S Ranjan, Manuj Features in The Central Chronicle:
Sethu: Meet to decide plan of action - Chennai Online
Way back in 2001, the world's tallest Buddha statue in Afghnaistan widely known as Bamiyan Buddha fell to the barbarism of the Talibans. The appeal of the world community fell to the deaf years of the Talibans who used cannons to destroy the most beautiful Buddha statue in the world. It was the worst heritage crime ever committed by a group of people. If Indians in a hurry destroy Ram Setu they will also be blamed by future generations for committing another heritage crime in their own country. Ram Setu, which could bridge history and mythology should be preserved to trace human civilization some 1,76,000 years behind. According to the NASA's findings as posted through internet, the Ram Setu was man made. George M Low, then Deputy Director, Manned Spacecraft Centre, NASA took the photograph of India, Sri Lanka from an altitude of 410 miles and noted Adam's Bridge between India and Ceylon was clearly visible. The picture taken from space shuttle Endeavour shows the bridge is a stepping stone to coral islets. Now, it is the duty of the scholars of Indian mythologies, historians and scientists to take the clue from NASA and prove whether the bridge was made by men some 1,76,000 years back. According to mythologies the construction of Ram Setu was done exactly 1,76,000 years back.
One can recall the incident of Korean delegates who came to Ayodhya in search of their history. Korean researchers took the clue from their ancient history book Sam Kuk Yusa and painstakingly did long years of research to prove queen Huh the wife of legendary King Suro belonged to Ayodhya. In 1997, Prof BM Kim a descendant of King Suro visited Ayodhya to confirm the marriage of Queen Huh with King Sura 2000 years back. In 2001 Korean delegates built a monument in Ayodhya with plaque inscribing how the princess of Ayodhya married King Suro. The whole of Korea celebrated after finding their 2000 year old history. Indian historians must emulate Korean example of doing painstaking research with the help of latest scientific method and computer technology.
If we say preserving the bridge will halt economic growth, we are messing up our own economy. Over the years we have destroyed our natural sectors in the aggressive pursuit of errand industry sector only. What we have gained is huge revenues, which recycles into a few families' coffers and pushed millions of people below poverty line. If we measure poverty on the basis of 2200 to 2400 calories intake as the base, the number of people below poverty line will cross 300 millions. At present cost, a five-member family earning Rs 10,000 per month cannot afford to have 2400 calories intake each. For an inclusive growth; the Industry and natural sectors must grow simultaneously.
The economic benefits of the Setu Samudram Project as shown will save 30 navigation hours, 424 nautical miles and ultimately cut cost in transportation of goods. If we take into account the environment cost, loss of thorium deposits and loss of jobs in natural sectors it would be a far greater loss. The mission; Shuttle Rada Topography Mission in its observation pointed out these low coastal elevations extend 5 to 10 km in land coastal region are especially vulnerable to flooding associated with storm surges, rising sea level or Tsunami like activity. These so called tidal waves have occurred numerous times in history and can be disastrous.
It is ridiculous to think of dredging a swallow sea when the highways in India have not so far linked vast parts of India. India's poverty is mainly due to lack of smooth inland transportation as goods reach the neighbouring states with much difficulties. If roads are there, the road tax, municipal tax, octroi and many other troubles in checkpoints make transportation of goods a horrible job. When the farm produce reaches the mandis it goes through several layers of middlemen and ultimately the farmers receive one tenth of the price of their produce. The APMCs which were created to give market support to farmers have become the chief exploiters in spite of several APMC reform Acts. It is not understood why India is looking for expensive marine projects when domestic interstate transport is in a bad shape. How far the canals will be economically viable vis-à-vis the huge investment of Rs 2,427 crores is not understood.
Environmentalists also point out the project will endanger the lives of millions of people living in the coastal Tamil Nadu and Kerala as the swallow sea prevents the impact of Tsunami type natural calamities. Many Tsunami experts pointed out without the swallow sea here that Tsunami would have damaged a large part of the coastal states. You cannot face the consequences of destroying part of the Himalayas for mindless projects and revenue. How far the Setu Samudram project will provide employment to millions of unskilled workers in a high tech world is not understood. Over the years Tamil Nadu has witnessed one of the largest migration in the country as more than 40% people in the Asia's largest slum Dharavi in Mumbai are from Tamil Nadu. The state's rural economy is torn apart due to lack of understanding of its natural sectors and regional disparity perpetuated by caste virus affected politicians. Once there were 3000 water bodies in and around Chennai, which met the water requirement of the people. Unregulated real estate and industrial growth destroyed the water bodies in Chennai and the state government spends huge sums to build desalination plant for drinking water.
Pilgrim sector is one of the potential natural sectors. The Ram Setu will undoubtedly boost the pilgrim sector as more than 15 crore Indians visit religious places every year. If further scientific evidence is found about the Ram Setu's origin, it would generate world wide interest among tourists since Ramayana is being recited in most of the Asian nations. NASA can help in a big way if they are concerned to trace the civilization 1,76,000 years away from now. People world over cash in on religious beliefs and attract huge tourists by preserving those places. It is not understood why India is shying away from these beliefs. The World Monument Fund, a US based International preservation body creates awareness for the preservation of Ram Setu. It says introduction of glass boats to see the beautiful rock formation in Ram Setu region will generate interest among tourists also. Ram Setu issue should be free from politics. This is a challenge before the Indian and Sri Lankan scientist and historian community to unravel the truth behind it.
Sethu: Meet to decide plan of action - Chennai Online
Coimbatore, July 1: To decide the future plan of action, Rameswaram Ram sethu Protection Movement is organising a people's conference in Madurai on July 22.
Besides the office-bearers of the movement, senior BJP leader L K Advani, heads of various mutts and saints would participate in the conference, working president of the Movement Rama Gopalan told reporters here today.
Remaining firm on protecting the Sethu, both for its sentimental and monumental value, at any cost, the Movement had already submitted a memorandum signed by 36 lakh people to President A P J Abdul Kalam, citing the need to protect and preserve the Ram Sethu, known as Adam's Bridge, he said.
Despite scientific evidences on the existence of the bridge, why the Central government was not willing to heed to the request of the majority community, when it wanted to realise each and every problem of minority community, he asked.
Let there be a debate involving the public, senior officials of ASI, GSI and also environmental experts, as the route would become international waters and pave way for destruction of Kerala and Tamil Nadu costal areas, if another tsunami hit the area, Dr K Kulandaivel, president of the Movement, said. (Agencies)