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Will Protect Ram Sethu in 'Interest of the Nation', Won't Remove it, Centre Tells Supreme Court

Also known as Adam’s Bridge, Ram Sethu is a stretch of limestone shoals running from Pamban Island near Rameswaram in South India to the Mannar Island near the northern coast of Sri Lanka.

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Updated:March 16, 2018, 12:07 PM IST
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Will Protect Ram Sethu in 'Interest of the Nation', Won't Remove it, Centre Tells Supreme Court
A file photo of the Supreme Court. (PTI)

New Delhi: The Centre on Friday told the Supreme Court that in the "interest of the nation" it will not damage the fabled Ram Sethu for its Sethusamudram ship channel project.

The Union Ministry of Shipping, in its affidavit, told a bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra that the PIL filed by BJP leader Subramanian Swamy against the Sethusamudram project can now be disposed off by taking note of its stand.

"That the government of India intends to explore an alternative to the earlier alignment of Sethusamudram Ship Channel project without affecting/damaging the Adam's Bridge/Ram Sethu in the interest of the nation," the affidavit filed by the ministry said.

Also known as Adam’s Bridge, Ram Sethu is a stretch of limestone shoals running from Pamban Island near Rameswaram in South India to the Mannar Island near the northern coast of Sri Lanka.

While there are geological theories on its natural formation, many devout Hindus believe that it was built by the army of Lord Ram to go to Lanka to wage war with its king, Ravan.

A project titled Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project was mooted by the Government of India and a feasibility study ordered in the 1990s.

In 1997, the Government decided to go ahead with the project but only finalised it in 2005. It calculated that successful completion of the project would cut travelling by about 350 nautical miles and will save 10 to 30 hours' sailing time. Plans were also drawn up to develop 13 minor ports in India, and fishing harbours and other infrastructure in both India and Sri Lanka.

It was BJP leader Subramanian Swamy who moved top court challenging the project on the basis of religious belief and sought a national heritage status for it.

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| Edited by: Puja Menon
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