The matter of declaring Ram Sethu as a national heritage has been deferred by the Supreme Court for the time being as the Central Government has not filed its reply on it.
The Supreme Court will hear the petition seeking to declare Ram Sethu as a national heritage in the second week of February. This petition was filed by Subramanian Swamy. On which the Central Government said that it would file its reply on this in the first week of February. While a bench of Chief Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice PS Narasimha said that it is not possible to hear the matter immediately.
Subramanian Swamy, in his petition, has sought an order to the Central Government and the National Monuments Authority to declare Ram Sethu as a national monument. Subramanian Swamy says that the present central government has already accepted the existence of Ram Sethu and a meeting was also called in 2017 to examine their demand, but even after that things did not move forward.
Why did this matter reach the Supreme Court?
The Sethusamudram project was started on 2 July 2005 at an estimated cost of Rs 2,500 crore. The Sethusamudram project was given the green signal by the UPA government under the leadership of Manmohan Singh. Under this project, the sea route between India and Sri Lanka i.e. Ramsetu was to clear the way for ships by deepening the shallow sea there. Under this, that structure was also to be demolished, which is called Ramsetu. Then many organizations had opposed it regarding this. After this, Subramanian Swamy reached the Supreme Court against this and then the government talked about taking support of another waterway for this project. At the same time, in the year 2018, he mentioned the petition in the Supreme Court to declare Ramsetu as a national heritage.
However, the central government has already clarified its stand on the Ram Sethu issue. The government had told the Supreme Court that no damage would be done to Ram Sethu for the proposed Sethusamudram project to ease the movement of ships in the sea. The government is looking for some other alternative route for the project. Because Swami has clearly stated in his petition that Ramsetu is a matter related to the faith of lakhs of Hindus. It should not be broken and Ramsetu should be declared a national heritage.
Resolution on Sethusamudram in Tamil Nadu Assembly
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Thursday (January 12) passed a resolution in the assembly regarding the Sethusamudram project. He said that more than 50 thousand people will get employment from the Sethusamudram project. This is the dream project of Kalaignar (Karunanidhi). He said that the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had allocated funds to develop this waterway but the Sethusamudram project was opposed by the BJP due to political reasons. At the same time, former CM Jayalalithaa was also in favor of the Sethusamudram project, but suddenly she too changed her mind. Stalin further said that the BJP government has planned only one waterway of the Sethusamudram project. To which BJP MLA Nayanar Nagendran said that if work on the project can be done without damaging Ram Sethu, we will support it.
What is Sethusamudram after all?
To go from the east coast of India to the west coast, a ship has to go round and round Sri Lanka because the sea between India and Sri Lanka is very shallow. Ships have to travel an additional distance of about 424 nautical miles i.e. about 780 kilometers in this journey. It takes 30 hours more, but if work is done on the Sethusamudram project, two channels of about 89 km length will be built. In a way, it will be like a wide canal, in which big ships of the country and the world will be able to pass. Out of the two channels that are being talked about, one channel will be built on the way called ‘Ramsetu’. While the second channel will be built by deepening the Palk Strait on the way to the south-eastern Pamban Island.
Is Ramsetu made of limestone?
According to several reports, there is a chain of limestone between Rameshwaram Island (Pamban Island) off the south-east coast of Tamil Nadu and Mannar Island on the north-west coast of Sri Lanka, which is also called Ramsetu. Now some people also call this as Adam’s Bridge. The length of this bridge is about 30 miles (48 km). The sea is very shallow in this area. Due to which there is a lot of difficulty in running big boats and ships here.
‘Science Channel’ had claimed
In the year 2017, ‘Science Channel’ of Discovery Communications also did research on this topic. Is it man made or not? Science Channel had made an episode on ancient Ram Sethu in a show called ‘What on Earth’. It was told in his promo video that these rocks are on a sandbar. These investigators claim that the sandbar is natural, but the rocks found above that sandbar are not. According to geologist Dr. Alan Lester, there are stones that have been brought from afar and sand bars have been installed on top of the island chain. According to this video report from this channel, Chelsea Rose, an archaeologist, says that the rocks above the sand actually predate the sand. It was claimed that scientific investigation shows that the rocks are 7,000 years old, but the sand is only 4,000 years old.
When the government gave different statements
In 2007, then Union Minister of State Kapil Sibal had argued that there was no scientific evidence that Ramsetu was man-made. However, he also said that people’s faith should be respected.
At the time of UPA-1, the Manmohan government also gave an affidavit in the Supreme Court on the basis of the report of the Archaeological Survey of India that this bridge is only a natural structure and there is no evidence of its man-made.
Whereas in December 2022, in response to a question, Union Minister Jitendra Singh said that this is about 18000 years old history. So we have some limitations. The bridge (setu) we are talking about was 56 kilometers long. Through space technology, we found out that some pieces of stones have been found in the sea, some of them have such a shape that shows continuity. Some islands and limestone-like things have also been found in the sea. To put it plainly, it is difficult to say that the real form of Ramsetu is present there. However, there are some signs that suggest that a structure may be present there.
Ram Setu: The issue of Ram Setu again heated up, the government said in the Rajya Sabha- ‘There is no concrete proof of its existence yet’
Was the project thought of in 1860?
According to a BBC report, this is not a new project. This project passing between India and Sri Lanka was proposed in 1860 by Eddie Taylor, a British commander working in India. However, there is no mention of why it did not work then. Inspired by this, the UPA government had thought about it. This channel will be 12 meters deep and 300 meters wide. There was a plan to make a way for both entry and exit.
Union Minister Jitendra Singh raised questions on Ramsetu in Rajya Sabha. OneIndia Hindi |*Politics
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Story first published: Friday, January 13, 2023, 19:10 [IST]