New Delhi: The central government is ready to shut down the Sethusamudram Corporation Limited which was formed under the UPA government for the Sethusamudram project. According to sources at ABP News, the firm may make the decision to close the business today. The Sethusamudram project has been the subject of controversy ever since the then government decided to go ahead. The BJP and various Hindu organizations opposed the project as it involved demolishing ‘Ram Setu’, which is of historical significance according to Hindu mythology.
According to a report by ANI, the project was initiated to create a sea route in the shallow strait between India and Sri Lanka, which would provide a continuously navigable sea route around the Indian peninsula. The channel would be dredged in the Sethusamudram Sea between Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka, passing through the limestone shoals of Rama’s Bridge, also known as Ram Setu, Ramar Palam and Adam’s Bridge.
What is the Sethusamudram project?
The Sethusamudram project aims to build a shorter shipping route around the southern tip of India by crossing the Ram Sethu, which is believed to have been built by Lord Rama’s army of monkeys and bears to the Kingdom of Ravana, Lanka.
According to the Sethusamudram project, the navigation channel should be 30 meters wide, 12 meters deep and 167 km long.
The court on August 31, 2007 had stopped the Center from damaging Ram Sethu while dredging for the Rs. 25,000 crore project inaugurated in 2005.
Groups led by Vishwa Hindu Parishad had opposed the project on the grounds that it would destroy a ridge of rock and sand created by the divine hand, as recounted by the Ramayana.
According to a report by LIVE Mint, the final Supreme Court hearing on the matter was scheduled for April 6, 2018. However, the hearing has been suspended indefinitely.
The controversy behind Ram Setu
According to a PTI report, to complete the Sethusamudram project, Ram Setu had to be demolished. This sparked a major political controversy in the country under the then UPA government. According to mythological belief, Ram Setu is a bridge between India and Sri Lanka which was built by Lord Rama and his army to save Sita and defeat Ravana and his kingdom Lanka. This led to a huge dispute and the case reached the Supreme Court. After hearing the case, the Supreme Court banned the project and asked the government to find another route for the project. Since then, work on this project has been completely halted.
However, the greatest political controversy over this project began when the Congress-led UPA government submitted an affidavit to the Supreme Court that Ram Setu was an “imaginary” and therefore there was no problem with the project. This hurt the feelings of the people, after which the government backtracked by giving a new affidavit listing the reasons why the project was important. However, the work was stopped after the direction of the SC, but since then the BJP demanded to declare Ram Setu as a monument of national significance and the case is currently pending in court.