With the court case on the Sethusamudram project being listed to be taken up in court in India today, the government of Sri Lanka raised its concerns on it both in terms of adverse environmental impacts and the possible damage on Ram Sethu, a sacred symbol which united India and Sri Lanka in the context of culture and legend.
The Ram Sethu case has been listed for hearing today in the Indian Supreme Court.
The government of India approved the 167 kilometre long canal project in the Palk Strait in May, 2005. It aimed at shortening the sea route between India’s eastern and western coasts. However, the dredging work was suspended due to opposition by some Hindu groups which argued that it would damage the mythical Ram Sethu or Adam's Bridge, built during the epic Ramayana era.
Some Indian analysts also argue that the project cannot be undertaken without the concurrence of the government of Sri Lanka in accordance with the United Nations Law of the Sea.
According to sources close to Dr. Subramanian Swamy, former President of the Janatha Party and member of BJP, the project cannot be undertaken without the concurrence of the Government of Sri Lanka as per the UN Law of the Sea.
The Sri Lankan government has already shared with the government of India, a comprehensive report on the environmental impact of the proposed Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project. The report was prepared by Sri Lankan experts and high officials.
Asked about the latest development, a government spokesman said, “Apart from the adverse environmental impact of the project, the Government of Sri Lanka is also concerned about the damage it would cause to the Ram Sethu which is sacred to many in South Asia. Moreover, the Ram Sethu is seen as a symbol which unites Sri Lanka and India in the context of culture and legend. (Kelum Bandara)