The vexed Sethusamudram project - which proposes to provide a navigable shipping channel across the Palk Straits between India and Sri Lanka - could see the light of day with the Centre set to clear an alternative route that avoids dredging through the Ram Setu.
Sources told HT that the Union cabinet will very shortly give its nod to the proposed new alignment, which will not damage the Ram Setu structure. The project, which would considerably reduce the time and distance travelled by ships between India’s west and East coast had led to acrimonious exchanges between the Congress and the BJP during the UPA-I regime over the proposal to dredge through the Ram Setu - a bridge believed to have been built by Lord Ram - considered a cultural and religious heritage. Environmentalists had also opposed the project on the ground that destruction of the bridge would lead to loss of a rich Thorium reserve in that area. The Supreme Court had in 2010 stayed further work on the project. “Once the cabinet clears the alternate route, an affidavit will be filed in the Supreme Court,” said a source.