The Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project envisages the cutting of a ship canal across Rameswaram Island near Kothandaramaswamy temple to connect the Gulf of Manner in the Palk Bay so that the ships moving between the eastern and western coasts of India need not go around Sri Lanka and could have a continuous navigable sea route around the peninsula within its own territorial waters. This will save about 400 nautical miles of sailing for ships between the east and west coasts.
This project will establish a link to the national waterway similar to the national highway. Consequent on the reduction in voyage distance, each vessel passing through the canal will effect a fuel saving of about 20 tonnes per transit, i.e. Rs 70,000 or Rs 21 crore in a year for all the vessels. Presently India is importing large quantities of crude and savings in fuel mean conservancy of foreign exchange to the extent of rupees seven crore corresponding to the Indian vessel alone.
The Sethusamudram canal will give better sheltered sea route from Tuticorin to various ports on the east coast with a saving in distance of around 400 nautical miles. There will be a saving in voyage time of about 16 hours. With the given shipping fleet, it would be possible to make more number of trips and thereby increasing the capacity of the fleet.
In this context, a significant historical factor has to be taken into consideration. The Vedas, Hindu scriptures and historical evidences available in temples clearly depict a fact that the happenings of the Ramayana are factual and not fictitious.
A few months back, NASA had released satellite images, which confirm that a bridge existed in the Palk Straits between Dhanuskoti and Sri Lanka. NASA experts are of the firm belief that the bridge made of a chain of shoals was 30 km long.
The historical bridge was built by vanara architect Nala and is believed to be the most ancient, longest and widest bridge in the world. This bridge, once used by Sri Rama, Lakshmana, Hanuman, Sugriva and the vanara sena, has become a point of pride and worship for crores of the people living in Hindusthan and even abroad.
Ignoring the significance and sanctity of the bridge, the Central Government has launched this Sethusamudram Canal Project. Therefore, bearing in mind the cultural significance of the bridge and religious sensibilities of the public, an earnest appeal has been made to the President of India to direct the authorities concerned to make alternative arrangements. The project can be executed without causing damage to the existing train route between Rameswaram and Dhanuskoti by utilising the deserted and uncultivable land stretching 15 kilometers east west between Rameswaram and Dhanuskoti.
Therefore, on Ramnavami day, it is proposed to get as many signatures from public as possible to be presented to respected President.
(For further information please visit www.urelu.com/ramanbridge.html)
(The writer is leader, Hindu Munnani, Tamil Nadu.)