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Ram Sethu: SC seeks expert report on alternative shipping route

January 05, 2012 14:51 IST

The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Centre to place before it the report of prime minister-appointed expert panel on the feasibility of building an alternative shipping channel through Dhanuskodi instead of Ram Sethu around the country's southern tip.

A bench comprising justices H L Dattu and C K Prasad also asked the government to supply the report of the panel, headed by noted environmentalist R K Pachauri, to the various parties for and against building of navigational sea route around the country's southern peninsula.

The court posted the matter for considering the report on March 23.

The six-member panel headed by Pachauri had been formed in July 2008 by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to find a solution to the controversy over the Rs-2,240 crore Sethu Samudram Shipping Channel Project.

SSCP proposes linking Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar between India and Sri Lanka by creating a shipping channel through the shallow sea and a chain of islands known as 'Ramar Sethu' and Adam's Bridge.

The project was flagged off in 2005 but later met opposition following a decision to dredge 'Ramasethu', believed to have been constructed by Lord Ram to cross to Sri Lanka.

A number of petitions, some of them transferred from Madras high court to the apex court, have objected to the project on the ground of environmental concerns.

On April 21, 2010, the Supreme Court had put a virtual stop to SSCP, saying it would await a "full and comprehensive" Environmental Impact Analysis on feasibility of an alternative route through Dhanuskodi instead of Ram Sethu.

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