Friday, May 11, 2007

Upto May 10, 2007

[Updated May 14, 2007 4:30pm IST]

May 10, 2007

BJP to stall Parliament on Setu - PTI

Accusing the government of taking "undue advantage" of the opposition's cooperation in passing the Budget, the BJP today said it will not let the Parliament session to progress without an open discussion on the Ram Setu issue.

BJP Parliamentary Party spokesman V K Malhotra told reporters here the ruling party was not letting the discussion take place in the House for past three days despite a calling attention motion being passed on it.

Malhotra alleged the UPA government wanted to "blow up" Ram Setu before any discussion took place on the issue. "If any harm is done to Ram Setu, there will be a countrywide agitation," he warned and said not only religious-minded people were against the government's plan to breach Ram Setu but experts from different fields were also against the plan (for a shipping canal).

He said there was a conspiracy behind deferring the discussion on the issue and accused the government of an anti-Hindu policy to destroy the ancient bridge.

Chandraswamy joins Save Ram Setu Mission - Patna Daily

Controversial 'godman' of yesteryears, Chandraswamy, during a press conference at the residence of Janata Dal (U) leader Nagmani on Wednesday in Patna, accused the central government of trying to demolish the Ram Setu, the ancient bridge between Rameshwaram and Sri Lanka, to develop a shipping canal project, saying he would intensify his protest to discourage the government from doing so.

"The bridge should be declared a national heritage site and until that goal is achieved, we will continue our fight against the government's attempt to destroy it," adding he was not averse to seeking support from the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and prominent Muslim and Buddhist organizations in this regard. Chandraswamy arrived in Patna to promote his crusade after visiting Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh. From Patna, he is to organize protests in Jharkhand, Nagmani said.

सेतु परियोजना की राह में कोई प्राचीन पुल नहीं : बालू - Dainik Jagran

पोत परिवहन मंत्री टी आर बालू ने बुधवार को लोकसभा में अविनाश राय खन्ना के प्रश्न के लिखित उत्तार में कहा कि सेतु समुद्रम नहर परियोजना की प्रस्तावित मार्ग रेखा में किसी प्राचीन मानव निर्मित ढांचे की मौजूदगी का कोई वैज्ञानिक साक्ष्य नहीं है। मंत्री से पूछा गया था कि क्या रामेश्वरम के निकट कोई पुल पाया गया है जिसे रामायण के समय का माना जाता है। यह भी सवाल किया गया था कि क्या इस पुल के पुनरुद्धार के लिए कदम उठाए जाने की योजना है जिसके जवाब में बालू ने कहा कि प्रश्न नहीं उठते।
{Translation: Baalu answering in writing to a question of MP Mr. Avinash Rai Khanna in Lok Sabha, once again reiterated that government does not believe there is any man-made structure on the channel configuration, therefore question of protecting it as heritage does not arise}

Rama Sethu: Historic facts vs political fiction Part III - V Sundaram

It has been rightly said that the two eyes of history are geography and chronology. Both geography and chronology get vitally linked through cartography. We have irrefutable cartographical evidence about the fact of rama sethu bridge as it was known for thousands of years or adam's bridge as it came to be called during the colonial british period....

The cartographic facts I have presented above can be presented in any court of law to prove that Rama Setu or Ramar Bridge has existed and has been noted by rulers, geographers, explorers, scientists and cartographers for centuries. To conclude in the timeless words of Justice Grier (1794-1870): ?A number of concurrent facts, like rays of light, all converging to the same centre, may throw not only a clear light but a burning conviction; a conviction of truth more infallible than the testimony even of two witnesses directly to a fact?

May 9, 2007

Scientist find triggers claim that islet chain was man-made - Telegraph

Government scientists have suggested that an islet chain in the Palk Strait is man-made, triggering claims that it is the remnant of the bridge Ram’s mythological monkey army built to Lanka.

The Centre’s department of earth sciences has given an opinion to the government that the islets are probably a result of human activity. The department, under the ministry of science and technology, says the sand dunes have a base of coral and sandstone that seem to have been transported from elsewhere.

Its unpublished report, of which The Telegraph has a copy, says the naturally formed corals in Lakshadweep, the Andamans or the nearby Gulf of Mannar grow vertically from a hard-rock base. But the Adam’s Bridge coral doesn’t grow vertically and appears to rest loosely on the seabed.

"The coral formations hardly occur 1 m to 2.5 m in length and rest on loose marine sands. Most… seem to be rounded pebbles of corals. These things appear to point that these… have been transported and placed in these areas," the department’s note says.

"Since the calcareous sand stones and corals are less dense (and therefore lighter) than the normal hard rock and quite compact, probably these were used by (the) ancients to form a connecting link to Sri Lanka on the higher elevations of the Adam’s Bridge ridge and this is analogous to a modern-day causeway."

Rama Setu is the bane of Setu project : Karunanidhi - Dinamani in Tamil

Translation Rama Setu issue is damaging the Setusamudram Channel Project, so said CM Karunanidhi in the Legislative Assembly.

He was replying to the debate held on Tuesday, on industry demands in the budget.

Soon after Anna (CN Annadurai) took charge as CM in 1967 in Tamilnadu, he made eforts for industrial development in Tamilnadu. He gave the clarion call for Neyveli Lignite corporation, Salem steel plant, Seutsamudram project. For the Setusamudram project many of us struggled. Now the project is getting completed. Because of this, the economy of Tamilnadu will prosper.

But some say that they have no links with this project. Rama Setu has come to create disaster for us. A time must come, after completion, that there will be no one to excel us. So we should not lose this opportunity, so said Karunanidhi.

PS: There is another report of burning of Dinakaran newspaper office in Madurai, (which need not detain us) and which is unrelated to this diaster mentioned by MuKa. But that report did say, that MuKa was so upset that he wanted the celebrations slated for May 11, 2007 to be cancelled. Coalition partners were prevailing upon him not to do so.

Rama Sethu: Historic facts vs political fiction Part I - V Sundaram

The anti-Hindu trio of Baalu-Soni-Karuna is guilty of uttering unabashed falsehood!

A rabidly racist and dishonest politician with an open mouth, twisted tongue and a closed mind, and his deliberate attempt in close political (commercial not excluded!!) collaboration and collusion with T R Baalu to somehow destroy by hook or by crook the Rama Sethu, a timeless symbol of Hindu faith and culture which has withstood the onslaught of centuries.

In my view, Union Shipping Minister T R Baalu, Union Minister for Culture Ambika Soni, Tamilnadu Chief Minister Karunanidhi are all guilty of uttering unabashed falsehood when they say in unison: 'There is no credible or valid or tenable or acceptable archaeological or scientific evidence about the existence of Rama Sethu Bridge'. Their falsehood either individually or collectively or severally not only disagrees with historically established truths but also raucously (if not rationally!!)

Rama Sethu: Historic facts vs political fiction Part II - V Sundaram

I would assert my proud and unshakable constitutional right to be a Political Hindu, a Social Hindu, a Cultural Hindu, an Economic Hindu, a Religious Hindu and above all a Spiritual Hindu and declare from the house top that for more than 800 millions of Hindus in India and millions of Hindus outside India throughout the world the RAMA SETHU BRIDGE is as holy and as sacred as the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem to the Jews, the Vatican in Rome to the Roman Catholics, the Bodh Gaya in Bihar to the Buddhists and Mecca in Saudi Arabia to the Muslims.

Winston Churchill (1874-1965) not only made history but also wrote great history. He said 'History like a flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes and to kindle with pale gleams the passions of former days'. These thoughts on history come in a flood to my mind when I try to survey the glorious history of the Rama Sethu Bridge. For an avid student of Indian history in general and India's cultural history in particular, the ancient and time-defying Rama Sethu of history and geography, of culture and tradition, of song and music , of legend and literature and above all the Rama Sethu of our minds and hearts can never change.

The great history of Rama Sethu through the ages presents the pleasantest features of poetry, drama and fiction?the majesty of the epic, the moving accidents of the drama, and the surprises and moral of the romance. What moves me and many others recount Rama Sethu through the Ages? I can only say with humility and reverence: 'I do so because it bridges the past with the future; it embodies the social memory of our civilization and is an inspiration to the present and future generations. After all, it is our Dharma, our responsibility to protect and safeguard the riches of this mother earth which we hold on temporary lease from our future generations.'

May 7, 2007

Is "Ram Setu" a nemesis for 'DPA' in Tamilnadu?

B.R.Haran takes a look at the Setu issue's politicization in the politics of Tamil Nadu, in reference to TN Chief Minister M Karunanidhi's statements in the Tamil Nadu Assembly. (see next news)

He also informs:

In the meantime, the Rameshwaram Ram Setu Protection Movement has organized an 'International Seminar' on 'Scientific and Security Aspects of SSCP' on Saturday, May 12, 2007 in Chennai. Dr. S.R.Rao, Founder of Society of Marine Archeology, will inaugurate the seminar and Sri. D. Kuppu Ramu, Advocate & Convener, RRSPM will preside over. The august audience will be enlightened by the speeches & presentations of Dr. S. Kalyanaraman, Phd. Director, Sarasvati Research Center, Capt. Hariharan Balakrishnan, Indian Naval Officer (Retd), Anti – Submarine warfare specialist, Prof. C S P Iyer, Executive director, Centre for Marine Analytical Reference & Standards, Trivandrum, Dr. S.Badrinarayanan, Geologist & Consultant, National Institute of Ocean Technology, Justice Parvatha Rao, Retd. Judge of AP High Court, Prof. Madhav Das Nalapat, Professor of Geopolitics in Manila, Academy of Higher Education, Sri. V. Sundaram I.A.S. (Retd) First Chairman of Tuticorin Port Trust, Sri. K.Ramalingam, Supt. Engineer (Retd) Tuticorin Port trust, Member of Lakshminarayanan Committee, Sri. T.V.Rangarajan, South India Organisisng Secretary, Akila Bhatrathiya Itihasa Sankalana Yojana, Prof. Tad S. Murthy, Vice President, The Tsunami Society, Ottawa and Sri. T. Sathyamurthy, Sr. Supt. (Retd), Archeological Survey of India.

Close on the heels of the seminar, a huge rally for the protection of Ram Setu is being organized in New Delhi on Sunday the 13th of May 2007, which will be attended by the Sankaracharyas and other swamijis & leaders.

The Congress, which has been continuously facing defeat in the recent elections may not like the BJP getting one more strong ammunition in the form of 'Ram Setu', similar to 'Ram Temple' and hence, it may refrain itself from destroying the Ramar Bridge and may opt for another alignment to the dismay of its Tamil Nadu alliance partners.

Ramar Sethu struggle aimed at bloodbath: MK

CHENNAI: Chief Minister M Karunanidhi on Friday charged that “religious fundamentalists from North India” who had demolished the Babri mosque raking up the Ram temple issue and unleashed a bloodbath then were now seeking to stall the Sethu Samudram Canal Project in the name of saving the Ramar Sethu (Adam's Bridge).

"I am not raising the Dravidian land issue again by making this charge but a majority of the fundamentalists who are opposing the project are from North India," he said replying to a calling attention motion on the Rama Setu in the Legislative Assembly.

Karunanidhi contended that these fundamentalists wanted to stall the project as they were jealous that if the Sethu Canal was established then there would be all round development in the South. The Chief Minister refused to go further into the issue as the matter was being debated in the Parliament and also sub judice.

RSS warning to BJP not to politicise Ram Sethu issue

The Sangh Parivar may have launched a campaign to whip up Hindu sentiments against the Rs 2,400 crore Sehusamudram Ship Canal Project on the ground that the Ram Sethu or the Ramar bridge - believed to have been built by Lord Rama’s vanarasena (army of monkeys) - will be damaged. But it does not want the BJP to hijack the issue. So it seems if one goes by the latest editorial in RSS mouthpiece, Panchajanya. It says the campaign for protection of what is officially referred to as Adam’s Bridge, located in the Palk Straits close to Rameshwaram, "should not be allowed to become politicized as it happened in the case of the Ram temple movement."

The warning has come even as VHP international president Ashok Singhal has said, "Like we have vowed to construct a temple at the Rama Janma Bhoomi we vow to protect the Ram Sethu."

Panchanjanya asked "do those people who benefited from the sacrifice made by hundreds of kar sevaks and enjoyed power remember them today? We should not let power seekers take advantage even as we are determined by the grace of Lord Hanuman to prevent the destruction of Ram Sethu."

Sanatan Dharma Foundation, USA broadcasted a two-part panel discussion on 'Why and How to protect Rama Setu'. The panel included Dr.S.P.Gupta, Seceratary General, Indian Archaeological Soceity, Sri.KT.Thomas, Retd. Supreme Court Justice, Dr.S.Kalyanaraman, Research Director Saraswathi River Project, and Swami Paramatmananda Saraswathi of Hindu Dharma Acharya Sabha.

The talks can be heard on the web by clicking upon the above link.

Setu would not be allowed to be destroyed - Das Munshi

Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, Union Parliamentary Affairs Minister Sri Priyaranjan Das Munshi assured that Setu Samundaram would not be allowed to be destroyed during the UPA rule like the Babri Masjid was demolished when BJP was in power in Uttar Pradesh in December 1992.

{Our Comment: Thank you Mr Das Munshi. Although it must be pointed that in 1992, it was a government of your own Congress party which was in power at the center, but we shall let that pass. Please act and convince your own cabinet colleagues about not destroying Sri Rama Setu.}

Unless realigned, canal threatens Ram Setu - Pioneer

The ambitious Rs 2,427-crore Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project has virtually foundered, having hit what is being described as the legendary 'Ram Setu' - the bridge built by Hanuman's vanar sena to help Lord Ram and his army cross the sea and enter Lanka to rescue Sita.

The dredging work for creating the sea channel has considerably slowed down because even the strongest dredgers have failed to cut through an unyielding chain of shoals and rocks. Twice in the last week of January, dredging work suffered serious setback, first when the spud of a cutter suction dredger (CSD-Aquarius) broke, and later, when a tug-crane, brought to retrieve the broken spud, snapped and a part of the crane sank into the sea. The mishap occurred when the sea close to Adam's Bridge was sought to be dredged. It took several weeks for the Dredging Corporation of India, contracted by the Sethusamudram Corporation Ltd, to repair the dredger.

May 3, 2007

Indian Parliament rocked over Ramar Setu - The Hindu (PTI)

The Sethusamudram project issue rocked both Houses of Parliament today with an aggressive BJP accusing the Government of attempting to destroy evidence of the existence of ancient 'Ram Setu'(bridge) linking India and Sri Lanka.

Countering the claim in Lok Sabha, Shipping Minister T R Baalu, joined by DMK members, strongly objected to the issue being raised in the House on the ground that it was sub-judice. He said the matter was pending in the Allahabad High Court.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, BJP deputy leader V K Malhotra contended that the issue was not sub judice. It involved destruction of evidence, he said.

The Rs.2427 crore Sethusamudram ship channel project envisages dredging of 167 km channel along the Palk Straits, Palk Bay and Adams Bridge to connect Bay of Bengal and Gulf of Mannar between India and Sri Lanka.

The BJP-Shiv Sena members trooped to the well raising slogans against the minister, forcing Speaker Somnath Chatterjee to adjourn the House for a short while.

At one stage, when Baalu was waving a paper to press home his point, the Speaker sternly told him "Mr.Minister, don't show the papers".

When the House met at 12.30 P M, the Speaker said "this being a contentious matter, you give me the papers because serious reservations seem to be there. I am not rejecting it".

The BJP-Shiv Sena members again moved to the well shouting "Ram Setu bachao" (save Ram Setu). They later relented to allow discussion on the Finance Bill.

In the Rajya Sabha, the Minister said in a written reply that "there is no scientific evidence regarding the existence of any ancient man-made structure in the proposed Sethusamudram Ship Channel alignment".

The Minister's response came on a question from Ram Deo Bhandary and Mangani Lal Mandal (both RJD) on whether the existence of remains of Ram Sethu between India and Sri Lanka have been verified by NASA satellites.

In a supplementary, Gopal Vyas (BJP) asked the Minister whether the government could find alternative alignment for the project as breaching of the Ramsethu would make it difficult to tap vast resources of thorium. Baalu said the alignment proposal had been cleared by the previous NDA government.

रामसेतु के अवशेषों का प्रमाण नहीं: केंद्र - Dainik Jagran

नई दिल्ली। सरकार ने इस बात को गलत बताया है कि नासा के उपग्रह के द्वारा ली गई तस्वीरों से भारत-श्रीलंका के मध्य प्राचीनकाल में निर्मित श्रीराम सेतु के अवशेषों के विद्यमान होने के बारे में सत्यापन हुआ है।
पोत-परिवहन, सड़क-परिवहन और राजमार्ग मंत्री टीआर बालू ने बृहस्पतिवार को एक लिखित जवाब में राज्यसभा को बताया कि सेतुसमुद्रम जहाजी नहर परियोजना की प्रस्तावित मार्ग रेखा में किसी प्राचीन मानव निर्मित ढांचे की मौजूदगी का कोई वैज्ञानिक साक्ष्य नहीं है।
बालू ने बताया कि इस परियोजना से संबंधित कार्य का प्रधानमंत्री द्वारा 02.07.2005 को उद्घाटन किया गया। परियोजना के तहत मुख्य रूप से दो स्थानों पर अर्थात् एडम्स ब्रिज और पाल्क स्ट्रेट में निकर्षण से संबंधित कामकाज किया जाना है। इस बारे में किए गए अनुमान के अनुसार कुल 82.5 मिलियन घनमीटर के क्षेत्र का निकर्षण किया जाना है।
उन्होंने कहा कि सेतुसमुद्रम जहाजी नहर परियोजना की प्रस्तावित मार्ग रेखा में किसी प्राचीन मानव निर्मित ढांचे की मौजूदगी का कोई वैज्ञानिक साक्ष्य नहीं है। इस परियोजना के विरोध में कुछ अभिवेदन मिले हैं। फिर भी उपर्युक्त परियोजना के प्राधिकारियों के पास उपलब्ध वैज्ञानिक जानकारी के अनुसार, उपर्युक्त परियोजना के क्षेत्र में जल के नीचे कोई भी निर्माण नहीं है।

{Summarized Translation: Central Government denies that there is any proof of any man-made Rama Setu on the channel alignment. Baalu answering a question in Rajya Sabha said so.}

May 2, 2007

Jayalalita slams Baalu over Ramar Sethu

AIADMK leader J Jayalalithaa has accused Union Surface Transport Minister T R Baalu of making attempts to destroy proof regarding the existence of Ramar Sethu or Adams Bridge in the Palk Strait. In a statement, Jayalalithaa alleged that Baalu visited the famous Saraswathi Mahal library in Thanjavur on April 30 and intimidated the officials there, while attempting to destroy historic documents about the bridge. Jaya has called upon President A P J Abdul Kalam and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to order stoppage of work of "demolishing the bridge" for the Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project. If the work was not stopped immediately, the AIADMK would move the courts, she warned.

THANJAVUR: In what is considered a significant development in the Ramar Setu controversy, Union Minister for Shipping and Surface Transport TR Baalu visited the historic Saraswathi Mahal Library here on Monday, and scrutinised the records that included books and drawings pertaining to the epic Ramayana.

When asked whether he chanced upon any evidence from the ancient library, Baalu said, "I will make an announcement in the Parliament on May 23. Any announcement now may become an advantage to the opponents." It is said the Minister collected the copies from the Valmiki Ramayana, Maanasa Ramayana, Adhyathma Ramayana, Kamba Ramayana, Thulsidas Ramayana and other sources.

{Our Comment: Blessing in disguise for Baalu! Thanks to the issue, the dravidist anti-Hindu got the opportunity to read glimpses from Ramayana. Otherwise usually dravidists are only known for burning the Ramayana and Gita}

Was there a bridge between Rameswaram and Ilangai? - Dinamalar, May 1, 2007, p.15 (Chennai edition)

Thanjavur, May 1 – T. R. Balu has taken photocopy of documents from the Tanjore Saraswati Mahal library to answer in Parliament on May 23rd as to whether any bridge existed between Rameswaram and Ilangai (Sri Lanka).

T. R. Balu, the Central Minister for Highways and Shipping came yesterday here (Monday April 30) with officials to the Tanjore Saraswati Mahal library around 10.30 in the morning. After going round the library, he started enquiring about the documents to prove the existence of Ramar-bridge. "Was there any Ramar bridge? If no, I want photocopies of those books", he demanded. He sat in the room, where the old and rarte books are kept and started looking through books.

Photocopies of certain pages from Yuddhakandam of Ramayana, old books like "Hanuman and Rama", old maps, certain research papers from the proceedings etc., were taken
mentioning the details of "the name of the book, year of publication, Accession no etc".

He also got explanation from Sivagnanam, theDirector, Perumal, the Manuscript expert and Viraraghavan, the Sanskrit Pundit for certain passages from the books. Many copies were taken freely as "required by the Minster".

The interview of T. R. Balu:

Q:Did you come here because question is raised about the existence of Ramar-bridge based on the documents available here?
A:In Pariliament, a question is raised on this topic on May 23rd. The documentary evidences are collected (for that). As I am giving my explanation there, I cannot comment anything here.

Q:There was a talk that you came here to destroy the documents?
A:Can anybody destroy the thousands of years old documents and books of this library? Those who talk like that are not enemies but anti-nationals. We came here to clear off our doubts.

Q:What have you understood from the NASA photograph? Could you notice the sand deposit / pattern there?
A:For (all questions), answer would be given on May 23rd. About the bridge or non-existence of bridge, if you have any document, kindly send it to me. On scientific basis nothing could be said.

Thus spoke T. R. Balu.

April 29, 2007

A detailed study, with the people’s participation, should be carried out to assess the impact of the proposed Sethusamudram project on the sea off Kerala and the Kerala coasts, a seminar jointly organised by the Centre for Innovation in Science and Social Action (CISSA) and the Botany Department of Kerala University urged the government.

There is a need for scientifically assessing the impact of the project on the marine resources and fisherfolk before going ahead with it, speakers at the seminar said.

Kerala University Vice-Chancellor M K Ramachandran Nair inaugurated the seminar. Organising committee chairman C S P Iyer who presided over the seminar said that the environmental impact on Kerala due to the project is yet to be put under the scanner.

Several factors in the environmental impact study conducted by the National Environmental Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur, were not taken into account, said scientist C P Rajendran in a paper presented on the occasion.

...That is the memory so beautifully adopted by the Geological Survey of India in its logo, which describes India in this line etched at the bottom of its insignia -- Aasetu Himachal, meaning India is spread between the Bridge and the Himalayas. That is the Ram Setu Bridge on the southern tip of our motherland, an identity of the nation, under destruction now.

The issue concerns us all, and should be taken up as Indians, without getting entangled in party lines and political games.

Mr. S Badrinarayanan, former director of the Geological Survey of India, and a member of the National Institute of Ocean Technology says, "Coral reefs are formed only on hard surfaces. But during the study we found that the formation at Adam's Bridge is nothing but boulders of coral reefs. When we drilled for investigation, we found that there was loose sand two to three metres below the reefs. Hard rocks were found several metres below the sand. Such a natural formation is impossible. Unless somebody has transported them and dumped them there, those reefs could not have come there. Some boulders were so light that they could float on water. Apparently, whoever has done it, has identified light (but strong) boulders to make it easy for transportation. Since they are strong, they can withstand a lot of weight. It should be preserved as a national monument," he opined.

He also cautioned that once the channel connected the turbulent Bay of Bengal and the calm Gulf of Mannar, it could spell doom for the southern Tamil Nadu coastline. During the tsunamis, it was Adam’s Bridge and Sri Lanka that saved the southern coastline when Nagapattinam and other northern shores were ravaged. "Such comforts would not be there in future if this man-made barrier is cut open," he added.

The controversial Sethusamudram ship canal project has hit a big physical barrier – and some may venture to comment that it is nature's protest, or even divine intervention.

Twice in the last week of January, dredging work suffered serious setbacks, first when the spud of a cutter suction dredger (CSD) broke, and later, when a tug-crane, brought to retrieve the broken spud, snapped and a part of the crane sank into the sea. The mishap occurred when the sea close to Adam’s Bridge was sought to be dredged.

As soon as the spud of its CSD broke, the Dredging Corporation of India (DCI), a state-owned company, flew in a team from the Dutch manufacturer of the cutter-suction-dredger to repair the damage, but the retrieval of its broken part itself proved to be a difficult proposition. A 150-tonne tug-crane named 'Thangam' was brought in to lift the broken spud from the sea, but the crane's locking key broke in the process.

As irony would have it, an even bigger tug-crane that was brought to retrieve the broken piece of the first crane was named 'Hanuman', Ram's foremost devotee and a monkey warrior himself. But 'Hanuman' could not succeed against Ram's 'divine power', and the broken spud is yet to be retrieved.

By February 26, dredging in only one of the three sections had made some headway. According to figures made public by the Sethusamudram Corporation Ltd., out of the 13.55 million cubic metres of sediment to be dredged in one 13.5 kilometre stretch in the Palk Bay area, 10.81 million cubic metres had been dredged (79.85%) by March 13. However, in the Adam's Bridge area in the Palk Strait, the progress is a mere 1.28%.

The Taj corridor scheme on the banks of river Yamuna was stopped by the Supreme Court on the ground that it would threaten the historic Taj Mahal. Similarly the Delhi Metro Rail route was changed when the older scheme was considered dangerous to the historic Qutub Minar. The same sense of history, culture and preservation must be applied in the case of Ram Sethu.

Saints belonging to various Ashrams and Mutts of Haridwar and Rishikesh have warned the UPA government against the move to demolish the Ram Sethu. They gathered at the Jagannath Dham in Haridwar and warned the Government not to play with the sentiments of Hindus again and again. They unanimously appealed to the Hindus world over to come out for protection of the ancient bridge. Swami Hansdas termed the move of the UPA government as a great insult of crores of Hindus. He said the decision of the UPA government to choose the way of destroying the ancient bridge built by Lord Rama and not opting for the alternatives is a blow on the religious feeling of crores of Hindus. He further warned the government that all the saints of the country would start a nationwide agitation against the anti-Hindu policy of the UPA government in case the government does not alter its decision. The government should understand that the Hindus had been very humble, polite and extremely liberal but they will never tolerate their ancient culture to be destroyed, he added.

Col. S S Rajan takes up padayatra to Rameshwaram. Joined by others, he will be participating in the National Seminar in Chennai organised by Rameswaram Rama SETU PROTECTION MOVEMENT on 12 May, 2007. Prof Nalapat, Prof Tad S Murthy and many other experts are expected to participate in this Seminar. Eminent Geologists, Ocean Scientists, Administrators, Marine Engineers, Environmental Engineers and experts from associated fields would be analyzing thread bare the disastrous environmental, economic, geo physical, cultural and spiritual impact of the Sethu Samudram Canal Project (SSCP)...

In India we have been callous towards our heritage and legacy. Destruction of setubandh has already started. International companies have been engaged. One should not be surprised if Ram setu is totally destroyed...

The problems at the Sethusamudhram Ship Channel Project (SSCP) are far from over. Now, rumours on Saturday said that another dredger got damaged affecting dredging operations at the Adam’s Bridge area. However, senior officials denied them. After the damage of a spud of the Cutter- Sucker-Dredger Aquarius while at work and also the sinking of a part of a giant crane in the sea, fresh rumours also started doing the rounds that a dredger was damaged.

However, highly-placed sources in the Sethusamudram Corporation Limited told this website's newspaper that there were intermittent stoppage of dredging because of bad weather at the Adam’s Bridge area. The dredger was supposed to do the job only from mid-October to mid- May, to avoid the monsoon. “This time, the showers started a little early. So depending on the weather, the work is being carried out now.", the sources clarified. However, the dredger will stop its operations from mid-May to October.

All the four Shankaracharyas in the country will lead an agitation against proposed demolition of Ram Setu by organising a protest meeting in New Delhi on May 13. The meeting will be followed by a march from Bangalore to Rameshwaram on May 18, Shankaracharya Swami Swaroopanand Saraswati of Shardapeeth said yesterday. "The meeting in Delhi has been convened by all of us (all four Shankaracharyas) and is a apolitical one", Swaroopanand told reporters. Neither any political organisation nor the Sangh Parivar was involved in the May 13 protest meeting, he said.

April 21, 2007

140 organizations join the protests - Panchajanya (in Hindi, requires font download)

1. From across Tamil Nadu, 140 organizations join the protests under the umblella of Rameshwaram Ramar Palam Raksha Andolan. The protests held in various district headquarters across the state.
2. Why spend Rs 24.27 Billion to destroy national heritage? Change configuration, no objection to the project - Dr. Subramanyam Swamy.
3. Hindu Manch handed petition with 3.5 million signatures to President of India Dr. Abdul Kalam.
4. Damaging Setu - an offense against nation, culture and civilization, says Sri Parameshwaran, President of Vivekananda Kendra and Director of Bharatiya Vichar Kendram.

April 17, 2007

Protests against shipping canal hot up - IANS Chennai

Scientists, greens and politicians are coming together to spearhead a new wave of protests against the Sethusamudram shipping canal in the south of India, claiming dangers to environment and Hindu religious symbols. Environmentalists like S. Badrinarayanan, a former director of the Geological Survey of India and a teacher at the National Institute of Ocean Technology in Chennai, says the layers of the reef show how the Indian Ocean waters receded and came up during several millennia. 'It was one land mass. Reef geology proves that when the temperatures of the oceans rose at the end of the last ice age (the last glacial), a new generation of polyps and other life forms came to inhabit the reef,' Badrinarayanan told IANS. Dredging and destroying the hard reef would be destroying this 'valuable evidence' of the climate change story, he said.

Former Supreme Court judge and rights activist V.K. Krishna Iyer has shot off a strongly-worded letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asking him to stop the dredging south of Tamil Nadu.

Two days ago, Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy sought to meet Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi to urge him to stop the Sethu project - as it is widely known. Swamy was refused an audience, and he promptly called Karunanidhi 'anti-Hindu'.

Realign SSCP : VHP pleads - NT Bureau Chennai

Spiritual leader Dayananda Saraswathi and VHP leader Ashok Singhal spoke at a press meet in Chennai today. Singhal said the government should order re-evaluation of alternative alignment. Dayananda Saraswathi said this was not a political issue but purely an appeal to re-route the project and canal and save Ram Sethu. 'We are not against the project but suggesting alternative routes which are of short distance and economical. We don't the project to be dropped and this is a prayer to the government to save the Ram Sethu,' he said.

VHP warns of uprising by Hindus - Chennai Online News Service

Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) today warned of an "uprising by Hindus", if the Centre went ahead with the work. "Destruction of the bridge will hurt the sentiments of Hindus", VHP international president Ashok Singhal told a press meet here. Claiming that Hindu acharyas were "restless" over the "threat" to the Ramar Sethu, he described as rubbish Union Shipping Minister T R Baalu's remarks that such a bridge never existed. A rally would be held at New Delhi on May 13 and a meeting of acharyas at Bangalore on May 16 had also been planned, Singhal said.

April 16, 2007

Union Shipping and Road Transport Minister T R Baalu said the hypothesis lacked scientific proof and ruled out the possibility of changing the present alignment for the Sethu Samudram Shipping Channel Project. He told newspersons that studies carried out so far had not revealed the existence of a man made structure in the area. According to him not even a single piece of evidence was available to prove the existence of a man-made structure at Adam's Bridge. He also blamed that the present alignment was cleared when the BJP-led NDA was in power. He said it was the then Shipping Minister V P Goel who had accepted the 2002 report prepared by NEERI. About the NASA's satellite images, the minister said the US Space Agency had not responded to the letters pertaining to the matter. Similar report carried out by Zee News.

{Our comments: True to the character of this government, the hon'ble Minister is speaking a pack of lies. (To be fair to the government of liars, it did try to remove the 'Satyameva Jayate' -'Truth Alone is Victorious' - from the National Emblem.)

Anyways, quoting from the Government's official website of the project itself: "The National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) Nagpur was appointed in July 1997, to prepare the Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) of the Project. The report recommended a particular alignment of the canal cutting the Pamban Island, east of Kothandaramasamy temple, which will cause least damage to the biota and the environment. In February, 2002, NEERI was entrusted to conduct the following studies: Techno-economic viability, and Environmental Impact Assessment. [insertion: NEERI submitted its report in the year 2004] Tuticorin Port Trust later engaged M/s. L & T-Ramboll Consulting Engineers, Chennai in 2004 for preparation of a Detailed Project Report"

So, in the year 2002 during NDA's rule, to which the lying minister is referring, the channel configuration was THROUGH THE PAMBAN ISLAND, and was NOT DAMAGING THE RAMAR SETU. It is only in the 2004 when the Hindu-hater UPA government came to power that the configuration had been altered to damage the Setu.

April 15, 2007

Justice KT Thomas: It is my definite opinion that Ram Setu must not be broken (in Hindi, requires font download)

Justice K.T.Thomas, former judge of Supreme Court of Bharat, said in an interview, " projects like this (Sethu Samudram Shipping Canal Project), decisions are to be based not only on a study of geological implications; the religious sentiments of the people are also to be taken into account. The religious sentiments of the people of Bharat must be honoured and there exists a tradition in this land, of honouring religious sentiments.. So, it is my definite opinion that Ram Setu must not be broken". President of India Dr Abdul Kalam decorated him with `Padma Bhushan' award at grand function at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi, on April 5, 2007 for his impeccable judicial career and for the service he rendered to the cause of justice. Justice Thomas is well known for his rectitude. After his retirement, Thomas had headed as many as four judicial commissions, that too on sensitive issues. But he completed the task within the stipulated time in all the four instances. Never did he ask for extension of the tenure of his commissions. Also, never did he take a paisa as remuneration or batta for his work in any of these four commissions. His logic: `The pension I get after my retirement from the Supreme Court is from government treasury. How can I take money from the government a second time for doing a government job?' He can afford to be candid on vital issues, thanks to his spotless career.

Justice Krishna Iyer: Sethu project is anti-India - NT Bureau, Chennai

Adding momentum to the ever-increasing protest against the destruction of Ramar Palam in view of the proposed Sethusamudram shipping project, former Supreme Court Judge R Krishna Iyer, a respected name in opinion-making circles, today, in a strongly-worded letter, sought the intervention of Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in the matter. Krishna Iyer, a liberal social thinker, has opined that the Sethusamudram project would be detrimental to India's territorial interests. 'Our nation will be weaker and may suffer new dangers with American presence in the Sethusamudram waters by doing what for centuries has never been considered necessary or feasible or in any manner advantageous to us, the people of India,' he said in his letter to the Prime Minister.

March 26, 2007

Sethusamudram hits Dutch funding snag? -

Reports reaching Colombo yesterday suggested India's Sethusamudram Shipping Channel Project has hit a funding snag in the Netherlands'a leading ecologist claiming that a Dutch agency has decided not to approve an application for export credit insurance submitted by the Tuticorin Port Trust. Dr Ranil Senanayake, chairman of Rainforest Rescue International, said the Dutch Export Credit Agency (DECA) Atradius-DSB had been poised to finalise its agreement with TPT earlier this year but has since suspended the deal.

March 12, 2007

U.S. court backs Indian tribe on sacred mountain - REUTERS

A somewhat similar issue in the USA. An Arizona ski resort's plan to use treated sewage to make snow on a mountain sacred to several Native American tribes violates religious freedom laws, a U.S federal appeals court ruled Monday. “We hold that the Forest Service's approval of the proposed expansion of the Snowbowl, including the use of treated sewage effluent to make artificial snow, violates RFRA,” a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote.

hits since Chaitra 7, 2064 Vikram (March 26, 2007)