner through well-regulated Marine Economic Zones which have the potential to make the Indian Ocean Community a veritable powerhouse to create wealth of nations, while providing new livelihoos opportunities to over 2 billion people on the globe.
Tsunami impact on land cover of Indian Ocean Community
http://www.unosat.web.cern.ch/unosat/freeproducts/Tsunami/JRC/Asia_Tsunami_07January_landcover.pdf
http://www.reliefweb.int/rw/fullMaps_Sa.nsf/luFullMap/1724ADB850F3F30B85256F8E0055AB65/$File/EUJRC_tsu_cov_sasia070105.pdf?OpenElement Land cover / potential land affected by tsunami (26 December, 2004)
Details of scientific papers on “Sacred ecology, sacred ocean, sacred Setusamudram” are provided athttp://sites.google.com/site/kalyan97/setu
Dr. S. Kalyanaraman
Kalyan97@gmail.com
National President, Rameshwaram Ramasetu Protection Movement,
Former Sr. Exec., Asian Development Bank
https://kalyan98.wordpress.com/2010/01/27/setu-project/
Government plans environmental study of Sethusamudram channel
January 14th, 2010 – 10:28 pm ICT by IANS
Panaji, Jan 14 (IANS) The National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) will carry out an environment impact assessment of the Sethusamudram channel, which aims to dredge a navigable link through the Palk Strait between India and Sri Lanka, an official statement said Thursday.

The ministry of shipping has asked the NIO to conduct the assessment on the recommendation of an expert committee set up by the Supreme Court under the chairmanship of R.K. Pachauri in July 2008.
To carry out the survey, the NIO has tied up with the Nagpur-based National Environmental Engineering Institute (NEERI) and the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.
“The NEERI will conduct the EIA over land through which the proposed channel passes. The IIM will carry out cost-benefit analysis,” the statement said.
The entire project, which will be anchored by NIO’s regional centre in Kochi, is expected to cost Rs.9.45 crore and will be completed in 18 months.
“The project involves collection and examination of extensive year-round environmental data collection in the Gulf of Mannar, Palk Bay, Adam’s Bridge and surrounding areas,” said the statement.
“It will lead to significant improvement in understanding the oceanography of this little studied region, besides determining feasibility of the Sethusamudram Canal from the point of view of environment and economics,” it said.
The Sethusamudram project plans to provide ships sailing between the east and west coasts of the country with a continuous navigable sea-route through India’s territorial waters, instead of having to circumvent Sri Lanka.
The project is facing opposition on environmental grounds. There is fear that the channel may result in tsunami waves hitting south Kerala more fiercely.
The dredging of Ram Sethu, a mythological bridge built by Lord Ram in the Palk Strait, has made the Bharatiya Janata Party oppose the project.
http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/business/government-plans-environmental-study-of-sethusamudram-channel_100303962.html#ixzz0dm2DQmIp

Setu project

January 27, 2010

Government plans environmental study of Sethusamudram channel

January 14th, 2010 – 10:28 pm ICT by IANS

Panaji, Jan 14 (IANS) The National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) will carry out an environment impact assessment of the Sethusamudram channel, which aims to dredge a navigable link through the Palk Strait between India and Sri Lanka, an official statement said Thursday.
The ministry of shipping has asked the NIO to conduct the assessment on the recommendation of an expert committee set up by the Supreme Court under the chairmanship of R.K. Pachauri in July 2008.

To carry out the survey, the NIO has tied up with the Nagpur-based National Environmental Engineering Institute (NEERI) and the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore.

“The NEERI will conduct the EIA over land through which the proposed channel passes. The IIM will carry out cost-benefit analysis,” the statement said.

The entire project, which will be anchored by NIO’s regional centre in Kochi, is expected to cost Rs.9.45 crore and will be completed in 18 months.

“The project involves collection and examination of extensive year-round environmental data collection in the Gulf of Mannar, Palk Bay, Adam’s Bridge and surrounding areas,” said the statement.

“It will lead to significant improvement in understanding the oceanography of this little studied region, besides determining feasibility of the Sethusamudram Canal from the point of view of environment and economics,” it said.

The Sethusamudram project plans to provide ships sailing between the east and west coasts of the country with a continuous navigable sea-route through India’s territorial waters, instead of having to circumvent Sri Lanka.

The project is facing opposition on environmental grounds. There is fear that the channel may result in tsunami waves hitting south Kerala more fiercely.

The dredging of Ram Sethu, a mythological bridge built by Lord Ram in the Palk Strait, has made the Bharatiya Janata Party oppose the project.

http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/business/government-plans-environmental-study-of-sethusamudram-channel_100303962.html#ixzz0dm2DQmIp

Demolition of Setu will lead to disaster: Expert

March 21, 2008

Demolition of Sethu\’ll lead to disaster: Expert

By KUMAR CHELLAPPAN

Chennai (Deccan Chronicle, 21 March 2008)

The country’s top environmental scientist has warned that the demolition of the Adam’s Bridge (Ramar Setu) for constructing the Sethusamudram Shipping Channel Project is a surefire recipe for ecological disaster. Prof C.S.P. Iyer, who led the Department of Atomic Energy’s (DAE) scientific team for more than three decades and who chaired the Centre For Marine Analytical Reference and Standards (C-MARS) told this newspaper that the proposal to link Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea through the Sethu Channel would lead to an ‘ecological disaster’ of the worst kind because water differed from ‘sea to sea’.

“The Gulf of Mannar (GoM), which has been declared as the world’s rarest bio diversity reserve by UNESCO will be destroyed by this action. The project envisages the demolition of Adam’s Bridge which will result in the mixing up of the waters of the Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay,” said Prof Iyer.

Having done extensive research on the chemistry of water water in land as well as in sea, he pointed out that the water in GoM was very different from that of Palk Bay. “The salinity, temperature, acidity, nutrients, productivity and bio diversity differ in Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay. The moment the waters get mixed up, the entire ecology will be disturbed and that’s the end of it,” said Prof Iyer.

Prof Iyer, an emeritus professor at the Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management (IIITM), pointed out that the GoM harboured more than 3600 species of identified and unidentified flora and fauna. “Many endangered species like sea turtles, sea cow, and sea horse could be found only in the GoM. The Palk Bay has more than117 species of sea grass. It is the sea grass which protect the Tamil Nadu coast and provide shelter to sea cows,” said Prof Iyer.

The DAE scientist said he strongly felt that the Adam’s Bridge was a natural formation. “It is the naturally formed reef barriers which keep the waters of GoM and Palk Bay separated. Once we demolish this structure, the two water regimes will get mixed and the fragile ecology of the entire area would be impaired,” he said.

He also said the Channel which requires dredging would cause turbidity. “This will destroy the valuable corals of the region. There is no way you can save the corals once you start the dredging. Though the sea is full of energy, it is equally sensitive,” said Prof Iyer who is an authority on the chemistry of ocean water.

http://www.dc-epaper.com/deccanchronicle/ArticleText.aspx?article=21_03_2008_010_001

Muslim Congress leaders and President of Croatia oppose Setu channel through Rama Setu

March 16, 2008

Statement of Dr. Subramanian Swamy, made in Chennai on 16 March 2008:

[quote] Setusamudram Ship Channel Project (SSCP) has suffered a further blow with Muslim MPs of the Congress Party expressing reservations about the wisdom of a project that cuts a channel through Rama Setu. Leaders of the party such as Ahmed Patel and Mohsina Kidwai have told their top party leaders that breaking the Rama Setu would ‘empower the Hindutva brigade’ in the future to go on a rampage and justify a future demolition of mosques in the name of economic development. Hence, they have urged that the project be dropped altogether rather than court any controversy. In Kashmir, the Hurriyat Chief Mirwaiz Omar has also condemned the proposal under the SSCP to demolish the Setu. [unquote]

Muslims of Varanasi offered prayers on Dec. 13, 2007 to protect Ram Setu (See Press report attached).

Croatian President Stjepan Mesic on Jan. 29, 2008 supports efforts to protect Ram Setu in a letter to Swami Maheshwarananda ji. (See text of letter attached).

Kalyanaraman

Hindus, Muslims join hands against Setu channel project

Hindus, Muslims join hands against Sethusamudram Project

December 13th, 2007 – 6:58 pm ICT by admin –

Varanasi, Dec 13 (ANI): People belonging to the Hindu and the Muslim communities offered prayers here for protection of the Ram Setu.

They said that the mythological bridge was under threat by the Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project.

While radical Hindu groups have been spearheading the agitation, prayer meeting, though attended by a handful of volunteers, was the first time Muslims rallied against the project.

“We believe that our revered Paigambar (Prophet Mohammed) went to Sri Lanka through the Ram Sethu. There is also a mausoleum dedicated to him in Sri Lanka. Both Hindus and Muslims should work together to save it (Ram Setu),” said Mohammed Shamim Ahmed, a resident.

Hindu groups have been opposing the 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.

According to the Central Government, research has shown that the Ram Setu was a series of sand shoals created by sedimentation, but according to Hindus the narrow link, also known as Adam’s Bridge, was built by Lord Rama.

The project has also sparked protests by other groups including conservationists and local fishermen who say the dredging will mean dumping sediment in deeper water further out to sea.

The 560-million dollar project will dredge a channel in a narrow strip of sea between India and Sri Lanka, reducing distances and cutting costs for freight traffic.

India plans to go ahead with the project in seas off its southern coast despite protests by various groups.

Dredging for the project began in 2005 and the channel — 12 metres deep, 300 metres wide and almost 90 km long — will provide a crucial link between the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar.

When the project is finished, ships sailing between India’s western and eastern coasts will no longer have to go around the south of Sri Lanka, and are expected to save up to 36 hours of sailing time. (ANI)

http://tinyurl.com/33tv83

The Text of the letter of Croatian President Stjepan Mesic, released by Ram Setu Raksha Manch is as following:

Jan. 29th, 2008

“His Holiness paramhans Swami Swami Maheshwarananda

“Your Holiness honored Swamiji,

Thank you for the book of the holy epic poem Ramayan which you gave to me during our meeting.

“My attention was especially drawn to the chapter about the bridge between India and Sri Lanka, the bridge which is hidden in the depths of the sea. Although invisible in our eyes (But not to NASA satellites) the bridge is a part of world and human heritage and this is why public awareness needs to be raised about the significance and establish it on a global level. The Republic of Croatia is also fighting to protect the under water heritage because in doing so, we are preserving our roots. The bridge is a witness of Ramayana. The story about good and evil, a universal story, but also an individual story, about the struggle of a hero, an interesting reading material. It makes me think about myself, about my roles of statesman who could help you with your efforts.

“I therefore support the proposal that Ram setu should be protected from devastation and put on the UNESCO world heritage list.

“I will use this opportunity to thank you once again for vising Zagreh and for the seminars and devoted efforts to spread peace, tolerance, understanding and conscience about the preservation of planet Earth,

“Sincerely,

The President of the Republic of Croatia, Stjepan Mesic”.

Croatia is a candidate for membership of the European Union and is expecting NATO membership invitation in April 2008. On October 17, 2007 Croatia became a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council for the 2008-2009 term.

Committee admits Setu project report erred in basic computations of time and distance savings

March 14, 2008

Posted: Sat, Mar 15 2008. 1:02 AM IST

Committee admits Sethu project report made errors in calculations

Economists critical of the project say they feel vindicated by some admissions in the govt committee’s report

Priyanka P. Narain

Mumbai: A committee that held hearings and studied the controversial Sethusamudram project concedes the government made calculation errors in its estimates of how much time, distance and fuel would be saved by ships using the channel.

Mint’s Sethu Series (Graphic)

In its 116-page report, the “committee of eminent persons”, as the government-appointed group is known, says Rs350 crore has been spent so far and that the original expectations of the channel will have to be modified. It says some numbers mentioned in the original project report lack financial analysis.

It wrote: “The consultants in the detailed project report (DPR) have taken channel length as 152km for calculation of savings in time charters, whereas the actual channel length is 167.22km. These difference, in channel length and savings in distance, will have some impact on the savings of ships.”

Further, the 10-member committee says the shallow depth of the channel will force ships to slow more than estimated.

“As regards the comments made on the approach and assumptions adopted in the DPR, the main argument against the DPR rests on the distance that will be saved by ships that are coming from Europe, America, Africa (as they) need not come to Cape Comorin for going around Sri Lanka,” the committee wrote, referring to the cape at Kanyakumari, the southernmost point in India. “This observation is valid as the ships coming from Europe, America, Africa, etc., need not come to Cape Comorin for going around Sri Lanka. To that extent the savings in distance, particularly for non-coastal cargo, will be less.”

In a section on environment, the committee recommends a special, low-sulphur fuel for ships navigating the biosphere reserve, to reduce the pollution.

This has steep economic implications, mariners say, because the fuel costs twice as much and will result in spiralling costs for ships using this channel.

The Sethusamudram project, which plans to create a channel by dredging the Adam’s Bridge connecting India and Sri Lanka, has been mired in controversy over security, economic, environmental and social issues.

The bridge is also known as Ram Sethu, named after the mythological king Ram who is believed to have built the coral walkway.

The channel, which is expected to cut navigation times for ships travelling around India by 24 hours, is different from projects such as the Suez and Panama canals, which cut through land to save ships several days of navigation.

From the start, the government misjudged costs: When dredging companies submitted their bids, project costs had spiralled from Rs2,600 crore to Rs4,000 crore. Loan arrangers then demanded government guarantees, and then said terms of the original agreement had expired.

Members of the committee have been asked not to talk to the media and calls to shipping minister T.R. Baalu’s office were not returned.

Economists who have studied the project—and been highly critical—say they feel vindicated by some admissions in the government committee’s report. H. Balakrishnan, a former naval officer, was the first to analyse that ships would be slow in the channel.

“As a mariner, it was good to see the committee admit that the channel is 15 nautical miles longer than what they said and that ships will not be able to travel at eight nautical miles in such a shallow channel,” he said.

“When the draft available to them is only a couple of meters, ships cannot run their propellers because they may run aground,” he added.

The low sulphur fuels that the committee recommends for ships using the channel cost about $908 (Rs36,774) per gallon, nearly twice the price of regular fuel that ships use on high seas. According to Bunkerworld, a website that monitors fuel prices worldwide, regular heavy oil fuel that ships use on open seas costs $480.

All these new factors make the old estimates irrelevant, observers say.

“The numbers of savings are being deliberately vague and it is hard to even make estimated calculations of savings,” said Balakrishnan, who is putting together a paper on revised financials for this project. “It is time for fresh numbers, fresh estimates and real estimates that are rooted in real financial analysis.”

http://www.livemint.com/2008/03/15010253/Committee-admits-Sethu-project.html

Anti-Setu movements question increase in project cost

March 14, 2008

Anti-Sethu movements question increase in project cost
Friday March 14 2008 11:23 IST

M Aruloli & S Raja

MADURAI/RAMANATHAPURAM: As the Union Government shrugged off its hesitation on the Ramar Sethu issue and expressed its readiness to go ahead with the Sethusamudram Project in its affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, the anti-Sethu movements have now raked up a much stronger issue relating to the silent increase of the Government of India’s share as per the budgetary allocations. Of the total project estimation of Rs 2427 crore earmarked for the Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project, around Rs 250 crore was decided to be shared by the Tuticorin Port Trust, Shipping Corporation of India, Dredging Corporation of India and by the other major ports of Ennore, Chennai, Vizagapattinam and Paradeep.
Further, the government’s share towards the project was fixed at Rs 495 crore and about Rs 1500 crore was agreed to be mobilised as bank loan which the AXIS bank by an agreement with the Sethusamudram Corporation limited (SCL) had accepted to arrange. The rest of the money was planned to be mobilised by way of public share.
To fulfill its share towards the project, the government had so far allotted Rs 150 crore and Rs 111.88 crore and Rs 524 crore in the three consecutive union budgets since 2005.
As the grand total of the government allocation exceeded the amount proposed earlier, anti-Sethu movements like the National Union of Fishermen (NUF) doubted whether the government had been silently increasing its share so as to meet the increased project cost of Rs 3500-Rs 4000 crore.
The president of NUF Anton Gomez, who visited Ramanathapuram on Wednesday pointed to a statement by a higher official of AXIS bank that states the bank has withdrawn itself from its responsibility of mobilising funds for the project as the Government was not ready to give an undertaking.
Fishermen activists like Jesurathinam, the convenor of Coastal Action Network and Paulsamy, president of Ramanathapuram Fish Workers Trade Union echoed the same concern of NUF.

http://www.newindpress.com/NewsItems.asp?ID=IET20080314010203&Page=T&Title=Southern+News+-+Tamil+Nadu&Topic=0

Setu: violation of environmental protection norms and coastal peoples’ livelihood

March 13, 2008

Setu: violation of environmental protection norms and coastal peoples’ livelihood

Posted: Fri, Mar 14 2008. 12:09 AM IST

Govt considered using explosives though project okay specified ‘no blasting’

Fishermen were aghast at the report and said they feared their livelihoods may blow up with the bridge

Priyanka P. Narain

Mumbai: A report by a government-appointed committee on the Sethusamudram project says adequate research has been done to understand the underwater geology and marine environment off India’s southern coast, including one study to examine the “controlled blasting” of the Adam’s Bridge and after-effects.

Independent environmental organizations counter that the studies have been a sham, while fishermen in Rameshwaram, where the India side of the walkway rests, already point to disappearing fish and conch species.

Mint’s Sethu Series (Graphic)

http://www.livemint.com/2008/03/14000917/2A453E83-F36A-447D-8B1C-5E94EB13776AArtVPF.pdf

Full coverage at http://www.livemint.com/sethusamudram.htm

The report by the “committee of eminent persons”, the Supreme Court-mandated group convened to study the controversial project, mentions an undated study by the Indian School of Mines to examine “the feasibility of underwater drilling and controlled blasting in the channel”.

No comments: Shipping minister T.R. Baalu, who oversees the project, had emphasized in December 2000, the importance of protecting the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve Trust.

The reference essentially confirms that the government has considered using explosives in the fragile marine biosphere to blast the Adam’s Bridge, also known as the Ram Sethu. That is a direct contrast to the environmental clearance originally given to the project on the condition that no blasting will be done while dredging the channel.

The government’s Rs2,600 crore project intends to dredge the walkway to shorten shipping routes and times around India.

Independent research organizations, such as the Coastal Action Network, have been running their own environmental assessment and say that the current monitors—government-aided institutions as the Suganthi Devadasan Marine Research Institute in Tuticorin and the Centre for Advanced Study in Marine Biology at Annamalai University—do not have the equipment or the expertise to assess ocean dynamics.

“Right now, their monitoring is mainly research students following a dredging boat with an environment-monitoring machine that measures things like temperature and turbidity. When you are dredging the ocean, that is not enough,” said Ossie Fernandes, convener of the Coastal Action Network, an environmental watch group in Tamil Nadu.

Fernandes, who has been fighting the project for the last two years, says a channel of such magnitude dug in the ocean requires monitoring agencies to study sub-surface changes in microseismic activity, salinity, toxicity, thermal zones and current movements. “To do this, they must be independent bodies with the right equipment,” he said.

The phone rang unanswered at Suganthi, while a message left with the Annamalai University centre was not returned.

The Sethusamudram project, which plans to create a channel by dredging the bridge connecting India and Sri Lanka, has been mired in controversy over security, economic, environmental and social issues. The channel would open up the marine bioreserve of the Gulf of Mannar, home to many endangered species such as sea cows, seahorses and sea turtles, to traffic and ships loaded with coal, oil or other hazardous cargo.

Members of the committee have been asked not to talk to the media and calls to shipping minister T.R. Baalu’s office were not returned.

In December 2000, Baalu, who oversees this project, had emphasized the importance of protecting the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve Trust during his inauguration: “This biosphere reserve was established for attempting an integrated approach to resolving the adverse impacts of human activities on the rich biodiversity of this ecologically fragile area,” he had said.

Complains Fernandes: “This whole thing is a big hoax. These are not independent bodies and students are doing purely environmental monitoring.” He said requests to examine the mineral composition of the soil being dumped in dredging have gone unanswered. “We have asked for photos or videos for the channel. But we have not received any new data,” he said.

Projects intends to dredge the walkway to shorten shipping routes around India

Some local fishermen in Rameshwaram say that over the last year, the number of fish appears to be depleting. K. Kuppuram, spokesperson for the fishermen’s groups in Rameshwaram observed: “Some varieties of fish such as “kumla” have not come since last year. It used to come to this area from deep seas, but it has stopped coming. A lot of fishermen dive under the water to look for conches but, even those are hard to find these days.”

S. Kalam, who runs one of the largest conch businesses in the town, confirmed that his divers have to go deeper these days to look for conches that were freely available before.

Reports that the government has considered blasting the bridge came as a shock to some of the fishermen, who fear their livelihoods may blow up with the bridge if that indeed happens.

The National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (Neeri) had given environmental clearance to the project in August 2004 on the condition that the marine bio-reserve would not be disturbed and no blasting would take place.

When word surfaced last August that the government was thinking of using explosives under the water, deputy director of Neeri and co-author of the project’s environmental impact assessment S.R. Wate said he would withdraw clearance if the government tried to use explosives in such a fragile area.

http://www.livemint.com/2008/03/14000917/Govt-considered-using-explosiv.html

Plea to drop Setu project

March 13, 2008

Plea to drop Sethusamudram project

Staff Reporter (The Hindu, 11 March 2008)

TUTICORIN: The Coastal Action Network (CAN), a non-governmental organisation, has urged the Government to drop the Sethusamudram project, arguing that it is “uneconomical and threatens the socio-economic status of thousands of fishermen.”

It organised an interaction of scientists and experts with reporters here on Monday to discuss the scientific impact of the project.

Commander John Jacob Puthur, a retired naval officer, said the project would be unviable, as a huge sum was needed for maintenance dredging. “The dredging now being carried out will not be of any use, since the pit will get easily refilled with silts as both sides of the alignment are occupied by loose sand,” he said.

The expenditure on maintenance dredging, pegged at Rs. 20 crore and claimed to reduce to Rs. 14 crore in five years, was “false” and “meant to fool the public,” he said. “The calculation has been made without any regard for sediment dynamics.”

Security threats

Captain H. Balakrishnan, another retired naval officer, said the LTTE factor would have a bearing on the safety of ships passing through the channel, as the naval unit of the terrorist outfit had shown their prowess in seaborne insurgency.

http://www.hindu.com/2008/03/11/stories/2008031154230500.htm