Friday, April 11, 2008

Swamy: Scrap project if cannot proceed without damaging the Ramar Sethu

New Delhi, Apr 10, 2008, The Hindu:
Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy on Wednesday urged the Supreme Court to direct the Centre to scrap the Sethusamudram Shipping Channel Project altogether if the government could not proceed with it without destroying Ramar Sethu (Adam’s Bridge).

In his counter to the Centre’s response seeking to vacate the interim stay on dredging across Ramar Sethu, Dr. Swamy maintained that the Centre should declare it an ancient monument of national importance.

Even if Ramar Sethu was not “man-made” and was a natural formation, as contended by the Centre, “it is not of consequence for the Sethu to be declared an ancient monument. The demolition or damaging of Ramar Sethu will have cataclysmic and profound consequences for the secular and public order of Indian society.”

Dr. Swamy said: “It is established and admitted by the respondents that a structure, that is natural or constructed and widely known for very long as Ramar Sethu, does exist but that its origins and nature have admittedly not been investigated yet, despite overwhelming prima facie evidence that Ramar Sethu is a constructed causeway that fits the description in Valmiki’s Ramayana.”

Referring to the report of the Committee of Eminent Persons, Dr. Swamy said it “contains inferences that are not supported by data or studies. Further, it is inexplicable that none of the members of the committee was nominated from the fields of economics, national security, marine archaeology, geology or international law of the seas.”

Dr. Swamy said: “Religious sensibilities and feelings of nearly a billion persons of Hindu faith and those of other religious persuasions, who respect the sanctity of faith, cannot be disregarded in a narrow pursuit of the project claiming to advance economic development on economic calculations.”

The Centre’s decision to select Alignment No. 6 to implement the project was arbitrary, unreasonable and illegal, he said and prayed for maintaining the interim stay order passed by the court.

The case comes up for further hearing on April 15.

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