Reuters: Chennai: Leader of regional party, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Muthuvel Karunanidhi threatened the Chief of southern Indian Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa Jayaram, with a state-wide protest rally on Monday (June 17) in mythological bridge row, billed as the country’s Suez Canal to create a channel between the mainland and neighbouring Sri Lanka.
Often referred to as India’s Suez Canal, the $560-million Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project is expected to reduce ship journeys between India’s western and eastern coasts by up to 36 hours by creating a channel between the Indian mainland and Sri Lanka and also is seen as a major trigger for development of ports in the region.
Currently, Ships have to endure a long detour around Sri Lanka.
Earlier in April, Tamil Nadu, in its affidavit, had pointed to India’s apex court the futility of the project after it was concluded from a committee report that it was unlikely that public interest would be served if the project was implemented.
Muthuvel Karunanidhi, leader of India’s regional party, Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), addressed a press conference on Monday in southern Chennai city and threatened the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) party with a state-wide agitation if the affidavit was not withdrawn immediately.
“The affidavit filed by the ruling AIADMK (All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, India’s regional party based in southern Tamil Nadu state) in Supreme court, where it said that Sethusamudram project should not be undertaken, must be taken back without any further delay and the project should start immediately. We would impress the same, upon the union government and undertake a state wide rally on July 8th,” said Karunanidhi.
The case relating to the Sethusamudram or Ram Sethu came under judicial inspection due to the several petitions, which were filed in the Supreme Court against the Sethusamudram project, whose implementation could damage the mythological bridge.
Work on the project, started in 2005 but was suspended after the order of the court.
Hindu religious texts recount the life of Lord Ram, a Hindu god said to have commanded his army of monkeys to build a bridge to Sri Lanka thousands of years ago so he could rescue his kidnapped wife, Sita.As proof of that bridge, many Hindus point to a ridge of rock and sand in a shallow stretch of sea between southern India and Sri Lanka. The Indian government says it was moulded by the ocean tides. The shipping channel, a 100-km long, 300-metre wide watery groove, will have to be dredged through that ridge. Meanwhile Karunanidhi told media persons that he was confident of his daughter and leader of DMK, Kanimozhi Karunanidhi’s win in the elections for a seat in India’s upper house of Parliament, Rajya Sabha.
“Q. What are the poll prospects of DMK?
A. We are confident of our victory, and it is only after that, we have decided to contest,” said Muthuvel Karunanidhi.
Kanimozhi, had filed her nomination for the June 27 election recently, and has been eyeing the sixth seat for upper house of the India Parliament from the southern state. But she faces a tough competition from the India’s Communist party, CPI, which has decided to nominate D. Raja for the seat.