Seeking to exert pressure on the Centre, United Progressice Alliance's key ally Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam on Thursday said "any weakened response" by it on the Ram Sethu issue would only "expose the betrayal of hope and promise" given to Tamil Nadu.
DMK MPs, belonging to Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha, led by its Parliamentary Party leader T R Baalu met UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and impressed upon her the need to quicken the legal process over the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project, which is essential for the economic development of the state.
The DMK's move comes a day after its bitter rival Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam chief Jayalalithaa wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, asking the Centre to declare Ram Sethu as a 'National Monument' without further delay.
"As a member of the UPA, it is our bounden duty to bring to the government's attention that any weakened response of this government to such a crucial issue will only expose the betrayal of hope and promise given to Tamil Nadu...," a memorandum addressed to the prime minister said.
The memorandum was given to Minister of State in the PMO V Narayanaswamy.
Noting that completion of this project would go a long way in furthering the economic development of the southern peninsular region, it said "any stand taken by the government of India in abandoning the Sethusamudram ship canal project will run against the wishes of people of Tamil Nadu".
Recalling that Singh had inaugurated the project on July 2005 in the presence UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and DMK Leader M Karunanidhi, the memorandum said Gandhi had "expressed her desire in the presence of thousands of people that work should be completed within the stipulated time frame of three years".
It said after major portions of the work were completed and only 22 km of dredging work left, "some vested interests" approached the Supreme Court and obtained a stay.
Keeping in mind the huge investment in the project, DMK said it would urge the Centre "not to hamper the progress of the project" and take all necessary steps to expedite the judicial process and honour its commitment made to the people.