Centre rejects TN opposition
The Centre has reiterated before the Supreme Court its resolve to go ahead with the controversial Sethusamudram project despite opposition from various quarters.
In an affidavit filed before the Supreme Court, the Centre has criticised the Prime Minister-appointed R.K. Pachauri committee report on the project. In the affidavit, the shipping ministry has also claimed that the objections raised by Tamil Nadu on the proposal were not well-founded.
“Even though the data did not support blocking the project from progressing, and the evidence showed the benefits from the project, the (Pachauri) committee arbitrarily and contrary to the findings of its own studies concluded that the project is not viable. Clearly, the recommendations of the committee is not tenable and is not supported by scientific data and environmental studies commissioned by the expert committee itself,” the Centre said in its 16-page submission.
The government dismissed the demand by Tamil Nadu government to declare the Adam’s Bridge as national monument. The affidavit asserted that the Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project (SSCP) has strategic, navigational and socio-economic benefits.
“The committee of eminent persons constituted in 2007 has exhaustively studied the case for and against the project and has noted that no archaeological study has been undertaken in the Ram Sethu/Adam’s Bridge area by the Archaeological Survey of India,” the top court said.
Regarding the state government’s affidavit submitted in April stating that a potential marine diversity hotspot could be affected by the project, the Centre said that the stand was not supported by the expert committee summary report. The government also claimed that the belief that the project would pose potential danger to livelihood of fishermen was wrong.
“The fish catch study carried out during the dredging and dumping operation reveals that there is increase in productivity,” the top court said.