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    Annexures Annexures Presentation Transcript

    • Annex 1 Minister of Science and Technology’s offer of samples for independent tests New Delhi, Jun 2: Centre today made an open offer to provide rock and soil samples from the Adam's Bridge region of the controversial Sethusamdram project for carrying out scientific tests. quot;There is an open offer. We will provide samples collected from the area to persons wanting to carry out tests independently,quot; Minister of Earth Sciences Kapil Sibal told reporters. Sibal said the present alignment of the Sethusamudram project has been arrived at after detailed scientific and environmental tests. quot;The present alignment is the best we can have,quot; he said. Sibal said utmost care has been taken to in the planning and execution of the project to ensure the least impact on the coasts of India and Sri Lanka. quot;The Sethusamudram Ship Channel is located at a distance of more than 20 Km from Shingle Island of Gulf of Mannar near Dhanuskodi,quot; N K Raghupathy, Chairman and Managing Director of Sethusamudram Corporation Limited said making a presentation on the project here. The total length of the channel is 167 km, 12m deep and 300 meters wide at the bottom. Raghupathy, who also heads the Tuticorin Port Trust, said the project managers will not use blasting technology for dredging activity along the entire length of the project. He said there will be a restriction on the size of ships passing through the channel. (Agencies) http://www.chennaionline.com/colnews/newsitem.asp?NEWSID=%7B538DFCAA- C6BB-4C4E-B52B-4D7274791201%7D&CATEGORYNAME=TAMNA Sethusamudram project is based on scientific studies: Sibal From our ANI Correspondent New Delhi, June 2: Union Science and Technology Minister Kapil Sibal said here today that the Sethusamundram Ship Canal Project (SSCP) across Palk Bay got its final nod only after careful scientific studies. The project was cleared only after taking into consideration the facts received from the bio-diversity and the fragile eco-system of the area falling between Palk Bay and the Palk Strait, Sibal told reporters here. He added that the Indo-Lankan Maritime interests between Point Calliner and Jaffna were taken into account before giving the final nod for the project. 1
    • The Centre has no intention of hurting the sentiments of any community, Sibal said. On May 16, the Lok Sabha was adjourned after Bharatiya Janata Party MPs raised a furore over the construction of the project. BJP MPs and the Vishva Hindu Parishad are demanding that project must be scrapped, as it would destroy the mythological bridge built by Lord Rama of Ayodhya. The Sethusamundram proposes the linking of the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar between India and Sri Lanka by creating a shipping canal through the shallow sea. This would provide a continuous navigable sea route around the Indian Peninsula. The project involves digging a 44.9 nautical mile (83 km) long deepwater channel linking the shallow water of the Palk Strait with the Gulf of Mannar. Conceived as early as 1860 by Alfred Dundas Taylor, it recently received approval of the Government of India. http://www.dailyindia.com/show/146256.php/Sethusamudram-project-is-based-on- scientific-studies:-Sibal 2
    • Annex 2. Submissions made since 2005 3
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    • Annex 3. Impact of Tsunami on Setusamudram Shipping Channel and the neighboring coastal areas Interview with Professor Tad S. Murty Prof. Tad S. Murty is one of the most respected Tsunami Experts around the world; he advises the Government of Canada on Tsunamis and had played an important role in the development of the 'Baird' simulation model of the December 26th Tsunami. He was in the Editorial Board of the most prestigeous Tsunami Journal quot;Science of Tsunami Hazardsquot; for many years. He along with Dr.Arun Bapat, had analysed the Tsunamis of the Indian Ocean in 1999.* He was in India this January to participate in the 'Brainstorming' Session on the Tsunami of 26 th December organized jointly by Department of Science & Technology (DST), Department of Ocean Development (DOD), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Indian National Science Academy (INSA) on 21- 22 January, 2005 at New Delhi. Subsequently, when National Institute of Oceanography, Goa organised a National Workshop on Formulation of Science Plan for “Coastal Hazard Preparedness” on 18 - 19 February 2005, he set the tone for the workshop with his paper titled quot;Perspectives on Coastal Hazard Preparednessquot;. The following is an e-mail interview conducted with him by the Editor of this web portal on 7- 11 July 2005. The interview assumes its importance following the July 24, 2005 Nicobar 7.3 R Earthquake that had caused much panic. It also assumes its importance as the Expert Level discussion between India and Sri Lanka on the possible impact of the Sethusamudram Shipping Channel Project on the marine and coastal environments of both the countries is scheduled on 1 August 2005 at New Delhi. 9
    • * [quot; TSUNAMIS ON THE COASTLINES OF INDIAquot; Science of Tsunami Hazards Volume 17(3), 1999] Question: Respected Professor! Would you please tell me what you personally think about the reply given to the Prime Minister by Tuticorin Port Trust with regard to your critical opinion about the present alignment of the Sethusamudram Shipping Channel published in the Indian Express dated 18 January 2005? Prof. Tad S.Murty: I would first of all share with you a bit of background on my slight involvement with Sethusamudram Shipping Channel Project. In January 2005, I was in India as the tsunami expert on the delegation of Prime minister Paul Martin (Canada) visit to various Asian countries following the tsunami. On 18th January I was with the prime minister at a press briefing in Delhi. Later some Indian express and Telegraph reporters spoke to me about SSCP and I made these comments. Earlier I was working on a paper on SSCP and was interested in the scientific aspects of the project. In May Tuticorin Port Trust (TPT) sent me a fax dated early February asking for my comments and said that the project is finalized by end of Feb and they wanted my comments within 24 hours. I replied to Mr. Raghunadh(IAS officer) ( read: Mr.Ragupathy - Editor ) that I received his fax only in May and possibly I cannot reply by mid-Feb. I sent a page explaining why the eastern entrance of the channel should be re-oriented. After a few days I received a reply saying that his experts outright dismissed my idea as ridiculous and has absolutely no merit. I did not do anything after this, as I have no official involvement. If you include my student days in the Andhra University and later at the university of Chicago, I have more than 45 years of experience with tsunamis worldwide and I know what I am talking about. I cannot understand why Tuticorin Port Trust could not find me when everyone else can find me. The Indian Express newspaper article clearly says that I was staying at the Taj Palace hotel in Delhi and will be there for another week or so. Question: How do you react to Tuticorin Port Trust's statement that the suggestion you had made with respect to the present alignment of the Channel and its possible chance of acting as a conduit to future tsunamis, thus paving way to causing damage to South Kerala coast as untenable? Prof. Tad S.Murty: Tuticorin Port Trust (TPT) of course can draw whatever conclusions they want to. I feel that the Bay of Bengal entrance of the present orientation of the channel will undoubetedly funnel tsunami energy into the channel and this will meet the tsunami traveling from south of Sri Lanka at the southern part of Kerala and through 10
    • constructive interference will augment the tsunami wave amplitudes. The southern part of Kerala was not much impacted by the 26th December 2004 tsunami mainly because the tsunami that arrived from the Indian Ocean has to diffract around Sri Lanka, which necessarily has to take a very wide turn (because tsunamis are long gravity waves and cannot bend as easily as short waves, just like a big car versus a mini. A mini cut cut corners, but a big car has to take very wide turns.) and missed south Kerala. It is very easy to show that the SSCP channel with a depth of 12m will indeed provide another route for the tsunami and the energy will be directed towards south Kerala. I have no official connection with the SSCP, only a scientific curiosity plus my concern that south Kerala will be put at risk in future. I do not worry that TPT does not think much of my ideas or me. I do not have to justify myself to TPT. I have to fight my battles, not with TPT but in the field of peer reviewed international scientific journals. To summarize, a re-orientation of the eastern entrance of the channel towards northwest will fix the tsunami problem. Why this concerns me is a parallel example in the Alberni canal on Vancouver Island, British Columbia province of Canada. In the March 28th 1964 Alaska earthquake tsunami, outside of Alaska, the largest tsunami amplitude was at the head of the Alberni canal well inland and not at the open coast as everyone expected. Later when I joined the Canadian Oceanographic Service, I explained this as due to quarter wave resonance amplification. The SSP canal has many characteristics similar to the Alberni canal, and this is the reason I am concerned. Question: Professor! The Detailed Project Report prepared by L&T - Ramboll has finalized the location of the dumping sites for the dredged materials. They are located in Bay of Bengal and Gulf of Mannar and have a depth ranging from 30 to 40 km. These sites happen to lie just north of and south of the entrance and exit of the channel. What are the chances for these sites to remain safe and stable during the time of a future tsunamis and cyclones? Also, what are the chances for them to be carried over into the channel in the event of future tsunamis and cyclones? Prof. Tad S.Murty: I need to do some back of the envelope calculations to precisely answer your question, which I will do in a few days. However, my initial intuition is that the dumping sites will not be completely stable, especially if they happen to be in the path of the tsunami waves. They may be relatively stable from the cyclones and storm surges, since these do not cause much bottom scouring like tsunamis. The safety issue arises if they are contaminants, especially radioactive contaminants. Again, I need to do a back of the envelope type computation for a definite answer, 11
    • again my intuition is that the cyclone and storm surge effects will be less as compared to tsunamis. Certainly tsunamis have the potential to pull all this material back into the channel, if the orientation is right. The basic question I will attempt to answer through an analytical analysis is simply this. Would storm surges and tsunamis have the energy to move the dredged material back into the channel? As I said earlier, my present feeling is, storm surges probably will not move much material, but tsunamis definitely would. I will try to quantify this in a couple of days. As per the TPT's conclusion that no re-orientation of the eastern entrance of the channel is required, I absolutely disagree with it. I do not need to analyze that any more. I have analyzed the problem to my complete satisfaction. …………. I now have more definite answers to your questions. In spite of what the TPT says, there is a real threat to southern Kerala from future tsunamis from SSP. At this time I do not have the resources to actually do a numerical model to determine the quantitative aspects of the movement aspects of the dredged material. (However) I did some analytical analysis of whether cyclones (and storm surges) and tsunamis can move the dredged material from Palk Bay into the channel. The impact from cyclones and storm surges will be minimal, but tsunamis can move a significant amount of the dredged material into the channel. Date of Publication: 1 August 2005 http://sethusamudram.in/htmdocs/Articles/Interviews/tad_murty.htm 12
    • Annex 4 Sethusamudram - Can it remain safe and stable in its present form? Interview with Prof G Victor Rajamanickam Prof.G Victor Rajamanickam is one of the India's eminent coastal geo-morphologists and minerologists. And he is an authority in the studies of Tamil Nadu's coastal geomorphology. He has authored innumerable research papers and made substantial contribution in the study of coastal mineral deposits and sedimentation dynamics. During 1990 and 2000, Prof Rajamanickam had organized two international seminars on changes in sea level and their effects on the coast. Top coastal minerologists in India including Dr V J Loveson, Prof N Chandrasekar, Dr N Angusamy and Dr Anbarasu have been his students. Prof Rajamanickam, till recently, was heading the School of Earth Sciences at the Tamil University, Thanjavur. He currently heads the Department of Disaster Management at the SASTRA Deemed University, Thanjavur. Prof Rajamanickam has evinced keen interest in the Sethusamudram Shipping Channel since the early eighties. Having analysed the high sedimentation in the Palk Bay in the late eighties, he wrote extensively on the need to dig a channel in order to save Palk Bay from becoming a lagoon. More recently, in October 2004, he was invited to deliver a special lecture, Sethusamudram - the lifeline of Tamil Nadu, at a national seminar on Ecological Balance and Sethusamudram Canal, organized by the Department of Oceanography and Coastal Area Studies of Alagappa University. As for the ongoing SSC project, it is pertinent to note here that the entire section on the Geomorphology of Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar in the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Report prepared by the Nagpur-based National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) has been based on the original research findings and writings of Prof Rajamanickam and his student, Dr V.J.Loveson. Following is the transcript of the taped interview given by Prof Rajamickam to the editor of this web portal at Thanjavur on August 10, 2005. This interview assumes its immense importance on two counts: firstly, in the context of the very first meeting of the High Level Environmental Monitoring Committee for the ongoing Channel Project, held at Chennai on August 9, 2005; secondly, in the context of the stir proposed by fishermen to blockade the project's dredging ship on August 12, 2005, at Palk Strait, to highlight their point that this dredging activity would endanger their entire livelihood. 13
    • Question: Professor, can you please tell us briefly about the significant and unique features of the dynamics of the Tamil Nadu coast? Prof Rajamanickam: Regarding the Tamil Nadu Coast general status, the peculiar transformation of sediment transportation toward landward migration (which is also the phenomenon faced by the peninsular India as a whole) is an important phenomenon to be observed by every one. So, as long as the landward migration is there, there is no need to be anxious about the issues of erosion or deposition in this coast. The erosion and deposition noted in this coast are due to local geo-morphology and tectonics. Cliff and river mouth convergence are also existent. Convergence creates certain amount of erosion. However, we have to underline here that the erosion that this coast is facing today is mainly due to the anthropogenic activity of the Madras harbour and the Tuticorin harbour extensions. Tuticorin harbour extension has transformed the coastal stretch between it and Kanyakumari from a coast of sediment deposition into a coast of erosion. Besides this, we should also note that there is some amount of effect on these coastal processes by the Achankovil Shear Zone, near which the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant is fast coming up. This shear zone is always expected to cause upward unevenness, tectonic pressure, which might in turn cause any amount of coastal sinking or uplift. The recent recurrent entry of Sea, in my opinion, is due to a tectonic lowering or tectonic sinking, which must have acted in line with Andaman fault. Question: When the Tsunami struck the Indian coast on December 26, your team was already involved in Placer Deposit Studies in the Cuddalore-Vedaranyam coast for one and a half years. Immediately following the Tsunami, your team led by Dr Loveson, one of your old students, identified that the Tsunami deposits were very rich in titanium. Can you please describe this finding in detail? Prof Rajamanickam: Yes. The coast between Nagapattinam to Nagore, Nagore to Poompuhar, Colachal and Madras were the places where the strong impact from the Tsunami was noticed. These were also the places where a high order of ilmenites was found soon after the Tsunami. For example in the Nagore coast, the pre-Tsunami heavy mineral content of 14 per cent jumped to 70 per cent of ilmenites after the Tsunami. Such is the spectacular difference between the pre and post-Tsunami estimates. Whatever Zircon, Garnets, Amphebole, Pyroxenes were washed away by the Tsunami from these beaches were replaced and filled with high, denser minerals like ilmenites and magnatites - ilmenites the maximum. One may take this as a blessing in disguise. Now, titanium is going to give a higher revenue to the Government as its cost is increasing everyday - like oil. We have confirmed the availability of titanium not only in the surface but also its presence in the sub-surface. At Nagore, for example, we had noted that the Tsunami 14
    • had caused an erosion of two meters; however, titanium sand had replaced this two- meter sand. We have recorded this using the GPR also. Question: How do you think that the recent Tsunami interacted with the already existing coastal sedimentation regime between Chennai and Palk Bay, and also Palk Bay and Kanyakumari? Prof Rajamanickam: The Tsunami had completely disturbed the Shelf sediment right from River Krishna down to Kanyakumari. It had disturbed the seabed even up to 200 meters. From the Shelf break, the Tsunami had churned the sediments and brought the material to the coast and had pushed them further upland and while receding had taken back all the fine heavy minerals, fine silts, clays back to the Shelf. So, the Shelf sediments now have a completely new texture after the Tsunami. If one studies the present sediments, one would be surprised to find the seabed to be a different one now. It is in this regard I feel that we have to undertake a resurvey of our seabed and understand the nature of the sediment present in it. Hence I feel an understanding of the pre-Tsunami sedimentation condition alone cannot work possibly for any modeling. Question: After the recent Tsunami, the Centre for Marine and Coastal Studies of the Madurai-Kamaraj University (MKU) found that the sedimentation rate in some places of Palk Bay has increased almost by 64 per cent. (The sedimentation rate recorded earlier was 32.5 mg/d in November 2004; it had increased to 53.4 mg/d during the Tsunami)Do you think that the entire Palk Bay would have experienced such an increase in sedimentation rate or would it be that only a few selected areas in Palk Bay known already for higher sedimentation rates had experienced this? Prof Rajamanickam: The finding of suspension load or sedimentation of 53.4 mg/d is possible.The churning impact of the Tsunami from the deeper depths reminds us that it might take some time - may be even years - to settle back all the churned out clay and silt surfaced by the waves. Earlier, our own study on the quantification of the sediments at Sethubavachatram had revealed the immense amount of sedimentation that is going on in the Bay. Question: Do you think that the entire Palk Bay would have experienced such an increase in turbidity? Prof Rajamanickam: Yes. It would be a general phenomenon throughout the Bay because Palk Bay had also faced the Tsunami. Refracted Tsunami waves had entered Palk Bay. So, churning (of the sea bed by the Tsunami) must have prevailed there also. It should be remembered here that Palk Bay seabed is only a temporary seabed - I mean, not a consolidated one. It is a seabed made up of dumped sediments. So, the entire dumped sediments to the tune of nearly about 6 to 7 meters should have been churned up by the refracted Tsunami waves. This I feel will take a longer time to settle down in Palk Bay particularly. 15
    • Question: Between May 2003 and February 2004, NEERI had studied the bathymetry of Adam's Bridge area. During January-February 2004, NHO had surveyed the entire alignment of the Sethu Channel (north of Adam's Bridge). L&T- Ramboll, the firm which that prepared the SSC's Detailed Project Report (DPR), in its February 2005 report, had suggested changes in the Channel's length and alignment. The Channel length in the Adam's Bridge area has been increased by about 14.92 km, and the same in Palk Strait by about 0.13 km and the undredged central portion by about 0.32 km. -- thus increasing the total length of the Channel by about 15.37 km. This is about 9.17 per cent increase in the original length proposed by NEERI. The total dredging cost proposed in NEERI's Technical Feasibility Report was Rs. 1595.35 crores. An increase in the length of the channel by 9.17 per cent would increase the cost of dredging by about 146.34 crores. All these are of course pre-tusnami estimates. In the light of the post-Tsunami sedimentation increase at Palk Bay as reported by the MKU study, are we to expect an increase in the quantum of sediments that has to dredged? In your professional opinion, do you think there would be cost escalation for the project, in this aspect? Prof.G.V.Rajamanickam: Definitely. Now the dredging level will go high because at least half to one meter of sediment must have been deposited at the Palk Strait by the Tsunami. When you cross through the Palk Strait, the previous bathymetry of 10 meters would only be 9 meters now. So, to reach a maximum of 12 meters bathymetry, you would have to remove one more meter of the sediment. This would definitely lead to cost escalation of the project. The total quantum of sediment to be removed now would be more than the pre-Tsunami estimates. There is no question about it. A re-survey of the present depth and also the nature of the sediments that the Tsunami had brought in is a must today. Tsunami has brought in a new stratum of sediments. If the pre-Tsunami dredgers approach this now, they would find a quite contrasting change in the nature of the present sediments. Hence, it is always advisable for having a quick look in the seabed now existing after the Tsunami. It is also a must to assess the expenditure column and the time it is going to take for dredging in this changed scenario. Question: L&T-Ramboll's DPR has identified the dumping sites for the dredged materials. These sites are said have a depth of 30 to 40 meters and they lie just adjacent to the northern and southern mouths of the Channel. In an interview to this web portal in July 2005, Canada-based Tsunami expert Prof Tad S Murty has said: quot; I did some analytical analysis of whether cyclones (and storm surges) and tsunamis can move the dredged material from Palk Bay into the channel. (I have come to the conclusion that) tsunamis can move a significant amount of the dredged material into the channelquot;. Professor, do you think this is as a possibility? Prof Rajamanickam: See… after having witnessed the Tsunami's impact and its ability to disturb the seabed even in the outer shelf - one should be very careful in choosing the dumping sites. 16
    • Further, as I described to you earlier, we have landward migration of the sediments in this part of the coast. The presently chosen depths of 30 to 40 meters as the dumping sites, any monsoon will be able to disturb, leave alone cyclones or a tsunami. So, unless and otherwise the project people take these dumping sites farther away to deeper areas, I feel, there would not be any solution at all. Whatever you dump, the next monsoon it will be brought back. So, your dredging would be perennial. There won't be any solution, reduction in the dredging. In the recent workshop on Ecological Monitoring of the Sethu Channel held at Madurai I had projected this opinion. We should take the dredge materials to deeper areas at least with 50 meters depth. If it is going to be more than 50 meters still better. Also, the project people should not think of dumping at one single point; they should rather spread it over. That is the ideal action to control the landward migration of the dumped materials back. Question: Professor, here is a small problem! Taking the dredged materials farther away is going to further escalate the project cost… Prof Rajamanickam: No. I don't think this would increase the cost much when you consider the nature of the slope of the Eastern Shelf. This has a very high slope. So planning to take the dredged materials farther away by about 200 to 300 meters, you would be reaching areas with 20 meters higher depths. When you compare this with the Western Shelf - there, to reach areas with 5 meters higher depths you will have to travel a few kilometers. The Shelf nature is like that. So, there is no need to be worried about cost escalation when your work is in the Eastern Shelf. Question: The Indian Shipping Ministry has set up a Monitoring Committee to assess the impact of the dredging activity on the environment and advise the project authorities. The Committee consists of marine biologists and microbiologists besides experts from the fields of fisheries, agriculture. However, it had not considered including sedimentologists, geo-morphologists or meteorologists. The work on the Channel is progressing with an a priori understanding of the sedimentation situation of the pre-Tsunami period. The project authorities have not attempted a post Tsunami survey of the sedimentation situation before starting their dredging work. The pre-Tsunami a priori understanding of the Project authorities on the sedimentation and meteorology dynamics of the area had not considered many of the most important sedimentation and meteorological studies done for the area from 1990 to the present. What do you think would be the consequence to the future of the Project and the coasts around from such a supposedly negligent attitude? Can you suggest a plan to remedy this urgent situation? 17
    • Prof Rajamanickam: I have already emphasized, at the recent workshop at Madurai, that the lack of Earth System scientists - I mean, geo-morphologists, sedimentologists, mineralogists, oceanographers, climatologists - team will definitely bring problems to the maintenance of Palk Strait in the future. Theirs is the most important work, as this would occupy 90% of the total necessity in the monitoring work of the possible impact of dredging and maintenance of the project area. The present monitoring team, which comprises scientists from Marine Biology, Fisheries etc., will be able to do only 10% of the total required monitoring work. Unless Earth System Science teams strongly enter - right from the initial stages to the continued monitoring of Palk Strait - this whole activity will be a failure sooner or later. It is with this concern in mind myself and Prof T J Pandyan have suggested in the Madurai workshop the Geo-technology team of Manonmaniyam Sundaranar University to be brought into the monitoring committee. Question: What about including private organizations in oceanography like Indomer Coastal Hydraulics, Chennai etc., into the monitoring committee? Prof Rajamanickam: Ironically, it is my personal opinion that the private industries - if you give them the pertinent direction - like telling them we want these, these, and these - they will sincerely execute the job. So, inducting private oceanographers or private parties or researchers is no harm; but they should be given a clear-cut instruction that these are the works that have to done meticulously. If there is any failure on this, the project people should tell them point blank that they will be responsible and will be penalized even. Such an attitude will make them to work properly. See… Private research companies have already conducted the Biological Survey, Environment and Hydrographic Survey etc., for the Sethu Project. So, why not include them also in the monitoring work? As for the present, there is absolutely no tool to check whether all the important factors like hydrography, bathymetry, current dynamics, total suspension load, climate changes, sea level alterations etc., that have the ability to affect the Project and the Bay are being monitored in the first place. So, who is going to do that? Single one measurement of wave and currents and one turbidity measurement will not give you the solution that is required to safeguard the project or its environment. That is why I was telling in the Madurai Workshop the other day that continuous current monitoring studies, current observations should be done in four places - In the Gulf (of Mannar) 2 places, in the Palk Strait one in the north and one in the south - that is one north of Manamelkudi and the other south of it. Indomer can of course do wave, current and other studies; but they should be given clear-cut directions. Then there should be some professionally well competent x or y to monitor whether they have completed their work properly. 18
    • Question: How about the universities with earth science expertise taking part in the monitoring work? Prof Rajamanickam: I strongly feel that universities should take a larger role in the monitoring work right from now on - because Sethusamudram Corporation needs manpower; and unless and otherwise the Universities are involved right now, they cannot develop to their requirement, as there would not be any exposure. This would be in the betterment of the Sethusamudram Corporation both in the short and long term alike. Question: As a veteran geo-morphologist who had spent almost 20 years studying this coastal stretch, what is the right advice you would like to give to the Sethusamudram Corporation? Prof Rajamanickam: The monitoring system, I mean the High Level Monitoring Committee that the Government had appointed recently, sadly does not have a hydrographer, sedimentologist, geo-morphologist, geologist, coastal tectonics expert, or experts from atmospheric sciences. So, what will this present monitoring committee do? The fields I have just mentioned are the dominant sciences that are to ensure the safety and the stability of the Sethusamudram Project and its environment. So, I really do not know how this present monitoring committee, which lacks all these expertise, is going to do its required job of ensuring safety and stability to the channel and its environment! I sincerely feel that the Government should go for experts from these fields of interest, in addition to the experts who are there in the high level monitoring committee. Then only you will have the proper input to see whether the Sethusamudram Channel is functioning well. Otherwise Sethusamudram Channel will remain imbalanced. It will not give the benefit or the impact for which it had been visualized for the past 150 years. Notes: 1. Here are some of the important articles with respect to Palk Bay: a)Loveson,VJ, and Rajamanickam,G.V.,(1987) quot;Coastal Geomorphology of Southern Tamil Naduquot;, in Proc.Remote Sensing in Land Transformation and Management, Hyderabad, p.115-129 b) Loveson,VJ, and Rajamanickam,G.V.,(1988) quot;Progradation as evidenced around a submerged ancient port, Periapatnam, Tamil Naduquot;, in Ind.Jr.Landscape and Ekistics Studies, 12, pp.94-96 c) Loveson,VJ, and Rajamanickam,G.V.,(1988 a) quot;Evidences for the phenomena of emergence along Southern Tamil NAdu Coast through Remote Sensing techniquesquot; in Tamil Civilization, 5(4), pp.80-90 19
    • d) Loveson,VJ., Victor Rajamanickam,G., Anbarasu,K., (1990) quot;Remote Sensing applications in the study of sea level variation along the Tamilnadu coast, Indiaquot; in G.Victor Rajamanickam ed., 'Sea level variation and its impact on coastal environmentquot;, Tamil University, Thanjavur, pp.176-196 e) Victor Rajamanickam,G., Loveson,V.J., (1990) quot;Results of Radiocarbon Dating from some beach terraces around Rameshwaram island, Tamil Naduquot; in G.Victor Rajamanickam ed., 'Sea level variation and its impact on coastal environmentquot;, Tamil University, Thanjavur f) Loveson,VJ., Victor Rajamanickam,G., Chandrasekar,N., (1990), quot;Environmental impact of micro-deltas and swamps along the coast of Palk Bay, Tamil Nadu, Indiaquot;, in G.Victor Rajamanickam ed., 'Sea level variation and its impact on coastal environmentquot;, Tamil University, Thanjavur g) Loveson,VJ., Angusamy,N and Rajamanickam,G.V., (1996) quot;Usefulness of identifying different geomorphic blocks along the coast of southern Tamil Naduquot;, in Ind.Jr.Geomorphology, 1, pp.97-110 h) Loveson,VJ., Victor Rajamanickam.G., quot;Evidence of Quarternary Sea Level Changes and Shoreline Displacement on the Southeastern Coromandal Coast of Indiaquot; in Proc. Of the International Seminar on Quaternary Sea Level Variation, Shoreline Displacement and Coastal Environment, New Delhi, 2000 # Palk Bay and Adam's Bridge - Geomorphology and Sedimentation - An Anthology This compilation contains important excerpts from the above mentioned works of Prof.G.V.Rajamanickam. Seminars: 2) a) 'Sea level variation and its impact on coastal environmentquot;, Tamil University, Thanjavur, 1990, b) International Seminar on Quaternary Sea Level Variation, Shoreline Displacement and Coastal Environment, New Delhi, 2000 Note of Thanks: The editor thanks Mr.Ramesh Gopalakrishnan, London for his help rendered in editing the Introductory part of this Interview. Date of Publication: 12 August 2005, Friday http://sethusamudram.in/htmdocs/Articles/Interviews/Victor.htm 20
    • Annex 5 Will ships use canal at such costs? K.S.Ramakrishnan Former Deputy Chairman, Madras Port Trust Madras Musings 1-16 July 2005 The basic justification of the Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project (SSCP) is that it will reduce the distance between Kolkata and Tuticorin by 340 nautical miles and between Chennai and Tuticorin by 434 nautical miles, thereby saving for the ships plying between these places both fuel cost and time involved in sailing the additional distance. This justification will be readily valid if the SSC is a free seaway which ships can sail through without any payment to the project authority. But the SSC can not be a free seaway… as ships will be allowed to pass through the canal only under regulated pilotage, and pushed /pulled by tugs belonging to the SSCP. Obviously, even while saving on the cost of fuel, a ship passing through the canal will be expected to make a payment to the SSCP for using the facility. The likely pilotage charge to be levied by the SSCP has not been made public, but an approximate figure can be guessed by extrapolating similar charges levied by the Chennai and Tuticorin Port at present. The approach channel to the Chennai port has a length of 7 km. A 36,000 tonne coal ship calling at Chennai has to pay approximately Rs.21.75 a tonne, or a total of Rs.7.83 lakh, as pilotage charges averaging Rs.1.11 lakh per km. Tuticorin's approach channel is only 2.4 km long and an identical coal ship calling at this port is levied Rs.17 a tonne, or a total of 6.12 lakh, towards pilotage, working out to Rs.3 lakh per km. (The comparative lower rate per km at Chennai is because the capitol cost of digging the much older channel has been amortised a long time ago.) The projected length of the Sethusamudram channel is 56 km. Both capital and recurring cost will be much higher for the SSCP than for the Chennai and Tuticorin ports, and its levy of pilotage per km is likely to be substantially higher than that of even the latter if it has to have a 9 per cent return on the capital. Even if the Chennai rate is assumed, the same ship will have to pay over 60 lakhs to the SSCP for passing through the canal. But the cost of fuel that will be saved by the same ship by taking the shorter route through the Sethusamudram canal instead of sailing round Sri Lanka will be less than Rs. 7 lakh, which is even less than 1/8 of SSCP's likely levy. 21
    • The saving in sailing time for that ship will also be substantially less than the 36 hours projected by the SSCP because the ship can not be towed through the canal at its normal speed through the canal, and the time will also be lost in embarkation/disembarkation of pilots and other inspection procedures. The saving in sailing time of just about a day will not justify the incurring of over 8 times the cost of fuel saved. http://www.Setusamudram.in/htmdocs/Articles/Article%201.htm 22
    • Annex 6 Rama Setu through the ages: evidences from satellite images, cartography, epigraphy, sculptures, numismatics, historical and literary texts, logo of Survey of India (Aasetu Himachalam) Rama Setu is the southern boundary of Bharatam and hence a monument of national importance October 26, 2003, ISRO (National Remote Sensing Agency) Resource Satellite 1 http://www.isro.org/pressrelease/ph2.jpg NASA Gemini XI Spacecraft (Sept. 12, 1966 - Sept. 15, 1966); NASA Space Shuttle Mission STS 59 (1994) http://history.nasa.gov/SP-168/section3b.htm Exploring space with a camera by NASA quot;[193] Gemini XI. This photograph from an altitude of 410 miles encompasses all of India, an area of 1250 000 square miles,quot; GEORGE M. LOW, then the Deputy Director, Manned Spacecraft Center, NASA, notes. quot;Bombay is on the west coast, directly left of the spacecraft's can-shaped antenna New Delhi is just below the horizon near the upper left. Adam's Bridge between India and Ceylon , at the right, is clearly visible. A cloudless region surrounds the entire suBCEontinent. Differences in 23
    • color, green near the west coast, and brown inland, delineate regions of heavy vegetation and semiarid areas.quot; The picture by NASA is available on the NASA website. Rama Setu as a land-bridge Feb. 23, 2003 International Space Station Expedition 6 (Bridge linking Dhanushkodi and Talaimannar as seen from the Space Station) Survey of India logo: Aasetu Himachalam, 1767 http://www.surveyofindia.gov.in/ http://www2.jpl.nasa.gov/srtm/srilanka.htm Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) of NASA aboard space shuttle Endeavour launched in February 2000. quot;Sri Lanka is shaped like a giant teardrop falling from the southern tip of the vast Indian suBCEontinent. It is separated from India by the 50km (31mi) wide Palk Strait, although there is a series of stepping-stone coral islets known as Adam's Bridge that almost form a land bridge between the two countries.quot; Evidence from ancient texts Bauddham in Lankavatara Sutra tradition notes that the Buddha walked across the bridge to reach Adam's Peak what was called Vishnupaadam. In muslim and Christian traditions, Adam after banishment from heaven reportedly walked across the bridge to reach Adam's Peak, what was called Vishnupaadam. Let us call it Rama Setu because the setu is enshrined in sculptures in Java, Indonesia in the Parambanan temple (Brahmavana). References to Dharba sayanam where sri rAmA does a saranAgathy to samudra- rAjan to grant him permisson to cross the sea. SlokA 52,53,54 *************** 52 : prathisayana bhumikA bhooshitha payOdhi puLina ! Jaya ! Jaya ! Hail to Thee O Raghuveera , who beautified the assembly of sands of the beach (at 24
    • ThirupullANi ) through your lying down on them in a bed of sacred grass in observance of Your PraayOpvesam ! Hail to Thee ! **************************************************** 53: praLaya sikhi parusha visika sikhA soshitAkupAra vAripura ! Jaya ! Jaya ! (Meaning ) : Hail to You , O Raghuveera , who evaporated the waters of the ocean with the power of your arrows that resembled the fire which destroys the world at the time of deluge ! ************************************************** 54 : prabhala ripu kalaha kuthuka chatula kapikula karatala toolitha Hrutha giri nikara sAdhita sethupatha seemA semanthitha samudhra ! Jaya ! Jaya ! ( meaning ) :O mighty hero of the scion of Raghus, who created the demarcation of the ocean with your bridge built by the mighty monkeys,who out of their eagerness to reach LankhA to fight their enemies splintered huge mountains and threw them into the ocean as though they were feathery bales of cotton ! Hail to Thee! Hail to Thee ! (Source: Swami Desikan's Raghu veraa Gadhyam (aka) Sri mahAveera Vaibhavam.) Periya thirumozhi of Thiru Mangai azhwar (Parakala Naayaki) 9.4.5 about dharbas'ayanam/ thirupullani a divya desam 15 kms from Rameshwaram quot;PullaaNi Emperumaan poi kettirunde_ne_.. quot; (I have only heard now of His lies..!) All my relatives come and tell me..quot;You should have listened to us. You listened to Him. We spoke truth; He has become a liar. quot;. quot;Okay. I will now listen to you all. But, only after getting my heart back that had gone behind Him.quot; says Parakala Nayaki. (vallaaLan pin pOna nenjam varumaLavum..) Though all of them talk about me, I am still trusting that quot;Great liar (of ThirupullaaNi Emperumaan's)'s words and am living with a (faint?) hope. Thirumaalai by Thondar Adi Podi Azhwar also refers to emperumaan at the Setu. This section is an answer to the question: why should Rama Setu or Setu Bandha be deemed to be an ancient monument of national and international significance? 25
    • Holy places of South Asia http://dsal.uchicago.edu/reference/schwartzberg/pager.html?object=136 Schwartzberg Atlas, v. , p. 99. (Joseph E. Schwartzberg, ed., 1978, A historical atlas of South Asia, University of Chicago Press, Chicago) The legends shown on this map clearly demonstrate the importance of Rameswaram and the link to Tirukketisvaram (in Srilanka) as a holy tirtha. Rameswaram is recognized as one of the twelve jyotirlingas of Shiva. Srilanka gets associated with Naga. Historical sources evidence the fact that Rama Setu was a land bridge linking Bharatam and Lanka for many millennia. The following maps and images are principally drawn from Schwartzberg Atlas, 1978. The Epics refer to the link between Kapaata and Lanka. From the time of the pre- Mauryan and Mauryan Empire (from 6th century BCEE), the holy site called Koti gains prominence. This is the short-form of Dhanushkoti, evoking the Ramayana narration of Sri Rama confronting Samudra Raja (King of Ocean) by fixing the end of his bow at this island which links with Lanka at Tambapanni or Tamraparni (at a place called Mahatittha, meaning Maha Tirtha, or Great Tirthasthaana) through Setu Bandha. Thus, the link between Dhanushkodi and Mahatittha constitute the tirthasthaana for over two millennia. During the Satavahana-Saka-Kusana age, c. A.D. 1-300, Rameshwaram close to Dhanushkodi gains prominence as a holy place. Puranic India (Bharata) recognizes Setuka as the bridge connecting Bharatam (Pandyan kingdom) and Lanka (then called Simhala). Koti (Dhanushkodi) and Mahatittha continue to be holy, religious places during post- Mauryan period, from circa 200 BCEE. The region across the Rama Setu constitutes the limits of regions under the control of Rastrakuta during the age of the Gurjara-Pratiharas, Palas, and Rastrakutas, circa 700-975. 26
    • Naval expedition to southeast Aia leading to conquest of Srivijaya and its dependencies proceeds from Gangaikondacolapuram and contacts are also established with Maldive islands circa 1000 going through the Gulf of Mannar. An Ajanta fresco depicts the arrival of King Vijaya in this region. During the period islamic expansion and changing Western views of South Asia, between 7th-12th centuries, the Rama Setu (bridge) between Rameswaram and Marqaya is also called Setu Bandha (evoking the Prakrit kavya written in the 6th century by King Pravarasena with the title Setu Bandha or Ravana Vaho). It is during this period, ca. 12th century that Setu gets bracketed and referred to as Adam’s Bridge. South Asia in the time of the Khaljis and Tughluqs, c. 1290-1390 shows the island on Lanka side referred to Mannara (later called Talaimannar). In the height of the Bhakti movement and in the time of the Khaljis and Tughluqs, c. 1290-1390, the bridge area gets referred to as Setubandha Rameswaram, as a holy tirtha. Two maps of Netherlands drawn in 16th and 17th centuries and a French map of 18th century, clearly refer to Adamsbrug (or Pont) as a functioning bridge between Rameswaram and Talaimannar. Setu Bandha is celebrated in an early talkie-movie of the same title made by Phalke. As NASA and Indian Space Research Organization images dramatically establish the land bridge between Bharatam and Srilanka, these historical references to Rama Setu come alive as an inalienable tradition of the Bharatiya civilization. The Gulf of Mannar region gets recognized as the first Marine Biosphere of South and Southeast Asia, in 1956. India of the Vedas and the Epics http://dsal.uchicago.edu/reference/schwartzberg/pager.html?object=050 Schwartzberg Atlas, v. , p. 13. 27
    • The time of the Mauryan Empire, 321-181 B.C. http://dsal.uchicago.edu/reference/schwartzberg/pager.html?object=055 Schwartzberg Atlas, v. , p. 18. Religious movements and culture of the pre-Mauryan and Mauryan periods, 6th-3rd century B.C. Probable migration routes of Central Asian peoples to northwestern South Asia http://dsal.uchicago.edu/reference/schwartzberg/pager.html?object=056 Schwartzberg Atlas, v. , p. 19. 28
    • The Satavahana-Saka-Kusana age, c. A.D. 1-300 http://dsal.uchicago.edu/reference/schwartzberg/pager.html?object=058 Schwartzberg Atlas, v. , p. 21. Religious and cultural sites of the post-Mauryan period, c. 200 B.C.-A.D. 300 http://dsal.uchicago.edu/reference/schwartzberg/pager.html?object=059 Schwartzberg Atlas, v. , p. 22. 29
    • + South Asia in the expanding Western view of the world, 1st-3d century A.D. http://dsal.uchicago.edu/reference/schwartzberg/pager.html?object=061 Schwartzberg Atlas, v. , p. 24. Puranic India (Bharata) http://dsal.uchicago.edu/reference/schwartzberg/pager.html?object=064 Schwartzberg Atlas, v. , p. 27. 30
    • The age of the Gurjara-Pratiharas, Palas, and Rastrakutas, c. A.D. 700-975 http://dsal.uchicago.edu/reference/schwartzberg/pager.html?object=068 Schwartzberg Atlas, v. , p. 31. 31
    • Landing of King Vijaya depicted in an Ajanta fresco (painting dated to circa 5th century). The age of the Ghaznavids, Cahmanas, Later Calukyas, and Colas, c. 975-1200 http://dsal.uchicago.edu/reference/schwartzberg/pager.html?object=069 Schwartzberg Atlas, v. , p. 32. 32
    • Islamic expansion and changing Western views of South Asia, 7th-12th centuries http://dsal.uchicago.edu/reference/schwartzberg/pager.html?object=070 Schwartzberg Atlas, v. , p. 33. Religious and cultural sites, 8th-12th centuries http://dsal.uchicago.edu/reference/schwartzberg/pager.html?object=071 Schwartzberg Atlas, p. 34. 33
    • South Asia in the time of the Khaljis and Tughluqs, c. 1290-1390 http://dsal.uchicago.edu/reference/schwartzberg/pager.html?object=075 Schwartzberg Atlas, v. , p. 38. South Asia in the time of the Khaljis and Tughluqs, c. 1290-1390 http://dsal.uchicago.edu/reference/schwartzberg/pager.html?object=078 Schwartzberg Atlas, v. , p. 41. 34
    • Map of Ceylon with the Adams bridge 1656 – 1725 Ceylon is spelt as: Ceilon Title in the Leupe catalogue (NA): <Kaart van Ceilon met de Adamsbrug.> Dated: possibly 17th century, Netherlands. 1700 – 1800 Title in the Leupe catalogue (NA): <Kaart van de zuidelijke punt van Voor-Indië met Ceilon en de Adamsbrug>. http://www.atlasofmutualheritage.nl/detail.aspx?page=dafb&lang=en&id=3204 Atlas of Mutual Heritage Facsimile of excerpt from the quot;quot;General Description of East Indiaquot;quot; http://dsal.uchicago.edu/reference/schwartzberg/pager.html?object=089 Schwartzberg Atlas, v. , p. 52. Hindostan or British India (New York: G. W. and C. B. Colton and Company, 1855). Map of South India and Laccadives, Bowen 1747, prepared by Netherlands. Source: David Rumsey collection Ramarcoil I. is shown (Ramarcoil means: Rama’s Temple) In a 1747 map prepared by Netherlands, Ramancoil was shown near Dhanushkodi island. In a 1788 map prepared by Joseph Banks (available in Saraswati Mahal Library, Tanjavur), Rama temple and Ramar Bridge were shown. quot;A map of India entitled as a map of Hindoostan or the Moghul Empire from the latest authorities inscribed to Sir. Joseph Banks Bart President of Royal 35
    • Society, which was produced by Mr. J. Rennel, a pioneer in map making on 1 st January 1788. The original print of the map (112c.m x 106c.m) is available in this Library.quot; http://www.sarasvatimahallibrary.tn.nic.in/library/Art_collection/Maps___Atlas/maps ___atlas.html Map drawn by Joseph Parks, Australian Botanical explorer (1788) shows Ramar Bridge (Map in Sarasvati Mahal Lib., Thanjavur) In a 1804 map produced by Rennel (First Surveyor General of India), the name Ramar Bridge was changed to Adam’s Bridge. “On the north-west side of the Island, where the currents are checked by the obstruction of Adam’s Bridge and still water prevails in the Gulf of 36
    • Manaar, these deposits have been profusely heaped, and the low sandy pains have been proportionally extended; whilst on the south and east, where the current sweeps unimpeded along the coast , the line of the shore is bold and occasionally rocky. The explanation of the accretion and rising of the land is somewhat opposed to the popular belief that Ceylon was torn from the main land of India by a convulsion, during which the Gulf of Manaar and the narrow channel at Paumbam were formed by the submission of the adjacent land. The two theories might be reconciled by supposing the sinking to have occurred at an early period, and to have been followed by the uprising still in progress.” http://www.lankaweb.com/news/features/ceylon3.html Source: Ceylon - an account of the island by Sir James Emmerson Tennent, KCS, LLD Compiling exclusively to LankaWeb by Tilak S. Fernando, London This structure of close to 48 kilometers which is 3 to 30 feet deep through its course and was well above the sea level till the 15th century. The oldest recorded map that mentions of Rama’s Bridge is the Malabar Bowen Map of Netherlands which is supposed to have been made in 1747, where the map mentions no name to the bridge but has mention about a place Ramencoil. Further, the same place is mentioned again in a 1788 Map of Hindoostan available in the Sarasvathi Mahal Library, Thanjavur. http://bp2.blogger.com/_Cvup3_AVyF0/RgyZDZaXfmI/AAAAAAAAAAc/UFSEN- hYbig/s1600-h/1784+Map.JPG http://bp1.blogger.com/_Cvup3_AVyF0/RgyZYJaXfnI/AAAAAAAAAAk/w3Z1Cqo4emA/ s1600-h/Copper+Plate+Map.JPG Few dating attempts have been made after that. While the Sri Lankan Archeological Department dates the bridge to close to 2 million years old, Centre For Remote Sensing, Bharathidasan University dated it close to 3500 years old. The fact which is clear from these historical maps is that there was a bridge and that this was associated with Sri Rama according to the Bharatiya tradition since place 37
    • names are normally assigned by the local people. The maps are based on such information gathered from local people about place and monument names. The following map shows the 5 feet Pamban gap and Adam’s bridge linking Dhanushkodi and Talaimannar. A new map of Hindoostan, of the Bengal provinces, and of the countries lying between them and Delhi [cartographic material]: the whole exhibiting all the military roads and passes as well as the most accurate division of the British possessions in the East Indies / from the latest authorities, chiefly from the actual surveys made by May or James Rennell, Surveyor-General to the Hble. East India Company. Date: 1804. First edition published 1794. http://www.nla.gov.au/apps/cdview?pi=nla.map- rm1808-b2- sd&rgn=0.0649979814%2C0.4546038269%2C0.2264836496%2C0.6600744831&c md=zoomin&width=400&x=247&y=372 38
    • Textual evidences for Rama Setu (or Setu bandha) Mirrored at: http://hinduthought.googlepages.com/setuband.doc Apart from the Ramayana which has emphatic references to the construction of Setu bandha in 85 s’lokas in a separate sarga in Yuddha kanda, Mahabharata also refers to the continued protection of Nala Setu following the command of Sri Rama. Sri Rama refers in Kalidasa’s Raghuvams’a also refers to the Setu of mountains. So does Skanda Purana (III.1.2.1-114), Vishnu Purana (IV.4.40-49), Agni Purana (V-XI), Brahma Purana (138.1-40) refer to the construction of Rama Setu. The evidences -- textual, epigraphic, scientific marine-archaeological explorations -- document Rama Setu (or, Setu bandha) as an ancient monument. A channel linking Tuticorin Port with Haldia can be designed without damaging this monument which is an object of national importance, indeed, a world heritage site with Ramayana episodes including the construction of Setu bandha by Nala venerated in many Ramayana's in many parts of the world. . Development imperative or abhyudayam can co-exist with protection of monuments, places and objects of national and international importance. Let us hope that Govt. of India will see it fit to realign the Setusamudram Channel to avoid impacting on Ram Setu, the heritage which should be immediately declared as a protected monument under the AMASR Act, 1958. This is a solemn duty of the State of Bharatam. Mirrored at: http://hinduthought.googlepages.com/setuband.doc Apart from the Ramayana which has emphatic references to the construction of Setu bandha in 85 s’lokas in a separate sarga in Yuddha kanda, Mahabharata also refers to the continued protection of Nala Setu following the command of Sri Rama. Sri Rama refers in Kalidasa’s Raghuvams’a also refers to the Setu of mountains. So does Skanda Purana (III.1.2.1-114), Vishnu Purana (IV.4.40-49), Agni Purana (V-XI), Brahma Purana (138.1-40) refer to the construction of Rama Setu. Epics and classics Valmiki describes the construction of Setu in detail. For an exquisite rendering • of Valmiki’s descriptions see: http://ramasetu.blogspot.com/2007/03/setu- bandhan-in-valmiki-ramayana.html Also: http://bridgeofram.com/ hastimaatraan mahaakaayaaH paaSaaNaamshca mahaabalaaH parvataamshca samutpaaTya yantraiH parivahanti ca Valmiki Ramayana 2-22-58 Vaanara having huge bodies, with mighty strength uprooted elephant-sized rocks and mountains and transported them by mechanical contrivances (yantraih). Vedavyasa refers to Nalasetu and notes how the setu was protected during • Mahabharata times nalasetur iti khyāto yo 'dyāpi prathito bhuvi rāmasyājñāṃ puraskṛtya dhāryate girisaṃnibhaḥ MBh. 3.267.45 .... which even today, popular on earth as Nala's bridge, mountain-like, is sustained out of respect for [Lord] Rama's command. (Nala was son of Vis’wakarma) 39
    • Kalidasa's Raghuvams’a (sarga 13): Rama, while returning from SriLanka in pushpaka vimaana: quot;Behold, Sita, My Setu of mountains dividing this frothy ocean is like the milky way dividing the sky into two partsquot; There is a kavya in Prakrit by King Pravarasena II (550-600 CE) called “Setu bandha or Ravanavaho.” quot;Dasamuha Vadhaquot; (Setubandha Kavya) was written by the King Damodara Sen (5th Century). Lankavatara Sutra Lankavatara Sutra is one of the most important sutras of Mahayana Buddhism. According to the traditions of Sri Lanka, this Sutra contains the actual words spoken by Bhagwan Gautama Buddha himself, when he visited Sri Lanka. Although it is historically doubtful that Bhagwan Gautama Buddha ever physically visited Sri Lanka, nevertheless, Lankavatara, which literally means 'Arrival in Lanka', is a very important source of Mahayan Bauddha philosophy. Dr. Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki, who has translated the Sutra from original Sanskrit into other languages, says, quot;As is the case with other Buddhist texts it is quite impossible with our present knowledge of Indian history to decide the age of the Sutra. The one thing that is certain is that it was compiled before 443 CE when the first Chinese translation is reported to have been attempted. Even with the text that was in existence before 443 CE we do not know how it developed, for it was not surely written from the beginning as one complete piece of work as we write a book in these modern days. Some parts of it must be older than others, since there is no doubt that it has many layers of added passages.quot; Lankavatara Sutra and Ramayana share several descriptions. Even ten-headed Ravana and Kumbhakarna, Ashok Vatica, Ocean and so many other points tally. In the Sutra, Ravana is described as the king of Lanka who is desirous of learning the Truth from Buddha, and invites him across the ocean into Sri Lanka. Some parts from the first chapter of the Sutra: ...Thus have I heard. The Blessed One once stayed on the peak of Lanka in Mount Malaya on the great ocean... ...At that time, the Blessed One who had been preaching in the palace of the King of Sea-serpents came out at the end of seven days and was greeted by an innumerable host of Nāgakanyās including Śakra and Brahma, and looking at Lanka on Mount 40
    • Malaya smiled... ...Blessed One said, By the Tathagatas of the past, who were Arhats and Buddhas, the fuly Enlightened Ones, this Truth was made the subject of their discourse, at Lanka on the mountain-peak of Malaya... (Referring to Rama?) ...the Truth realisable by noble wisdom in one's inmost self, which is beyond the reasoning knowledge of the philosophers as well as the state of consciousness of the Sravakas and Pratyekabuddhas. I, too, would now for the sake of Ravana, Overlord of the Yakshas, discourse on this Truth... ...After seven nights, the Blessed One leaving the ocean, the abode of the Makaras, the palace of the sea-God, now stands on the shore... ...Just as the Buddha rises, Ravana, accompanied by the numerous Apsaras and Yakshas, Suka, Sarana, and learned men, miraculously goes over to the place where the Lord is standing...and invites Him into the city of Lanka... ...quot;Mahamati, accept my mansion, the company of the Apsaras, necklaces of various sorts, and the delightful Asoka gardenquot;... ...quot;I give myself up to serve the Buddhas and their sons; there is nothing with me that I do not give up, for their sake; Great Muni, have compassion on me!quot;... ...Hearing him speak thus, the Lord of the Triple World said, quot;King of Yakshas, this mountain of precious stones was visited by the Great Buddhas in the past. And, taking pity on you, they had discoursed on the Truth revealed in their inmost consciousness... Throughout the rest of the chapters in the Sutra, examples of Ocean, Bridge, Raft, Boat etc. are richly used. http://ramasetu.blogspot.com/2007/04/lankavatara-sutra.html Epigraphs “…the most common reference to Rama in early inscriptions is in a verse that begins to appear commonly at the end of land-grants from the early 9th century 41
    • onwards in Rashtrakuta regions. “Common to all kings is the setu of dharma: you should abide by it moment by moment. Again and again Ramabhadra implores all future kings to do the same (Epigraphica Indica 23.212 – a record of CE 807)… Tiruvalangadu plates of Rajaraja Cola I (CE 985-1014) describe the king as surpassing Rama in military prowess and crossing the ocean with his powerful army and subduing the king of Lanka… The concept of a hill-top imprinted by the feet of Visnu is repeatedly found in the Mahabharata24 and it is suggested that a column on the hill may have enshrined Visnupada. (Vishnupadam in Srilanka was renamed as Adam’s peak just as Ramar bridge was renamed as Adam’s Bridge by James Rennel in 1804 when he was the first surveyor general of British India)… In the temples of Orissa dated from 7th to 10th centuries, Rama is represented both as an avatara of Visnu as also the hero of the Ramayana narrative. In a dasavatara group, the image of Rama is sculpted along with Balarama and Parasurama at the entrance of Manibhadresvara and also at Simhanatha. Ramayana friezes occur on several temples, such as Svarnajalesvara, Sisiresvara, Varahi and Panca-Pandava. These include scenes of Rama shooting through seven trees, killing the golden deer, abduction of Sita, fight between Bali and Sugriva and building the bridge across the ocean.” http://www.ochs.org.uk/publications/multimedia/documents/HinduTemple3_Ram ayana_HPRay_1006.doc Hampi inscription of Krishnaraya Saka 1430 (1508 CE) in Epigraphica Indica refers to Rama Setu 42
    • Skanda Purana (VI.101.1-44) describes the installation of threee Shiva linga at the end, middle and beginning of Rama Setu and making the same bridge submerged and thereby creating Setu-Teerth. This is also related in Kurma Purana (21.10-61). Garuda Purana (1.81.1-22) lists sacred places including Setubandh and Rameswar. Narada Purana (Uttara Bhag 76.1-20) extols the greatness of Rama-Setu. Adam's Bridge also called Rama's Bridge, chain of shoals, between the islands of Mannar, near northwestern Sri Lanka, and Rameswaram, off the southeastern coast of India. The bridge is 30 miles (48 km) long and separates the Gulf of Mannar (southwest) from the Palk Strait (northeast). Some of the sandbanks are dry, and nowhere are the shoals deeper than 4 feet (1 m); thus, they seriously hinder navigation. Dredging operations, now abandoned, were begun as early as 1838 but never succeeded in maintaining a channel for any vessels except those of light draft. Geologic evidence suggests that Adam's Bridge represents a former land connection between India and Sri Lanka. Traditionally, it is said to be the remnant of a huge causeway constructed by Rama, the hero of the Hindu epic Ramayana, to facilitate the passage of his army from India to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) for the rescue of his abducted wife, Sita. According to Muslim legend, Adam crossed there to Adam's Peak, Ceylon, atop which he stood repentant on one foot for 1,000 years. http://www.britannicaindia.com/duk_det_inside.asp?art_id=28 Using search terms: India, Ceylon, bridge, the Google search produces the following links. A book by Alexander Hamilton, 1744, A New Account of the East Indies: Giving an Exact and Copious Description of the Situation, P. 338 describes his visit to ‘zeloan’ (alt. spelling for Ceylon) by walking on the bridge. An article in: Asiatic Society, 1799, Asiatick Researches: Or, Transactions of the Society Instituted in Bengal, P. 52 refers to the bridge called Setband (alt. spelling, setuband like Allahband; setu-bandha), broken in 3 places. It also notes “The people 43
    • call it a bridge; or otherwise it appears to have wood growing on it, and to be inhabited.” Why did Rama build a bridge? In slokas 2-22-25 to 2-22-28, the King of Ocean says, “O, beloved Rama! Earth, wind ether, water and light remain fixed in their own nature, resorting to their eternal path. Therefore, I am fathomless and my nature is that it is impossible of being swum across. It becomes unnatural if I am shallow. I am telling you the following device to cross me. O, prince! Neither from desire nor 44
    • ambition nor fear nor from affection, I am able to solidify my waters inhabited by alligators. O, Rama! I shall make it possible to see that you are able to cross over. I will arrange a place for the monkeys to cross me and bear with it. As far as the army crosses me, the crocodiles will not be aggressive to them.” Valmiki describes construction of this bridge between Slokas 2-22-50 and 2-22-72 “I am a son born of Visvakarma’s own loins. I am equal to Viswakarma. This god of Ocean has reminded me. The great ocean spoke the truth. Being unasked, I have not told you my details earlier. I am capable of constructing a bridge across the ocean. Hence, let the foremost of monkeys build the bridge now itself. Then, being sent by Rama, hundreds and thousands of monkey heroes jumped in joy on all sides towards the great forest. Those army-chiefs of monkeys, who resembled mountains, broke the rocks and trees there and dragged them away towards the sea. Those monkeys filled the ocean with all types of trees like Sala and Asvakarna, Dhava and bamboo, Kutaja, Arjuna, palmyra,Tilaka, Tinisa, Bilva, Saptaparna, Karnika, in blossom as also mango and Asoka. The excellent monkeys, the forest animals lifted and brought, like Indra’s flag posts, some trees with roots intact and some others without roots. From here and there the monkeys brought Palmyra trees, pomegranate shrubs, coconut and Vibhitaka, Karira, Bakula and neem trees. The huge bodied monkeys with mighty strength uprooted elephant-sized rocks and mountains and transported them by mechanical contrivances. The water, raised up due to sudden throwing of mountains in the sea, soured upward towards the sky and from there again, gushed back. The rocks befalling on all sides perturbed the ocean. Some others drew up strings a hundred Yojanas long (in order to keep the rocks in a straight line.) Nala on his part initiated a monumental bridge in the middle of the ocean. The bridge was built at that time with the cooperation of other monkeys, of terrible doings. Some monkeys were holding poles for measuring the bridge and some others collected the material. Reeds and logs resembling clouds and mountains, brought by hundreds of monkeys, lead by the command of Rama, fastened some parts of the bridge. Monkeys constructed the bridge with trees having blossom at the end of their boughs. Some monkeys looking like demons seized rocks resembling mountains and peaks of mountains and appeared running hither and thither. Then, a tumultuous sound occurred when the rocks were thrown into the sea and when mountains were caused to fall there. On the first day, fourteen Yojanas of bridge were constructed by the monkeys speedily, thrilled with delight as theywere, resembling elephants. In the same manner, on the second day twenty Yojanas of bridge were constructed speedily by the monkeys of terrific bodies and of mighty strength. Thus, on the third day twenty-one Yojanas of the bridge were constructed in the ocean speedily by the monkeys with their colossal bodies. On the forth day, a further of twenty-two Yojanas were constructed by the dashingmonkeys with a great speed. In that manner, on the fifth day, the monkeys working quickly constructed twenty-three yojanas of the bridge up to the other seashore. That Nala, the strong and illustrious son of Visvakarma and an excellent monkey built the bridge across the sea as truly as his father would have built it. That beautiful and lovely bridge constructed by Nala across the ocean the abode of alligators, shone brightly like a milky way of stars in the sky.” Dr Subramanian Swamy has, in April 2007, written to Mrs. Ambika Soni, Union Minister for Culture, in connection with the status of the Rama Setu under the Ancient Monuments and Archeological Sites and Remains Act, and raising fundamental legal, administrative, quasi-judicial and cultural issues. He has urged Ambika Soni to initiate action in order to notify officially the Rama Setu as an Ancient 45
    • Monument. The Rama Setu is a formation of shoal stones of 30 kilometers long and 3 kilometers wide which served for many centuries as foot-bridge from Dhanushkodi on the coast of Tamilnadu to Sri Lanka. It is a very old historic formation, and hence would come within the expression 'ancient monument'. The Brahma Sarovar at Kurukshetra was on a similar consideration declared by the Punjab and Haryana High Court as an ancient monument. Judged by Ambika Soni's answer to an Unstarred Question in Rajya Sabha in the current Budget Session, it is clear that the Government have so far not conducted any study to determine the nature, antiquity, and heritage value of the Rama Setu. However, at the non-governmental level, as also on the basis of Hindu scriptures, it is a widely held opinion that Rama Setu facilitated Sri Rama and his army to cross the Palk Strait, as described in Valmiki Ramayana and other scriptures. That such a formation per se exists has been admitted by Ambika Soni in answer to the said Rajya Sabha Unstarred Question, which answer is confirmed by US National Aeronautics and Space Agency through satellite mapping and imaging. The Punjab and Haryana High Court in a historic order delivered in 1993 declared the Brahma Sarovar at Kurukshetra as an 'Ancient Monument'. They declared Brahma Sarovar as a very, very old historic formation and hence qualified for notification as an Ancient Monument. The cultural, spiritual and religious considerations had weighed with the Punjab and Haryana High Court in passing this order of timeless significance. These considerations seem to be irrelevant to the Islam-embracing, Christianity-coveting, Hindu-hating and Nation-destroying minority UPA Government in New Delhi nominally led by an unelected and nominated Prime Minister. Among the holiest of water tanks in India, the Brahma Sarovar in Kurukshetra is an important national and international tourist centre in Haryana State. It has been the cradle of Indian civilization from times immemorial. Any responsible Union Minister for Culture, who respects the cultural, spiritual and religious traditions, feelings and sentiments of more than 800 millions of Hindus in majority in India, would have declared the Rama Setu Bridge as an Ancient Monument on par with Brahma Sarovar in Kurukshetra on the same analogy and for similar and equally forceful and valid reasons. http://www.sulekha.com/groups/postdisplay.aspx?cid=731607&forumid=756919 Britannica Encyclopadia: Adam's Bridge also called Rama's Bridge, chain of shoals, between the islands of Mannar, near northwestern Sri Lanka, and Rameswaram, off the southeastern coast of India. The bridge is 30 miles (48 km) long and separates the Gulf of Mannar (southwest) from the Palk Strait (northeast). Some of the sandbanks are dry, and nowhere are the shoals deeper than 4 feet (1 m); thus, they seriously hinder navigation. Dredging operations, now abandoned, were begun as early as 1838 but never succeeded in maintaining a channel for any vessels except those of light draft. Geologic evidence suggests that Adam's Bridge represents a former land connection between India and Sri Lanka. Traditionally, it is said to be the remnant of a huge causeway constructed by Rama, the hero of the Hindu epic Ramayana, to facilitate the passage of his army from India to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) for the rescue of his abducted wife, Sita. According to Muslim legend, Adam crossed there to Adam's Peak, Ceylon, atop which he stood repentant on one foot for 1,000 years. 46
    • Early coins and copper plate inscription of ca. 900 CE refers to ‘setu’ There is remarkable epigraphical and numismatic evidence authenticating the tradition of referring to Rameswaram as Setubandha Rameswaram, that is, as the place from where the Setu was built to link Bharatam and Srilanka in the days of Sri Rama. The earliest epigraphic reference to Murukan in Tamilnadu is found in the Tiruttani (Velanjeri) plates of Pallava Aparajitavarman (c. 900 Common Era). Subrahmanya who was probably the original mūlavar in the Tiruttani temple at the time of Aparājitavarman, but now kept in the prākāra of the main shrine (c. 9th cent. AD). This is 'early Chōla' according to L’Hernault F. (Nagaswamy R. 1979. Thiruttani and Velanjeri Copper Plates. State Dept. Of Archaeology, Tamilnadu. Madras. See: L’Hernault F. 1978. L’Iconographie de Subrahmanya au Tamilnad, Institut Francais d’ Indologie. Pondichery, p.111, ph. 63.) The copper plates indicate that Aparajitavarman went to Setutirtha. Translation of Section 14 of Velanjeri copper plate of Paraantaka Chola I issued in the 25th year (that is, about 930 Common Era) is as follows: “This ruler (Paraantaka) performed tulaabhaara with gold acquired by his valour, at the beautiful Sriraamatirtha, where the ablest of monkey flocks built the bridge; at the Kanyaatirtha which subdued the southern quarters, and at Srirangam beautiful by the areca groves, where Sri Vishnu reclines on his serpent couch.” Sanskrit text in grantha script of this section reads as follows: “ramie sriramatirthe kavivara nikaraih baddhasetu prabandhe kanyaatirthe jitaanaamadaritamapi dis’e mandane dakshinasyaah srirange caahis’alyaas’ayitamurabhidi s’yaamapoogaabhiraame hemnaaviryaancitena kshitipatikarot yastulaabhaarakarma” 47
    • Udayendiram plates of Cola king Parantaka I (AD 907-955) refer to his adoption of the title Samgramaraghava like Rama. Pre-modern coinage of Srilanka (Ceylon) 48
    • Setu is a word inscribed on some coins, clearly indicating that the ruler was expected to safeguard the setu ‘Rama’s bridge’. Traditional design of Lanka standing King Type copper massa of the Jaffna Arya Chakravartis circ 1284-1410, of Codrington SETU type I (1) SPECIFICATIONS One Denomination massa Alloy Copper Type Struck Diameter 18.2 mm Thickness mm Weight 4.0 gms Shape Round Edge Plain DieAxis O° Codrington 88 ;Mitchiner #860 Obverse : Standing king with hanging Lamp or trident on left and group of spheres on right, surmounted by crescent. Reverse : Seated king on left facing right with Tamil legend SETU vertically below his arm. Setu coins were previously atributed to the Setupati princes of Ranmnad. Codrington attributes them strongly to the Jaffna Arya Chakravartis. This type I(1) is allied to the late Chola copper coin with Tamil Setu being substituted for the Nagari Sri Rajaraja See also other SETU type I (3) coin and later during decline of kingdom - 1462-1597 - type II (6) coin. Text edited from * Ceylon Coins and Currency: H. W. Codrington, Colombo, 1924. Chapter VI Medieval Lanka - quot;Setuquot; Coins - Type I(1), Page 75 * Oriental Coins: Michael Mitchiner, London, Hawkins Publications, 1978. The coin was scanned at 600dpi and displayed at 300dpi. It was obtained in 2000 August from Rajah Wickremesinhe an Author and collector in Colombo, Lanka. http://lakdiva.org/coins/medievalindian/setu_I-1_massa_cu.html Traditional design of Lanka standing King Type copper massa of the Jaffna Arya Chakravartis circ 1462- 1597, of Codrington SETU type II(6)(iii)variant a debased Type with several variations indicative of the decline of the kingdom. 49
    • SPECIFICATIONS Denomination One massa Alloy Copper Type Struck Diameter 19.0 mm Thickness mm Weight 4.03 gms Shape Round Edge Plain DieAxis O° Codrington 95 ;Mitchiner #868 Obverse : Standing king with crown consisting three dots, line and dot ; body broad, arms raised. Below body a line following the contour at each end of which is a dot. Below and separated from this line hangs the Dhoti To the left two semicircles with dot above each disposed virtically ; to right lamp, the stem of which consists of a large ball between two smaller balls, and the head of a horizontal line curved upwards at either end enclosing a flame. On either side of figure two dots. All within cicle of dashes. Reverse : Bull couchant facing left. Crescent and sun above. Tamil legend SETU below ; large kombu. To right and left of bull a group of three dots. See also earlier SETU - 1284-1410 - type I (1) coin and type I (3) coin. Text edited from * Ceylon Coins and Currency: H. W. Codrington, Colombo, 1924. Chapter VI Mediaeval Lanka - quot;Setuquot; Coins - Type II(3)(iii)-Varient, Page 77 * Oriental Coins: Michael Mitchiner, London, Hawkins Publications, 1978. The coin was scanned at 300dpi and displayed at 300dpi. It was obtained in 2001 December from O. M. R. Sirisena an expert collector in Colombo, Lanka. http://lakdiva.org/coins/medievalindian/setu_II-6_massa_cu.html Sethu Bull coins In the book, ‘Yaalpana Iraachchiyam’ (1992), Prof. S. Pathamanathan in his article on ‘Coins’ notes: Early kings of Jaffna, sometimes referred to as Ariyacakravarti, used names such as Segarajasekaran and Pararajasekaran, and used the epithets Singaiyariyan (Lord of Singaingar, the earlier capital of the Kingdom of Jaffna), Setukavalan (Guardian of Setu or Rameshavaram) and Gangainadan (belonging to the country of the Ganga). Their emblems were a recumbent bull -nanthi-, a Saiva symbol, and the expression 50
    • Setu, indicating the place of their origin, Rameshvaram. The term setu was also used as an expression of benediction. http://www.rootsweb.com/~lkawgw/jaffna.html Several types of coins categorised as Sethu Bull coins are found in large quantities in the northern part of Sri Lanka. Three types of this series are illustrated below. The obverse of these coins have a human figure flanked by lamps and the reverse has the Nandi (bull) symbol, the legend Sethu in Tamil with a crescent moon above. The obverse is similar to the contemporary Massa coins issued by the Kalinga and Pandyan rulers of the central Sri Lankan kingdom of Dambadeniya. The reverse of the Massa coins have the image of a seated man with the ruler's name such as Vijayabahu, Nissankamalla, Parakramabahu etc in Devanagari characters. The reverse of the The reverse of the Setu coin A Setu coin A Setu Bull coin Setu Bull coin The reverse of the Setu Bull A Setu Bull coin coin http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaffna_Coinage Setupati coinage, 16th and 17th century Obverse: Sri Ganapati, seated. Reverse, in Tamil, Se- Tu-Pa-(Ti missing). 51
    • Other textual references on Rama’s bridge Marco Polo, 1854, The travels of Marco Polo, the Venetian: the translation of Marsden revised…, H.G. Bohn, p.380, foot note 3. (Title of the Marsden’s edition was: “The travels of Marco Polo, a Venetian, in the thirteenth century; being a description, by that early traveler, of remarkable places and kings in the eastern parts of the world. Translated from the Italian, with notes, by William Marsden, FRS, London…” Rama’s bridge is also called Setu-bandha is clear from the reference to Setabund- Rameswara in the following account of the formation of the bridge: Thomas Horsfield, 1851, A catalogue of the mammalian in the Museum of the Hon. East-India Company, East India Company Museum, p.5 That Rama’s bridge was used as a reference point to define the expanse of Bharatam (as in the log Aasetu Himachalam used by Survey of India) is clear from the following quote: 52
    • William Jones, 1801, Discourses delivered before the Asiatic society, p. 29; also mirrored at: Asiatick Researches: Or, transactions of the society instituted in Bengal, for inquiring into…, Calcutta, Asiatic Society, p. 423 Arnold Hermann, 1833, Historical researches into the politics, intercourse, and trade of the principal nations of antiquity, Translated from the German, Oxford University, p.89 William Yates, 1846, A dictionary of Sanscrit and English, designed for the use of private students and of Indian colleges and schools, Baptist Mission Press, p.821 The entry, samudraaru or samudraarah is given the meaing: Rama’s bridge. 53
    • William Fordyce Mavor, 1807, Universal history, ancient and modern, Oxford University, p.216 A.J. Valpay, 1825, The Classic Journal, Vol. XXXI, Cl.Jl., No. LXII, Oxford, p.26 Charles O’Conor, British Museum, Earl of Bertram Ashburnham, 1819, J. Seeley, p.107 Clements Robert Markham, 1862, Travels in Peru and India: While superintending the collection of chinchona plants and seeds in…, J. Murray, p.423 54
    • Charlotte Speir Manning, George Scharf, 1856, Life in Ancient India, Oxford University, p. 117: Lodovico de Varthema, George Percy Badger, John Winter Jones, 1863, The travels of Ludovico di Varthema in Egypt, Syria, Arabia Deserta and Arabia Felix, in Persia, India…, Published for the Hakluyt Society, (Translated from the original Italian edition), p.185 Entry: INDIA, INDIES In a copperplate of the 11th century, by the Chalukya dynasty of Kalyāna, we find the expression quot;from the Himālaya to the Bridgequot; (Ind. Antiq. i. 81), i.e. the Bridge of Rāma, or 'Adam's Bridge,' as our maps have it. And Mahommedan definitions as old, and with the name, will be found below. Under the Hindu kings of Vijayanagara also (from the 14th century) inscriptions indicate all 55
    • India by like expressions. (Henry Yule, Hobson-Jobson, a glossary of colloquial anglo- indian words and phrases) http://dsal.uchicago.edu/cgi- bin/philologic/getobject.pl?c.1:1:191.hobson Tiruvalangadu plates of Rajaraja Cola I (AD 985-1014) describe the king as surpassing Rama in military prowess and crossing the ocean with his powerful army and subduing the king of Lanka.(David T. Sanford, Ramayana Portraits, Vidya Dehejia edited, The Legend of Rama, Marg Publications, 1994: 54.) Deopara Inscription (ca. 1100 CE) records that Samantasena, the head-garland of the Brahma-Ksatriyas proceeded towards Rameshvara-Setubandha and subdued the wicked despoilers of the Laksmi (Wealth) of Karnata. (Metcalfe in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Vol XXXIV, part 1, and afterwards critically edited by Prof Kielhorn in Epigraphia Indica, Vol 1.307-11). 56
    • Lady Marjorie Pentland, 1928, The Rt. Hon. John Sinclair, Lord Pentland, GSCI: A memoir, Methuen (Reprinted in 2004 as JW Bond, Somerset Playne, Arnold Wright, Playne Wright Somerset Staff, Southern India: its history, people, commerce, and industrial resources, Asia Educational Services). Rama Setu: Kulasekara Perumal, Kambar (Tamil) 57
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    • Sri Rama’s Sethu in Literature- A truth 90
    • Sri. TV Rengarajan South Zone Organizing Secretary, Itihasa Sankalan Samiti -Tamilnadu Annal Kakutthan Aazhpunal Sethuvai, Kanninal orukal Kanda manavan Ennil Velvi Tavam Punal Yattirai, Panni Muttriya Panpudaiyan Aro !! - Sethu Puranam - Sethu Sarukkam - Verse 16 “One who sees the ‘sethu’ built by the great Rama, who is also called Kakutthan once, will perform countless yagnas, tapas and tirtha yatras and will remain a man of great strength and character”, says Sethu Purana. 1.1. The word ‘sethu’ means ‘anai’, ‘seikarai’1. Tamil Akaramudali gives the meaning ‘anaikkattu’ (dam) to the word ‘sethubandhanam’2. Kamban, who wrote the Tamil classic ‘Kamba Ramayanam’ also refers as ‘sethubandhanappadalam’3. All these points make it clear that this was built by human beings. 1.2. ‘Sethu’ is the waterbody in which SriRama purified himself from ‘Brammahatti dosha’ on his return from Lanka after killing Ravana. It is located in the sea in Abhidhanakosam4 Rameshwaram area near ‘sethubandhanam’. calls ‘Sethubandhanam’ as ‘Tiruvanai’ - a dam or bridge built by Sri Rama and the Vanara Sena (Monkey’s army) in the sea to cross over it and reach Sri Lanka. Further, Rameshwara Talapuranam calls all these happenings as “Sethu Puranam”. 1.3. ‘Somalay’5, a great Tamil scholar says ‘sethu’ was the dam built by Sri Rama in order to crossover to Srilanka with his huge vanara sena (monkey army) with the help of monkey leaders. 1.4. ‘Tiruppullani’ - which is at a distance of 6 miles from Ramanathapuram (Ramnad) is known as ‘Pullaranyam’, ‘Pullanai’, ‘Adisethu’, ‘Tiruvanai’ and 6 ‘Sethukkarai’ 1.5. ‘Namadheepa Nikhandu’ names ‘seikarai’ as ‘seikarai’, ‘kurambu’, ‘sethu’, and ‘kulai’7. It also names Rameshwaram as ‘Sethupuram’ and ‘Ramasuram’8. 91
    • 1.6. The area surrounding ‘sethu’ - the dam built by Sri Rama on sea is called as 9 ‘sethunadu’. Kalaikkalangiyam (Tamil encyclopedia) refers to ‘Ramanathapuram district’ as ‘Sethu Nadu’. 1. Tamil - Tamil Akaramudali - Editor M.Shanmukam Pillai - Tamil Nadu Text Book Society, A Government of Tamil Nadu Publication - First Edition - Jine 1985. 2. Valmiki Ramayanam - Yuddha Kandam - Sarukka 22 - Sethubhandha 3. Kamba Ramayanam - Yuddha Kandam - Sethubhandhanappadalam 4. Abhidanakosam - The Tamil Classical Dictionary - Yazhppanattu Manippai A.Muthuthambi Pillai - Asian Educational Services - First Published 1902 5. Namadu Tamil Nadu Series 9 - Ramanathapuram Mavattam - Somalay - Pari Nilayam Chennai, May 1972 - P.33 6. Pullai Andati - Thanjai Saraswati Mahal Publication 116 - 1967- P.2,Price 1.25 7. Namadeepa Nikandu - Idavargam - P.159 - verse 54 (Nurpa 530) 8. Namadeepa Nikandu - Idavargam - P.153 - verse 33 (Nurpa 509) 9. Kalaikkalangiyam - Volume 5 - Tamil Valarcci Kazhakam, Chennai - First edition - 1958 - P.207 Sethu bandhanam in epics 2.1. Valmiki10 describes the construction of ‘Sethu’, which was built in a record time of 5 days under the leadership of Nala, the son of Viswakarma, in his Ramayana in 25 verses. Rama asks Nala to construct a dam on the sea to Srilanka, as advised by Samudraraja. Nala agrees and Vanaras who looked like high mountains went in all directions and brought mountain like rocks and stones. They brought trees, either cut or uprooted. The vanara sena uprooted rocks which resembled huge elephants, using machines and brought them to the seashore with the help of carrier vehicles. “The dam constructed by Nala who was as skilled and talented as his illustrious father, looked like milky way” says Valmiki. The joyous roar raised by the vanaras on completion of the dam silenced even the deadliest noise of the mighty ocean.11 92
    • 2.2. Valmiki further describes in another verse in the words of Rama returning with Sita in a Pushpaka Vimana in ‘Yuddha Kanda’ of Adyatma Ramayanam as follows: “Here is the Sethubandhana worshipped by three worlds. It is a holy place. It has the ability to relieve all the greatest of sins. It is here ‘Mahadeva ’ [Lord Siva] extended his whole hearted support to me earlier.”12 2.3. After initiating the construction of Sethu, Rama installed the idol of ‘Rameshwara’, and worshipped. Then he said, “Those who worship Rameshwara by observing fasting and prayer, those who perform ‘abhiseka’ with the holy water of Ganga brought by them from Kasi - all their sins will be thrown in to the mighty ocean. They will attain ‘moksha’ (Mukti) without any doubt”, says Adhyathma Ramayanam about Sethu bandhanam and its holiness.13 2.4. Ananda Ramayanam14 describes the beginning of the construction of the dam as follows: ‘Rama, who hails from Raghu Dynasty, installed the idol of Lord Vinayaka after explaining about the dam to Nala. Then Rama worshipped the 9 stones installed by Nala, representing the 9 planets. He then conveyed his willingness to Hanuman about installing a wonderful linga in his name where the three seas meet. 2.5. “The mountain like dam ‘Nalasethu’ was built as per the orders of Rama” says Vyasa in his Mahabharatha15. 10. Hastimathran Mahakaya: Basha Namsa Mahabala: Parvathamsa Samuthpatya yanthrai: parivahantisa - Valmiki Ramayanam - Yuddha Kandam Sarukkam 22 - Verse 58 11. Valmiki Ramayanam - Sarukkam 22 - Slokas 51 - 75 12. Yetat drushyate tirtham sagarasya mahatmana: Sethubhandha idikyathan Trilokyenapi poojitham Yetat pavitram paramam mahapataka nasanam Atra purvam Mahadeva: Prastha Maharotaprabhu: - Valmiki Ramayanam - Yuddha Kandam - 126.20.1 13. Adyathma Ramayanam - Yuddha Kandam 14. Ananda Ramayanam - Sarakandam (Sarukkam 10 - verse 69) 15. Mahabharatham 3.267.45 93
    • Puranas 3.1. Bhagavatha Puranam says that Balarama went to the dam which can purify even the greatest sins. ‘Samudhram Se Mahamath Mahapataka Nasanam’, Says 16 Bhagavatha . 3.2. Padma Puranam17 says, “this sethu was built by me within 3 days with the help of Vanara Sena.” 18 3.3. Skanda Purana says the mere vision of Rama Sethu will relieve one from Samsara bandhas. Thus, Epics and Puranas say that the dam Sethu was built in the middle of the sea by Rama and say that it is a holy one. Literature 19 4.1. There is a reference to Sethu in Tamil Sangam classic Akananuru which compares the sound made in a village to that of the sound heard from the sea near ‘Thriuvanaikkarai (Adi Sethu), in Pandya Kingdom which was built by Rama, the great warrior. (Annex 16 provides instances of reference to Ramayana and Setu in Sangam literatures, an authentic evidence for the tradition related to Setu as a sacred tradition and a heritage of a civilization). 4.2. Periyavaccan Pillai, one of the Vaishnava Acharyas, writes as “Malaiyal Anaikatti Marukarai eri”20 in his Pasurappadi Ramayanam. 4.3. ‘Sethu Puranam’ also known as ‘Sethu Mahatmiyam’ - a sangam classic which contains45 Sarukkas and 3438 verses and which was written by Niramba Alagiya Singar (16th Century) and Verified by Nallur Arumuga Navalar of Jaffna and published by Chidambaram Saivapprakasa Vidyasala Dharmaparipalakas. Sri Ponnusamy Thevar of Ramanathapuram Samasthanam took up the efforts to publish this work to which Sodashavadanam Subbiraya Chettiyar, a deciple of Tiricirapuram Mahavidvan Meenatchisundaram Pillai has contributed the ‘Sirappuppayiram’. In that, he has sung in praise of Sethu as - ‘ Titara oduum Sethu Manmiyatthai’. Another poet Kumarasami Pillai has mentioned as ‘Sethumanyamana vadanul thannai’. In the prayer song of ‘ Sethu Puranam’ the dam built by sri Rama has been mentioned as “Tuya Seer Ramasethu”. 94
    • Sethu’s greatness and its holiness has been sung in 64 verses in the chapter ‘Sethu Sarukkkam’. The necessity to built Sethu for Sri Rama has been explained in Sethu Vanda Sarrukkam’. After explaining’ ‘Sethu Madhava Sarukkam’, Sethu Yatthirai Sarukkam’, the benefits reaped in merely thinking about Sethu and taking the holy 21 dip are detailed in 151 verses. Tala Puranam (Volume I) in Tamil literature also mentions about ‘Sethu puranam’. 16. Bhagavathapuranam 10th Skandam - Sarukkam 79 17. Padmapuranam - Srustikandam - Sarukkam 38 18. Skandapuranam - Sethu Mahatmiya Kandam - Sarukkam 1 19. Venverkavuriyar tonmudukodi Muzhangirum Bouvam Irangum Mundrurai velpor Raman arumaraik kavittha Palvizh alampola oliyavindandru iv vazhungal ure - Akananuru - Kalirt - Padal 70 20. Vizhineer Ilankai aruli, saranpukka kuraikadalai adalampal marukaeidu, tollai vilangu ani seyya malayal anaikatti marukarai eri Pasurappadi Ramayanam - Yuddhakandam - Periyavaccan Pillai 21.Tamizhil Talapuranangal (Part 1) Dr.V.R.Madhavan - Tamil University - Thanjavur - P.193 - Tirumala Tiruppati Devasthana Aid - 1995 4.4. It remained a traditional practice of Tamilians to give lectures in praise of ‘Sethu Puranam’. Arumuga Navalar, who was one among those, has also written it in manuscripts. It was printed and published by Sri M.R.M.S. Ramalinga Pillai of Rameshwaram for 12 anas in the name of ‘Sethu Makattuvam’ (Rameshwara Manmiyam). This “Sethu Puranaprasangam’ which begins with Suta Puran is narrating the story to Sounakadi Rishis in Naimisaranyanm is a dialogue based one22. 23 4.5. “Anaiyalai Sulkadal Andradainadu Vazhiseithavan” says Thiru Gnana Sambandar in his Tevaram. 4.6. Thirunavukkarasar in his Tevaram sings the construction of the dam by Sri Rama as “ Kadalidai Malaikal Tammal Adaittu Mal Karumam Muttri”.24 All the above references from epics puranas and literature - written in different languages, in different times stand testimony to the fact that the dam ‘Sethu’ was built as per the orders given by Sri Rama to Nala. 95
    • 5.1. Sethu Nadu: The Samashthana of Ramanathapuram (Ramnad) was called as ‘Sethu Nadu only because of the very existence of ‘Sethu’. The king of this samashthana was known 25 as Sethupati , ‘Sethu Kavalar [Lord of the Cause way]. Thirupullani which is at a distance of 6 miles southeast of ‘Ramnad’ is known as Adisethu. Ramayana says Sri Rama appointed people from Maravar community to protect ‘Sethu’ and the people who come to take a holy bathe in it. One of the kings of ‘Sethupati dynasty’ constructed a town near ‘Thirupullani’. It was named as “Mugavai” as it stood as the gateway to reach ‘Sethu’. Later it became Ramanathapuram26. It is obvious that the kings of ‘Sethu’had longcherished tradition. Among them, : Adiraghunatha Sethupati, Jeyatunga Raghunatha Sethupathi,Ativeera Rahunatha Sethupati Varaguna Raghunatha Sethupati and 6 others are mentioned as the earliest ones of the Sethupati dynasty27. The names ‘Rahunatha’ and ‘Sethupati’ are attached to them, because of their relationship with Sri Rama [Who is also called Raghunatha] and the dam built by him. All the kings of this dynasty are called as ‘ Sethupati’ by the people of successive generations. It stands as a clear testimony to the existence of Rama Sethu and also to the point that all the kings of the ‘Sethupati’ dynasty ruled this area with great devotion and dedication28. 22. Inaiya Sethu Neeradinum, teendinum, idutanai egngnandru ninaivu seikinum kankinum, ketpinum, neengidun tuyarellam anaiyum atthanmayidum mayavan arul seyyum ac Sethutanai nikarppatondrillaiyam - tavaneri tazhaikkum andanarkalo - Sethubhandhana Makattuvam 23. Sanpanta Tevaram - verse 6 24. Thirunavukkarasar Tevaram - verse 3 25. Kalaikkalangiyam Volume 5 Tamil Valarccikkazhakam, Chennai - First Edition 1958 26. Rameshwaram (The Sacred Island) by Major H.A.Newell - Indian army - II edition 27. Abhidana Cintamani - A.Singaravelu Mudalaiyar - V.1628 The Setupatis of Ramnad - Page 126, by S.Thiruvenkatachari 28. Kizhavan Setupati - M.Manoharan, 1983, Setupatikal Varalaru - Chiranjeevi 1981 96
    • 5.2. Things have changed dramatically since the inception of Ramanathapuram district in 1910. The finalization of manual about the political, geographical, industrial, agricultural, economical growth, besides information about population its distribution, transport, revenue, ports, holy places got a final shape after passing through several stages in 1968. It was released only in 1972 after making necessary changes. The foreword to the district manual of Ramanathapuram released by the then Chief Minister of Tamilnadu, Sri M. Karunanidi is note worthy. “The task of collecting and publishing the district manuals was given top priority after independence and was given preference in the five year plans. The District manual of today is not only a guide furnishing mear information. It is of great help containing several important topics and can be used very much as a source of great reference. A manual throws light on our age and traditions and long cherished culture. It serves as a mirror which reflects our society. Once having a thorough knowledge of the manual we can march forward keeping our head high and be proud of our well nurtured culture and traditions, which has been passed on to the successive generations by our ancestors. Only the passage of time will reveal the necessity of such manuals, which help us to know about our country and people. By publishing the district manual of Ramanathapuram district, a commendable work has been completed. It is all the more commendable since it contains detailed information about the district and its people. I am sure that this manual will be of immense help to the rulers and people who are involved in welfare projects and research work. -M. Karunanidhi 14.06.1972 The above cited literary and historical evidences prove the existence and the greatness of ‘Rama Sethu’, which are acceptable to even today’s politicians. Once knowing its greatness it becomes a necessity to take all steps to protect it. 97
    • Annex 7 Scientific evidence for ancient human activity in the project area Scientific evidences point to human activity in ancient times on both sides of Ramsetu as found by Dept. of Earth Sciences and ocean technologists of Bharatam. This area should be declared a protected monument under the Protection of Monuments Act and declared as a World Heritage site by the Govt. of India and advised to UNESCO… [quote]… During the glacial Maxima, the sea level was about 130 m lower than what is today. This is evidenced both on the east and west coast of India, where submerged Corals occur around 1 to 2m water depths and they are clear indicators of near coastal zone… However, during the last ice age (18,000 year BP) the entire area from India to Sri Lanka and further south and southeast were contagious land due to the highly lowered sea level. As and when there were major melting of glaciers both from the mountains as well as from the Antarctic area, the sea level was rising. These features were well recorded and studied by several submerged Coral formations all over the world. About 7,300 years BP the sea level in the southern part of India was about 3.5 m above the present level. This has been deciphered by Dr.P.K.Banerjee, who studied Corals that found in the land part as of Pamban, Rameswaram, and Tuticorin etc. Subsequently the sea level went down and rose +2m above than what is today between 5000 to 4000 years B.P. .. In almost of all the boreholes between 4.5 and 7.5m the borehole intersected hard formations, which have been found to be calcareous sand stones and corals. It is to be pointed out here that Corals are comparatively less dense, compact and somewhat easy to carry. The Corals normally grow atop compact to hard formations for the purpose of stability, and as the sea level rises, the Coral colony grows up vertically to maintain water depth of 1 to 2 m, which is essential for their survival. It is always observed that these Corals have continuous vertical growth like Lakshadweep, Andaman's, and Gulf Of Mannar Natural Park. These have always been found to grow on hard rock bottom. In the case of Adams bridge area we observe that the Coral formations hardly occur 1 to 2.5m in length and resting on loose marine sands. Most of these coral rock pieces are seem to be rounded pebbles of corals. These things appear to point these coral rock pieces and pebbles have been transported and placed in these areas. Since the calcareous sand stones and Corals are less dense than normal hard 98
    • rock and quite compact, probably these were used by the ancients to form a connecting link to Sri Lanka, on the higher elevations of the Adams bridge ridge and this is analogous to modern day causeway. In support of these observations there are many archaeological and geoarchaeological evidences on the south east coast of India around Rameswaram, Tuticorin and the western coast of Sri Lanka. There are raised Teri formations that supported a rich assemblage of mesolithic – microlithic tools indicating the presence of strong human habitation and activity in these areas as early as 8000 to 9000 years B.P and as recent as 4000 years B.P. On Sri Lanka side there are indications of human habitation extending to late Pleistocene (about 13,000 B.P) based on bone and fossils of human and animal form. All these point to a flourishing human activity on both side of Adams Bridge and probably when the sea levels were just right the link between India and Sri Lanka could have been established. [unquote] Source: Dept. of Earth Sciences, Govt. of India (March 2007) http://hinduthought.googlepages.com/ 99
    • Annex 8 Geological and Geophysical Perspective of the Ramsetu Bridge S.Badrinarayanan Director (Retd), Geological Survey of India, Formerly, coordinator, Survey Division, National Institute of Ocean Technology, Ministry of Earth Science, Pallikkaranai, Chennai. Preamble There has been lot of interesting debate on the Ramsethu Bridge said to be connecting south-eastern part of India with Sri Lanka. Most of the arguments are based on assumptions and partial data obtained from NASA satellite images. No doubt these images are astounding as they bring out the marine geomorphology of the area. But as stated by NASA official themselves “Remote sensing images from orbit cannot provide direct information about the origin or age of a chain of island and cannot determine whether humans were involved in producing any of the patterns seen”. However several other images including close range aerial photographs, bathymetric charts etc were examined. The observations given below are based purely on hard field work including geological and geophysical surveys coupled with logging and interpretations of several cores and boreholes carried out in the area. Introduction In order to understand the subject a little amount of geological information is essential. The earth has not always been very warm or cold. There have been periods of extreme cold climate that occurred in the geological past wherein most of the surface of the earth was covered with vast quantities of ice and these periods are referred to as ICE AGES. The recent one occurred during the late Pleistocene age eighteen thousand years before present. During this period the sea level was lowered by about 130m than what is today. Due to this the land area was extending far greater distances than what is today. The Indian subcontinent was extending far beyond Sri Lanka. Subsequently due to global warming and other causes there have been periodic rises in sea level submerging several of these additional areas. About 7300 BP there was a major spurt in sea level rise which resulted in submergence of several areas all over the world. Geology of the area The Indian side of the land mass adjoining the Ramsethu originates from the south- eastern end of the Rameswaram Island. The island itself is a long linear sandy terrain providing calcareous sand stone and occasional coral formation. This area was devastated by a major cyclone in 1956 when part of the area was lost to the sea. The Rameswaram Island connects the main land through the Pamban area. Further to the west charnocites and granites are exposed. In order to understand the geology and the structure of the area in the marine domain several surveys were carried out onboard a research vessel with underwater sensor. These included multibeam echo sounder survey, sub bottom profiler survey, side scan sonar and magnetic survey. The entire area was sampled by deploying 100
    • vibro core, mainly to the north of the Adams Bridge (Ramsethu). These surveys generally required at least 4m of water surface so that the equipments are not damaged. The bathymetric survey brought out the fact that the Adams bridge, with a shallow ridge varying in width from 1.6 to 4km. This part of the area could not be surveyed due to these factors. However it was seen from the geological and geophysical surveys that the Adams Bridge is a fault zone rising suddenly from the Bay of Bengal side to the north. This scarp like feature is the shallowest part of the Adams Bridge. Even though it is mostly submerged in water there are series of Small Island like features which project above the sea surface. In all about 10 boreholes have been drilled along this ridge up to the international boundary. Out of the ten boreholes six boreholes were in the sea. The result of the bore logging clearly showed about 1.5m to 4m marine sand followed by 1.5 to 2.5m of boulders of calcareous sand stones and coral followed again by marine sand to various depths end at continuous compact formation. It is a well known fact that the coral reefs can only form in clean and unpolluted water and these being marine organisms required firm and compact formation as foundation. The presence of loose marine sand below these clearly indicates that these are not natural and are transported. Unless somebody has transported and dumped them these could not have come there. Some of the boulders are so light they could float on water. Apparently whoever has done it has identified it as light and strong boulders to make it easy for transportation. Since the boulders are strong they can withstand lot of weight. There are corals that are present on land in Rameswaram, Pamban and Tuticorin areas. A study of them and dating them clearly show that the age of the coral is about 7300 years and the sea level at the time was 4m above the present day sea level. Then there has been a lowering of sea level and between 4 to 5 thousand years BP the sea level was about 1.5m above present day sea level. The 1.5 to 2.5m thick zone of corals and rock presently occurring at shallow depths in the sea atop the crustal portion of the Adams Bridge appeared to be an ancient causeway. The ancients appeared to have taken advantage of the crustal portion of the ridge to avoid dumping of lot of volume of rocks and boulders and also utilized less dense but compact rocks and boulders so that these could be carried easily to greater distances and at the same time strong enough to withstand pressure from above both by human as well as sea forces. The Adams Bridge is a wonderful divide separating the turbulent Bay of Bengal in the north and the calm and tranquil waters of Gulf of Mannar to the south. Due to the tranquil condition very rare species of corals and other sea organisms grew in the Gulf of Mannar, whereas the species are completely absent in the Bay of Bengal side. The turbulent tide and the associated sediments caused by the severe cyclone that occur every year in the Bay of Bengal are prevented by the ridge of the Adams bridge and there by protect the delicate conditions in the Gulf of Mannar. The dredging and opening of the Adams Bridge in all likelihood may cause the sediments and turbulent tide to enter the tranquil Gulf of Mannar and choke and destroy the delicate coral island. As an alternative dredging in the Pamban or nearby areas and bypassing the Adams bridge could be favourably considered like other inter sea canal (Panama Canal) locks could be provided both in the palk bay side and Gulf of Mannar side so that such calamities could be prevented. Acknowledgement 101
    • The author thanks D. Venkata Rao, Project Director and B.Sasisekaran, Scientist ‘D’ of National Institute of Ocean Technology for the help extended in the preparation of the paper and power point presentation. Illustration: Proposed Navigational Channel Alignment – Sethu Samudram Project- Drilled Borehole Locations. Differences between Rama Setu and terraces near Kodiakkarai This is in response to Kalaignar Karunanidhi’s comments of May 22, 2007 about a possible land-link between Kodiakkarai (Point Calimere) and Jaffna (Yaashpaanam). It may be seen from the following article by GG Vaz et al., that the formation of Rama Setu was due to subsidence (The full article is annexed): Current Science, Vol. 92, No. 5, 10 March 2007, pp. 671-675 Subsidence of southern part of erstwhile Dhanushkodi township, Tamil Nadu – evidences from bathymetry, side scan and underwater videography The causes for the formation of Rama Setu from Dhanushkodi are entirely different from the fault lines at work near Kodiakkarai resulting in accumulation of shoals. It is a welcome development that Kalaignar is talking geology. It will be necessary to entrust the review to a team of scientists from many disciplines as recommended by the Ramanathapuram Judge before attempting to damage or destroy Rama Setu. It should be noted that the Gulf of Mannar is a clearly identified ocean, distinct from the Bay of Bengal because of the existence of Rama Setu (Adam’s bridge). Such a land-bridge does NOT exist between Kodiakkarai and Jaffna. That such a land-bridge may be formed in the future is speculation assuming that the sea regressions and 102
    • sedimentations will follow a secular pattern. The ocean currents and counter-currents in the Gulf of Mannar are far too complex to make such speculative conjectures. Kodiakkarai is also called Point Calimere. It is a wild life sanctuary. The depth of the ocean between Dhanushkodi and Talaimannar is on an average three fathoms, while the depth between Point Calimere and Kanakesanturai is over eight fathoms. Only a lower sea level by over 8 metres would have connected the land between Bharatam and Srilanka through this route. Explanations offered for the existence of a land bridge between Dhanushkodi and Talaimannar are: eustatic changes and rising coastlines occurring concurrently. (Akkaraju Sarma, 1978, Paleoecology of Coastal Tamilnadu, South India: chronology of raised beaches, in: Proceedings, American Philosophical Society, Vol. 122, No. 6, p.416). The conclusions of this study are: “There are several marine terraces in Tamilnadu whose elevations have been mentioned. The younger marine terraces probably are late Pleistocene formations. The higher marine terraces are of marginal archaeological interest. The tectonically derived (uplift-associated) terraces are of extreme archaeological interest. Regions with spot elevations of 3 and 6 m are especially interesting, as the archaeological material in these provided clues to chronology of the uplift. The 3 and 6 m uplifted areas were found to be associated with archaeological sites ranging from the second century B.C. to the first century A.D., and sites extending from the seventh century A.D. to the thirteenth century A.D. These terraces and uplifted areas are all overlain by quaternary deposits in the districts of Kanyakumari, Tirunelveli, and Ramnad. Some of these deposits are composed of corals, limestones mixed with organic debris, and marine shells. In the coastal Tanjore district, these coastal terraces are uniquely different, being mostly alluvial sediments deposited over beach ridges. In South Arcot and Chingleput, beach sands predominate which, as such, obliterate the uplift evidences.” In this study which attempts to study palaeoecology of regressions of the sea in the past, one point stands out: the distinct differences in the coral terraces of the Rama Setu (between Dhanushkodi and Talaimannar) area and the area between Kodiakkarai (Point Calimere) and Jaffna (Yashppaanam). 103
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    • The coast from Pamban gap to Kodiakkarai is in the sandy shallows of Palk Bay. This ancient lighthouse at Kodiakkarai is said to have been built by Chola kings about 1000 years ago. This could be the port from which ships might have sailed towards Indonesia and Straits of Malacca during the days of King Vijaya. This lighthouse was destroyed by the tsunami of 2004. The ancient names for Kodiakkarai on the the shallow waters of Palk Straits were Tirumarai, Vedaranyam Kaadu. The forest (kaadu) commences from ‘Agastiyam Palli’ in Vedaranyam. “The swamp suports a major commercial fishery and also nursery for many marine fishes. It is an important spawning ground for shrimps (Penaeus indicus, P. monodon), crabs (Scylla serrata) and fishes.The site supports the IUCN red-listed birds Pelecanus philippensis, Phoenicopterus minor, Limnodromus semipalmatus, and Eurynorhynchus pygmaeus, the mammal Antilope cervicapra and the reptiles Chelonia mydas, Lepidochelys olivacea, Eretmochelys imbricata. This ecosystem regularly supports about 30,000 flamingos and tens of thousands of other waterbirds and also supports over 1% of the individuals in the south Asia population of Pelecanus philippensis (200-300 individuals).” http://www.casmbenvis.nic.in/sdnp/convention.htm Point Calimere, another name for Kodiakkarai is associated with Ramayana. “The highest point of the cape, at an elevation of 4 m., is Ramarpaadam, meaning, ‘Rama’s feet’ in Tamil. A stone slab which bears the impressions of two feet, and is presumed to be the place where Lord Rama stood and reconnoitered Ravana’s kingdom in Sri Lanka, which lies 48 km. to the south.” http://mycountryonline.com/about/Calimere.htm Mirror: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calimere One geomorphological view is that sedimentation explains the accretion of shoals near Kodiakkarai. http://www.geocities.com/sethushipcanal/Geomorphology.htm The tsunami of Dec. 26, 2004 which struck the coast near Nagapattinam has significantly 105
    • altered the sea-depths near Kodiakkarai. http://www.recoverlanka.net/docs/Ignorance.pdf Journal of Geodynamics Volume 31, Issue 5, July 2001, Pages 481-498 A qualitative assessment of seismic risk along the Peninsular coast of India, south of 19°N Pronab. K. Banerjee a, G. G. Vazb, B. J. Senguptac and A. Bagchic a C/1, Greenwood, 315B, Upen Banerjee Road, Calcutta 700, 060, India b Marine Wing, Geological Survey of India, Vishakhapatnam 530023, India c Marine Wing, Geological Survey of India, Calcutta 700 016, India Received 12 July 2000; revised 10 May 2001; accepted 10 May 2001. Available online 13 August 2001. Abstract Many earthquakes have been recorded from the coastal margin of the Indian peninsular shield during the last 200 years. Largely made up of Precambrian assemblages with variable cover of Jurassic to Quaternary sedimentary rocks and Cretaceous-Eocene volcanics, the peninsular shield was long held to be aseismic. Recent measurements, however, show that this continental fragment is being pushed northeastward by the Carlsberg and Central Indian ridges; and the Indo-Myanmar subduction zone is exerting vigorous slab pull towards the east. Repeated cycles of sea level change during the Quaternary have also induced continuing hydro-isostatic adjustment due to variable melt water loading in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian sea. All these forces produce space-time fluctuations of strain around many small to large faults, which occur in the upper crust of the shield. Some of the faults have been intermittently active (during the past 100 kyr); others were active earlier. Although the Shillong plateau and the associated hill ranges of northeastern India and Myanmar are subject to the maximum seismic hazard, the peninsular coast is also vulnerable to intermittent seismicity. We present illustrative evidence of some active faults, which are recognisable (a) on coastal land by displaced Pleistocene weathered cover, hot springs, leakages of native mercury and allochthonous geochemical anomalies of base metals and (b) offshore below the inner shelf by horst-shaped uplifted segments and intra-formational slump folds on and below the top shallow seismic (3.5 kHz) reflector. On the other hand, there are long stretches of the east coast at Vishakhapatnam and Manappad Point, which do not show active faults. Step-like marine terraces, which occur up to+6 m above the low tide level (LTL) preserve records of relative sea level fluctuations during the Holocene and the Last Interglacial. In such sectors, absence of tectonic disturbance during the last 100 ka is also corroborated by lateral continuity of shallow seismic reflectors below the inner shelf over many kilometers. Since authentic historical (200–1000 years B.P.) records of seismicity along the Peninsular coast are virtually unavailable, the likely recurrence interval between earthquakes in each sector cannot be gauged. We, therefore, propose a scale of seismic risk, based on geometry of the mappable faults and available seismic records of the last two centuries. These could be used in combination to rank the densely populated coastal tracts sector-wise. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6V9X-43RC9TP- 3&_user=10&_coverDate=07%2F31%2F2001&_rdoc=1&_fmt=&_orig=search&_sort 106
    • =d&view=c&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=201 0131e5698e1f0aa21720c4da5008e Current Science, Vol. 92, No. 5, 10 March 2007, pp. 671-675 Subsidence of southern part of erstwhile Dhanushkodi township, Tamil Nadu – evidences from bathymetry, side scan and underwater videography G. G. Vaz1,2,*, M. Hariprasad1, B. R. Rao1 and V. Subba Rao1 1Operations: East Coast-II, Marine Wing, Geological Survey of India, NH-5, Marripalem, Visakhapatnam 530 018, India 2Present address: Operations: West Coast-II, Marine Wing, GSI, Kurekal Buildings, Edappally, Cochin 682 024, India The southern part of erstwhile Dhanushkodi township, Tamil Nadu, experienced subsidence and submergence during AD 1948–49. Shallow bathymetric and sidescan surveys together with sampling and underwater videography confirm the extent and quantum of subsidence. The studies reveal that a vertical tectonic movement (fault) parallel to the coastline with a displacement of ~ 5 m led to the subsidence of the southern part of the township. This fault movement has occurred 57 years ago and hence could be the latest neo-tectonic movement ever recorded along the east coast of India. Keywords: Dhanushkodi, neo-tectonic activity, subsidence, submergence, vertical displacement. THE coastal zone, the link between ocean and land margins, constantly experiences several dynamic processes, which at times result in various hazards to human beings. Such processes include erosion, accretion, upliftment, subsidence,submergence and their combined influence. The extreme southeastern part of Rameswaram Island (Figure 1), known as Dhanushkodi Foreland, is well- known in Hindu mythology and is of religious importance. Highintensity storms and cyclones have frequently attacked this area and led to vast material and human losses in the past, particularly the cyclone of AD 1964. The erstwhile Dhanushkodi township (presently in ruins) underwent subsidence during the mid-twentieth century. This communication documents the marine geo-scientific investigations at Dhanushkodi area and provides evidences for coastal subsidence in the southern part of the erstwhile Dhanushkodi township in the Gulf of Mannar (Figure 1) and geological reasons for subsidence during AD 1948– 49. Bathymetry, side scan and sampling surveys provide an insight into subsidence through underwater videography. The southeastern tip of peninsular India assumes much importance from a geological point of view. However, till date, geological studies around Dhanushkodi are meagre, except for limited geomorphological observations by Geographical Information System (GIS)-based animation1 and IRS-ID LISS III data around Adam’s Bridge Islands2. Due to the shallow nature of the sea, no research vessel could attempt to negotiate the area around Dhanushkodi for marine geo- scientific studies. Geomorphologically, the onshore area is known for its extensive stretch of longitudinal sand dunes and sandy beach. The Geological Survey of India made systematic geomorphological studies of Rameswaram Island and drilling operations from Dhanushkodi to Adam’s Bridge Islands, and also obtained information through enquiries from the local elderly people who were eyewitnesses to the subsidence. The studies reveal that the southern side of erstwhile 107
    • Dhanushkodi township facing the Gulf of Mannar underwent severe erosion and subsidence between AD February 1948 and January 1949. Consequently, the southern part of the township comprising places of worship, residential areas, roads, etc. over a width of ~ 500 m along the N–S direction and a stretch of 7 km along WNW–ESE direction (Figure 1) was destroyed by wave attack and submerged to the depth of 5 m. Following this destructive event, then the District Administration has dumped granite blocks and made a series of wooden piles down to ~ 10 m all along the coastline, in order to arrest further wave attack and eventual loss of land. The granite blocks and wooden piles were subsequently covered by littoral sand. Field studies and local enquiries confirm that the whole Dhanushkodi township prior to subsidence (i.e. AD 1948–49) was at an elevation of > 3 m above the present sea level. The unaffected northern part of the township even now remains at ~3 m above sea level. The sequence of events suggests that submergence of the township might have taken place due to the fast rate of subsidence of the southern part (presently under the sea). Additional observations, subsequent to local enquiries, aroused a keen interest to evaluate the geological reasons, if any, for such rapid rate Figure 1. Map showing area of study and subsidence. of subsidence. Hence, detailed surveys were conducted in the offshore area of about 12 ´ 2 km between Kothandaramar temple and Dhanushkodi tip (Figure 1), by engaging a locally available mechanized wooden boat of 8 m length, fitted with portable echosounder. Bathymetric observations were made continuously along shore-perpendicular and parallel tracks at 250 m interval, whereas between Mukundarayarchatram (locally known as Mundramchatram) and Dhanushkodi tip, the tracks were maintained at 125 m interval. This network enabled collection of closely spaced bathymetric data from the reported area of subsidence. The shot points at every two-minute intervals were recorded using hand-held (Micrologic) Global Positioning System (GPS). The tide- corrected depths by harmonic interpolation were plotted on the base chart. The bathymetric contour map (Figure 2) and a 3D computer model of the seafloor (Figure 3) indicate a scarp face aligned parallel to the coast from Mukundarayarchatram to Dhanushkodi tip, indicating the actual extent and magnitude of subsidence (Figures 2 and 3). It is evident that a fracture (fault) in the offshore has occurred along WNW– ESE direction parallel to the coastline at ~ 2.5 m of the present water depth. The vertical displacement of the inferred fracture (fault) is estimated to be ~ 5 m (Figures 2 and 3). This fracture (fault) detected at the offshore zone appears to be sympathetic to the regional lineament known as Vaigai lineament (WNW– ESE) along Vaigai river course in the adjoining mainland. The area of subsidence is characterized by pinnacled surface (Figure 3), probably projections of civil structures such as residential blocks, places of worship, etc. According to the local divers, the scarp face is of 3–5 m relief and observations on samples picked up by divers from the scarp face confirm the occurrence of coarse-grained beach rock. Seabed samples collected by van Veen grab between 1 and 10 m water depths at 100 m grid revealed that the area is generally covered by a veneer of coarse to medium shelly sand and silty sand with a few small pockets of clayey sand and clay beyond 6 or 7 m depths. There is paucity of sediment input into the offshore domain. Further, due to submergence of coastal zone by faulting, the shoreline migrated landward, the pre-existing coastal plain deposits were reworked by near-shore waves and current activity to form a widespread deposit of shelly sand and silty sand over the submerged township and facilitated filling-up of depressions between features or structures. Hence, only the relatively elevated structures are practically devoid of sediment cover. Due to depth and draft constraints, side-scan survey was carried out along three shore-parallel tracks between 5 and 10 m depths by deploying GSI Research Vessel R.V.Samudra Shaudhikama. The records exhibit linear features and elevated hard objects that could possibly be roads and collapsed residential buildings, respectively (Figure 4 a– d). On the basis of bathymetric records, potential locations were selected and skilled 108
    • divers from local fishermen community were deployed to retrieve materials from the zone of subsidence. Construction materials like bricks, chiseled coral blocks, clay tiles, asbestos roof sheets, etc. were recovered. Subsequently, locally available wooden boats (8 m length) and professional underwater divers (Diving Consultancy, Tuticorin, Tamil Nadu) with underwater still and movie cameras attached with on- board monitor, were engaged for systematic and detailed underwater videography. For every diving operation, a marker buoy was tied on the location of objects or structures for detailed video recording and retrieval of materials. Locations of every buoy were recorded on-board using hand-held GPS. On reaching the important spots, the divers manually cleaned the objects, videographed and retrieved materials of significance. Underwater video observations confirmed one main road with collapsed houses of the erstwhile Dhanushkodi township at 5 to 7 m depth. The above observation matches well with the area of subsidence picked up from the bathymetric map prepared exclusively for this purpose. A number of objects located and retrieved during the underwater videography could be further classified into (i) E– W-aligned road, rectangular brick-wall structures suggesting collapsed houses/buildings, (ii) circular and semi-circular brick walls considered as the full or a portion of ring wells, (iii) walls constructed by chiselled coral blocks (Figure 5 a), (iv) well-chiselled and faceted pillars made from shelly sandstone, possibly parts of temple structure and (v) a variety of household articles such as metal tumbler, broken frying pan, sanitary iron pipes, etc. (Figure 5 a and c). The granite blocks and wooden piles laid along the coastline to arrest further erosion have now been exposed due to recent seasonal coastal erosion (Figure 5 d). After collection of all scientific data, local Tamil Nadu State Land Records were consulted for old survey records pertaining to this area, to gather additional information about the past habitation. Comparison of the maps of Dhanushkodi village prepared by State Revenue authorities prior to (AD 1948–49) and after the (AD 1950) subsidence has facilitated demarcation of the actual area of subsidence by survey numbers, names of the important buildings, etc. (Figure 6). Land records prepared after 1950 provide yet another proof of subsidence of the southern part of erstwhile Dhanushkodi township. The observations mentioned above substantially prove the subsidence and submergence of erstwhile Dhanushkodi township. Reportedly, when sea retreated to about 500 m from the present coastline prior to the arrival of recent tsunami wave in December 2004, the subsided and submerged part of the township got exposed for a while. This rare sight has been witnessed by the local fishermen community. The local inhabitants believed that coastal erosion was the main causative factor for the destruction and subsidence of the township in mid-twentieth century. The present marine geo-scientific observations, however, confirm a vertical movement parallel to the coastline with a displacement of ~5 m in the offshore segment (Figures 2 and 3), which actually led to the subsidence of the southern part of the township. Such neo- tectonic movements at various places along the east coast of India have been reported3–6. Normally, neotectonic movements in the coastal zone may be discerned by the study of palaeo-strandlines. However, the area of study does not show any indication of such strandline positions, except a wide Aeolian belt along the coast. Under this scenario, other critical sets of data pertaining to nearshore bathymetry, side scan, sampling and underwater videography have provided valuable clues in support of the subsidence phenomenon through neo-tectonic activity. Usually it is not an easy task to confirm the evidence of Holocene faulting within the unconsolidated sediments. The present evidence of faulting off erstwhile Dhanushkodi township is documented with geo-scientific clues from offshore field evidences, and hence stands out as a unique study. The fault throw of ~5 m discerned in the study area may be only a surficial manifestation of a deep-seated and major faulting at depth, whose actual and destructive effect has not reached the surface. The faulting has understandably caused severe loss to the coastal zone, its 109
    • inhabitants and their properties. This event of subsidence along with field evidence of faulting does not warrant any dating method to prove the age of this faulting, because according to eyewitnesses and landsurvey records, this geological event occurred during AD 1948–49. Most likely, this Dhanushkodi fault is the latest neo- tectonic movement ever recorded along the east coast of India. 1. Ramasamy, S. M., GIS-based animation of changing terrain features in Rameswaram Island, Tamil Nadu, during the last century. Proc. Indian Natl. Sci. Acad. Part A, 2003, 69, 251–256. 2. Bahuguna, A., Nayak, S. and Deshmukh, B., IRS views the Adam’s Bridge (bridging India and Sri Lanka). J. Indian Soc. Remote Sensing,2003, 31, 237–239. 3. Loveson, V. J., Rajamanickam, G. V. and Anbarasu, K., Remote sensing application in the study of sea level variation along the Tamil Nadu coast. In National Seminar on Sea Level Variation and its Impact on Coastal Environment (ed. Rajamanickam, G. V.), Tamil University, Thanjavur, 1990, pp. 179–197. 4. Vaz, G. G. and Banerjee, P. K., Middle and late Holocene sea level changes in and around Pulicat Lagoon, Bay of Bengal, India. Mar. Geol., 1997, 139, 261–271. 5. Vaz, G. G., Mohapatra, G. P. and Hariprasad, M., Geomorphology and evolution of barrier-Lagoon coast I part of north Andhra Pradesh. Mem. Geol. Soc. India, 2002, 49, 30–40. 6. Banerjee, P. K., Vaz, G. G., Sengupta, B. J. and Bagchi, A., A qualitative assessment of seismic risk along the Peninsular coast of India, south of 19°N. J. Geodyn., 2001, 31, 481–498. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS. We thank P. C. Mandal, Director General (Rtd.), GSI and P. C. Srivastava, Dy. Director General (Rtd.), Marine Wing, GSI for their keen interest and permission to take up this work. We also thank B. K. Saha, Sr. Dy. Director General, Marine Wing, GSI, Kolkata for support and permission to publish this paper. Encouragement given by Dr B. L. Narasayya, Director (CT), Marine Wing, GSI, Visakhapatnam is acknowledged. http://www.ias.ac.in/currsci/mar102007/671.pdf Journal: Geo-Marine letters, Vol. 2, Nos. 3-4, September 1982, pages 171-177 William Vestal1 and Allen Lowrie1 (1) Geology and Geophysics Branch-Code 7220, U.S. Naval Oceanographic Office NSTL Station, 39522, MS Abstract Two suites of slumps from opposite margins of the Gulf of Mannar, between Sri Lanka and southern India, have met and coalesced. The “Eastern Comorin” Slump is the more coherent of the two with a length of 70 to 100 km. The “Colombo” side slump consists of two to four blocks 15 to 35 km in length. Both slump-suites decrease to the south. A paleoslump underlies the western toe of the East Comorin Slump at a depth of some 800 meters. To the south, an enlarging and deepening submarine canyon marks the area of slump coalescence. http://www.springerlink.com/content/m602j3k746342lnl/ Bathymetry (sea-depth) map near Rama Setu http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/mgg/image/2minsurface/1350/45N045E.jpg These images were generated from the ETOPO2v2 (2006) database. ETOPO2v2 was created at NGDC from digital databases of seafloor and land elevations on a 2- 110
    • minute latitude/longitude grid (1 minute of latitude = 1 nautical mile, or 1.852 km). http://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/mgg/image/2minrelief.html See also: http://tuticorinport.gov.in/geo_report.doc http://hinduthought.googlepages.com/kodiakkarai.doc 111
    • Annex 9 A Catalog of Tsunamis in the Indian Ocean By B. K. Rastogi and R. K. Jaiswal, National Geophysical Research Institute, Hyderabad, India, pages 128-143 http://www.sthjournal.org/253/rastogi.pdf SUMMARY A catalog of about ninety tsunamis in the Indian Ocean has been prepared from 326 BCE to 2005 AD. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries tsunamis have occurred once in three years or so. Sunda Arc is the most active region that has produced about seventy tsunamis. The source zones of the remaining tsunamis are Andaman- Nicobar islands, Burma-Bangladesh region in the eastern side, while Makran accretion zone and Kutch-Saurashtra region are in the west. These zones are subduction zones or zones of compression. GENERAL DESCRIPTION Tsunamis are not as common in the Indian Ocean as in the Pacific. As compared to average eight tsunamis per year in the Pacific, Indian Ocean has one in three years or so. A catalog of tsunamis presented here includes about ninety tsunamis in the Indian Ocean out of which over 70 tsunamis are from Sunda. Some 20 tsunamis are reported from rest of the Indian Ocean, though source region of five of them may be in Sunda arc. Hence, eighty percent of the tsunamis of the Indian Ocean originate in Sunda arc covering Java and Sumatra. Figure 1 shows the locations of significant tsunamis and Figure 2 shows the annual number. Table 1 gives the list of tsunamis from Sunda arc and Table 2 from rest of the Indian Ocean. The Sunda belt extends northward to Andaman-Nicobar Islands where a few tsunamis have originated. Further north, Bangladesh-Myanmar coast has produced some well-documented tsunamis. Makran coast in the northwest is known to have generated at least one major tsunami. Karachi-Kutch coast region has also produced some possible tsunamis. Cause of tsunamis is mostly thrust-type earthquakes with vertical uplift in subduction zones and zones of compression. The seismic gap areas along the subduction zones are possible sites of future great earthquakes. Along the Sunda arc, great earthquakes of magnitude 8.5 or greater can repeat every two centuries at a site but smaller tsunamigenic earthquakes can repeat every few decades. Along Sunda Arc volcanic eruptions have also given rise to large tsunamis. There appears to have been a hiatus in tsunami generation in this region, with a significant gap in events occurring from around 1909 through 1967 (Tsunami Laboratory, Novosibirsk, Russia). The Carlsberg spreading ridge or old oceanic ridges like Chagos Ridge and Ninetyeast Ridge with normal faulting can give rise to local tsunamis. Many of the tsunamis and their effects are described in some details. However, tsunamis from Java region are not described in detail as they did not affect the countries other than Indonesia. TSUNAMIS FROM SUNDA ARC REGION Newcomb and McCann (1987) compiled historical records of earthquakes and tsunamis from Sunda arc region. Heck (1947), Berninghausen (1966), Litzin (1974) and USGS catalogs list some more…The Sumatra part of the Sunda arc had been much more active than Java part. Detailed description of some of the significant earthquakes and the tsunamis caused by them are given below: 112
    • Earthquakes/Tsunamis in Sumatra 11 Dec 1681. “Strong earthquake” shook the Sumatra mountains near Mentawai Archipelago and a seaquake was observed. 3 Nov 1756. Many houses collapsed in several towns of Sumatra near to Enganno Is. No tsunami was reported. No date, 1770. Severe damage in the same general area as the 1756 event, but a tsunami was reported. 10-11 Feb 1797, Mw 8.2. A large earthquake and tsunami was observed in ports on the coast of the mainland and on the Batu Is. Waves of great force near Padang (0.99S 100.37E) The town was inundated and more than 300 fatalities occurred (Heck, 1947). 18 Mar 1818. A very strong shock associated with both tsunami and seaquake near to Enganno Is. 24 Nov 1833. The great earthquake of magnitude > 8.7 had maximum intensities and generated a tsunami over 550km along the south central coast of Sumatra that also caused much damage to the coast. Numerous deaths occurred in W. Sumatra. This earthquake ruptured the plate margin from the southern island of Enggano to Batu. 5-6 Jan 1843, Mw 7.2. The earthquake caused severe damage, liquefaction and many fatalities in Nias Is. A tremendous tsunami wiped out towns on the east coast of Nias and mainland. The damage and associated tsunami were very localized. The village of Barus (2N 98.38E) and Palan Nias (Nias Is. 1.1N 97.55E) reported large waves on two days. 11 Nov 1852. Earthquake near Nias generated seaquake. 16 Feb 1861. A great earthquake of magnitude 8.5 ruptured a major segment of the plate boundary in northern Sumatra. The tsunami that was generated extended over 500km along the arc. Tsunami destroyed southern towns of Batu Is., and a town on the southwest side of Nias experienced a tsunami height of 7m. The earthquake and tsunami caused 1000s of fatalities at west coast of Sumatra. Two aftershocks on March 9 and April 26, 1861 also caused tsunamis. There was no major shock for almost 50years. The historic record shows that the strongest tsunami was associated with the volcanic eruption of Krakatau in Indonesia on 27 Aug. 1883. The 35m-high tsunami took a toll of 36,000 lives in western Java and southern Sumatra. Tsunami waves were observed throughout the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, the American West Coast, South America, and even as far away as the English Channel. On the facing coasts of Java and Sumatra the sea flood went many kilometers inland and caused such vast loss of life that one area was never resettled and is now the Ujung Kulon nature reserve. Subsequent local tsunamis in the Sunda Strait were generated by the 1927 and 1928 eruptions of the new volcano of Anak Krakatau (Child of Krakatau) that formed in the area. Although large tsunamis were generated from these recent events, the heights of the waves attenuated rapidly away from the source region, because their periods 113
    • and wavelengths were very short. There was no report of damage from these more recent tsunamis in the Sunda Strait (George, 2003). According to ancient Japanese scriptures, the first known supercolossal eruption of Krakatau occurred in the year 416 A. D. – Some have reported it to occur in 535 A.D. The energy of this eruption is estimated to have been about 400 megatons of TNT, or the equivalent of 20,000 Hiroshima bombs. This violent early eruption destroyed the volcano, which collapsed and created a 7 km wide submarine caldera. The remnants of this earlier violent volcanic explosion were the three islands of Krakatau, Verlaten and Lang (Rakata, Panjang, and Sertung). Undoubtedly the 416 A.D. eruption/explosion/collapse generated a series of catastrophic tsunamis, which must have been much greater than those generated in 1883. The time of tsunami with wave height of several meters that affected Tamilnadu in India matches with this early Krakatau eruption. However, there are no other records to document the size of these early tsunamis or the destruction they caused. Subsequent to the 416 A.D. eruption and prior to 1883, three volcanic cones of Krakatau and at least one older caldera had combined again to form the island of Rakata. 4 Jan 1907, Ms 7.6. This event caused tsunamis that devastated Simeuleu, Nias and Batu Islands of Sumatra and extended over 950km as measured by tide gauges. 25 June 1914. M7.6 earthquake destroyed buildings in southern Sumatra. No tsunami was reported. 1935: Mw 7.7. Tsunami in SW Sumatra. The 2004 Sumatra-Andaman earthquake of magnitude 9.3 generated 30m-high tsunami when upward slip of the ocean floor was up to 15m along a 1300 km long and 160 to 240km wide rupture. It was the deadliest tsunami killing about 300.000 people in 13 countries situated all around the Indian Ocean. The earthquake had created large thrust ridges, about 1500m high, which collapsed in places to produce large landslides, several kilometers across. The force of displaced water was such that blocks of rocks, massing millions of tons apiece, were dragged as much as 10km. An oceanic trench several kilometers wide was also formed. The run up in the India was 5m or less. Magnitude 8.7 great Sumatra Earthquake of 28 Mar. 2005 with an upward movement of 2m of seafloor in an area of 400kmx100km generated locally damaging 4m-high tsunami that struck nearby islands and coastal Sumatra and was recorded by tidal stations in the Indian Ocean (asc.India.org). The earthquake and tsunami killed 665 people. The tsunami struck Nias Island with wave heights of 4-5 m. A 3- 4m wave struck the islands of Banyak and Simeulue and the Singkil district of Sumatra. According to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center (PTWC) tide gauges in the Indian Ocean recorded minor wave activity in the Australian Cocos Island (10-22cm), the Maldives (10cm), and Sri Lanka (25-30cm). TSUNAMIS THAT AFFECTED THE INDIAN REGION AND VICINITY Though rare, tsunamis have hit India earlier. The tsunamis in the Indian region and vicinity are listed in Table 2. The oldest record of tsunami is available from November 326 BCE earthquake near the Indus delta /Kutch region that set off massive sea waves in the Arabian Sea. Alexander the Great was returning to Greece after his conquest and wanted to go back by a sea route. But a tsunami due to an earthquake of large magnitude destroyed the mighty Macedonian fleet (Lisitzin, 1974). 114
    • Poompuhar is a town in the southern part of India in the state of Tamil Nadu. It was a flourishing ancient town known as Kaveripattinam that was washed away in what is now recognized as an ancient Tsunami in about 500 CE. This time matches with the Krakatoa explosion. There is mention of tsunami effect in scriptures at Nagapattinam in 900 CE that destroyed a Budhist monastery. According to literature available in the library of Thondaiman kingdom in Puduckottai, Tamilnadu, it was during the reign of Raja Raja Chola that waves had washed away the monastery and several temples and killed hundreds of people. There is evidence of this in Kalaki Krishnamurty’s book “Ponniyin Selvan- The Pinacle of Sacrifice”. In the chapter “The Sea Rises”, the author explains how the sea had risen very high and the black mountain of water moved forward. The sea inundated warehouses and sheds and began to flow into the streets. Ships and boats seemed suspended in mid-air, precariously poised on the water peaks. The book also describes how an elephant was swallowed by the gushing water. Tsunami has been observed in the North Indian Ocean on the Iranian coast from a st th local earthquake between 1 April and 9 May 1008 (Murty et al., 1999). An earthquake occurred during 1524 A.D. off the coast of Dabhol, Maharashtra and. a resulting large tsunami caused considerable alarm to the Portuguese fleet that was assembled in the area (Bendick and Bilham, 1999). A tsunami is known to have occurred in the Bay of Bengal on April 2, 1762, caused by an earthquake in Bangladesh – Myanmar border region. The epicenter is believed to be 40 km SE of Chittagong, or 61 km N of Cox's Bazaar, or 257 km SE of Dhaka, Bangladesh. The shock caused severe damage at Chittagong and other areas on the eastern seaboard of the Bay of Bengal. The Arakan coast was elevated for more than 160 km. The quake also caused a tsunami in the Bay of Bengal. The water in the Hoogly River in Kolkata rose by two meters. The rise in the water level at Dhaka was so sudden that hundreds of boats capsized and many people were drowned. This is the earliest well-documented tsunami in the Bay of Bengal (Mathur, 1998). 1819 June 16, India, Kutch, Mw 7.8. Severe earthquake with large changes in the elevation of the land. The town of Sindri (26.6N 71.9E) and adjoining country were inundated by a tremendous rush from the ocean, and all submerged, the ground sinking apparently by about 5m (Macmurdo,1821) th An earthquake on 11 November 1842 near the northern end of Bay of Bengal caused a tsunami by which waters of the distributaries of the Ganges Delta were agitated. Boats were tossed about as if by waves in a squall of wind. 1845 June 19, India, Kutch. “The sea rolled up the Koree (Kori creek, 23.6N 68.37E) (the east) mouth of the Indus overflowing the country as far westward as the Goongra river, northward to the vicinity of Veyre, and eastward to the Sindree Lake,” (Nelson,1846) On October 31, 1847 the small island of Kondul (7°13’N 93°42’E) near Little Nicobar was inundated (Heck, 1947; Berninghausen, 1966) by an earthquake whose Mw, magnitude could have been >7.5 (Bilham et al. 2005). Mihir Guha (http://www.freejournal.net), former Director General of the India Meteorological Department, informed that a tsunami struck Sunderbans (Bangladesh) in May 1874, killing several hundred thousand people. It was result of an earthquake in Bhola district. Earthquake and tsunami both played havoc in vast 115
    • areas of Sunderbans, 24-Prganas, Midnapore, Barishal, Khulna and Bhola. Even Kolkata felt its impact. It was the same year that the meteorological center in Alipore was set up. However, no written record of such an earthquake or tsunami is available. Other minor tsunamis of height up to 2m hit the east coast of India in 1842 and 1861 (from Sumatra), 1881 (from Car Nicobar), 1883 (Krakatau), 1907 (Sumatra) and 1941 (Andaman). The 1881 Andaman earthquake of Mw7.9 caused 1.2-m high tsunami. Indonesian earthquake of 1907 registered about a meter high tsunami in India. Madras Port Trust recorded a 2m high tsunami due to the eruption of the Krakatau volcano in Indonesia on 27 Aug 1883. Andaman earthquake of Mw7.7 in 1941 registered a 1.5m high tsunami. Some of these tsunamis are described below: An earthquake of magnitude Mw 7.9 occurred at Car Nicobar Island on 31 Dec. 1881. A tsunami was generated by this earthquake in the Bay of Bengal. Though the run- ups and waves heights were not large, its effects were observed in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands and were recorded on the east coast of India. A meter high wave was recorded at Port Blair on South Andaman Island (Berninghausen, 1966). In the Nicobar Islands, the waves were less than 75 cm high. On the east coast of India, the tsunami first arrived at Nagapatinam at around 10:15 am local time (LT) with a 1.2m high waves. Tidal gauges at other locations recorded minor variations from normal tidal changes. The tsunami then struck the rest of the Tamil Nadu coast, first hitting Chennai and then progressing north toward Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh at 10:43 LT. Waves arrived at False Point on the Mahanadi delta in Orissa at 11:15 LT and at Pamban in the Gulf of Mannar at 11:32 LT. Waves less than 0.3 metres high were recorded later in the day in West Bengal by tidal gauges at Dublat at the mouth of the Hoogly river at 13:00 LT and then in Diamond Harbour at 15:10 LT (Ortiz and Bilham, 2003). Waves attributed to this tsunami were also observed at Batticaloa and Trincomalee on the east coast of Sri Lanka (Berninghausen, 1966). No tsunami was reported from tidal gauges in Myanmar (Ortiz and Bilham, 2003). A tsunami was noticed at Dublet (mouth of Hoogly River) near Kolkata due to earthquake in the western part of the Bay of Bengal in 1884 (Murty et al. 1999) that reached up to Port Blair. June 26, 1941 Andaman earthquake had a moment o o magnitude Mw 7.7 and was located at 12.1 N and 92.5 E (Bilham et al., 2005). A tsunami was triggered by this earthquake in the Bay of Bengal. Height of the tsunami was reported to be of the order of 0.75 to 1.25 meters. At the time no tidal gauge was in operation. Mathematical calculations suggest that the height could be of the order of 1m. This tsunami was witnessed along the eastern coast of India. It is believed that nearly 5,000 people were killed by the tsunami on the east coast of India. Local newspapers are believed to have mistaken the deaths and damage to a storm surge, however, a search of meteorological records does not show any storm surge on that day on the Coromandel Coast (Murty, 1984). National dailies like the Times of India, which reported the quake's shaking effects, did not mention any deaths, either as a result of a storm surge or a tsunami. The deadliest tsunami prior to 2004 in South Asia was in November 1945, which originated off the Makran coast of Pakistan in the Arabian Sea and caused deaths as far as Mumbai. More than 4000 people were killed on the Makran Coast by both the earthquake and the tsunami. The earthquake was also characterized by the eruption of a mud volcano, a few kilometers off the Makran Coast, which are common features in Western Pakistan and Myanmar. It led to the formation of a four small islands. A large volume of gas that erupted from one of the islands, sent flames leaping quot;hundreds of metersquot; into the sky (Mathur, 1988). The most significant aspect of this earthquake was the tsunamis that it triggered. The tsunami reached a 116
    • height of 17m in some Makran ports and caused great damage to the entire coastal region. A good number of people were washed away. The tsunami was also recorded at Muscat and Gwadar. The tsunami had a height of 11.0 - 11.5 m in Kutch, Gujarat (Pendse, 1945). At 8:15am, it was observed on Salsette Island i.e Mumbai (Newspaper archives, Mumbai). It was recorded in Bombay Harbour, Versova (Andheri), Haji Ali (Mahalaxmi), Juhu (Ville Parle) and Danda (Khar). At Versova (Andheri, Mumbai), 5 persons who were fishing were washed away. At Haji Ali (Mahalaxmi, Mumbai), 6 persons were swept into the sea. At Danda and Juhu, several fishing boats were torn off their moorings. The tsunami did not do any damage to Bombay Harbour. Most persons who witnessed the tsunami said that it rose like the tide coming in, but much more rapidly. The height of the tsunami in Mumbai was 2m. A total of 15 persons were washed away in Mumbai. Mw 7.7, 1983 earthquake in Chagos Archipelago, was one of the strongest earthquakes ever recorded in the Indian Ocean. It occurred at 17:46pm UTC. The earthquake caused some damage (NEIC) to buildings and piers on Diego Garcia. Diego Garcia is part of the Chagos Archipelago. The 1983 earthquake spawned a tsunami in the region. In the lagoon, on Diego Garcia, there was a 1.5-meter rise in wave height and there was some significant wave damage near the southeastern tip of the island. A 40 cm wave was also recorded at Victoria, Seychelles. There was a large zone of discolored seawater observed 60 - 70 km NNW of Diego Garcia. Moment-tensor solution indicated normal faulting along an E-W plane at a depth of 10km with source duration of 34 sec. CONCLUSIONS The catalog prepared for tsunamis in the Indian Ocean includes about ninety tsunamis. Eighty percent of the tsunamis in the Indian Ocean are from Sunda arc region where on an average tsunamis are generated once in three years. In rest of the Indian Ocean tsunamis can be generated once in ten years or so. The Makran accretion zone of southern Pakistan has produced some tsunamis. The 28 Nov. 1945 (Mw 8.0) earthquake generated the last major tsunami in the Arabian Sea. Indus Delta and may be the Coasts of Kutch and Saurashtra are also potential zones for great earthquakes and tsunami. Tsunami was generated by an earthquake in 1762 in Myanmar and in 1874 by an earthquake near Bangladesh. The Chagos ridge has given rise to a local tsunami due to a normal earthquake of Mw 7.7 on 30 Nov. 1983 near Diego Garcia. This work was carried out under CSIR Emeritus Scientist Scheme. REFERENCES Bendick, R, and R. Bilham, (1999). A Search for Buckling of the SW Indian Coast related to Himalayan Collision, in Macfarlane, A., Sorkhabi, R. B., and Quade, J., eds., Himalaya and Tibet: Mountain Roots to Mountain Tops: Geol Soc Amer. Special paper 328. 313-322. Berninghausen, W. H., (1966). Tsunamis and Seismic Seiches reported from regions adjacent to the Indian Ocean, Bull. Seism. Soc. Am., 56 (1), 69-74. Bilham, R, R. Engdahl, N.Feld, and S.P. Sayabala (2005). Partial and complete rupture of the Indo-Andaman plate boundary 1847-2004, Seism. Res. Lett., 76 (3), 299-311. George Pararas-Carayannis (2003). Near and Far-Field Effects of Tsunamis Generated By the Paroxysmal Eruptions, Explosions, Caldera Collapses and Massive Slope Failures of The Krakatau Volcano in Indonesia on August 26-27, 1883, Science of Tsunami Hazards, 21 (4), 191-222. 117
    • Heck, N.H. (1947). List of seismic sea waves, Bull.Seism. Soc. Am., 37, 269-286. Lisitzin, E. (1974). Sea Level Changes, Elsevier Oceanographic Series, No.8, New York, 273pp. Macmurdo, Captain (1821). Account of the earthquake which occurred in India in June 1819, Edinburgh Phil.J. 4, 106-109. Mathur, S.M., (1998). quot;Physical Geology of Indiaquot;, National Book Trust of India, New Delhi. Murty, T. S., A. Bapat & Vinayak Prasad (1999). Tsunamis on the coastlines of India, Science of Tsunami Hazards, 17 (3), 167-172. Murty, T.S. (1984). Storm surges- meteorological ocean tides, Bull. Fisheries Research Board of Canada, Ottawa. Nelson, Captain (1846). Notice of an earthquake and a probable subsidence of the land in the district of Cutch, near the mouth of Koree, or the eastern branch of the Indus in June 1845, Geol.Soc. London, Quart. J.,2, 103. Newcomb, K.R. and McCann, W.R. (1987). Seismic history and tectonics of the Sunda Arc, JGR, 92 (B1), 421-439. Ortiz, M., and Bilham, R. (2003). Source Area and Rupture Parametres of the 31 December 1881 Mw=7.9 Car Nicobar Earthquake estimated from tsunamis recorded in the Bay of Bengal, J. Geophys. Res- Solid Earth, 108(4), ESE 11, 1-16. th Pendse, C. G. (1945). The Mekran earthquake of the 28 November 1945, India Met. Deptt. Scientific Notes, 10, 141-145. 118
    • Tsunamis on the coast lines of India by T. S. Murty,Baird and Associates Coastal Engineers Ottawa, Canada, A. Bapat, Sadashiv Peth, Puna, India Although the majority of the reported tsunamis are from littoral countries of the Pacific Ocean, there are a few cases of tsunamis in the Indian Ocean. The approximate length of the Indian coast is about 6000 kilometers. The coasts run from north to south and have two arms in the east and west with a tapering end at Kanyakumari. The tsunamigenic earthquakes occur mostly at the following three locations; (1) The Andaman sea, (2) Area about 400-500 kilometers SSW of Sri Lanka (Ceylon), (3) The Arabian Sea about 70-100 kilometers south of Pakistan Coast -- off Karachi and Baaluchistan. The oldest record of tsunami is available from November 326 BCE earthquake near the Indus delta/Kutch region. Alexander the Great was returning to Greece after his conquest and wanted to go back by a sea route. But an earthquake of large magnitude destroyed the mighty Macedonian fleet as reported by Lietzin (1974). The earliest record of tsunami is reported to be about 1.5 meters at Chennai (formerly Madras) which was created due to the August 8, 1883 Krakatoa volcanic explosion in Indonesia. An earthquake of magnitude 8.25 occurred about 70 kilometers south of Karachi (Pakistan) at 24.5 N and 63.0 E on November 27, 1945. This created a large tsunami of about 11.0 to 11.5 meters high on the coasts of India in the Kutchch region, as reported by Pendse (1945). An earthquake of magnitude 8.1 occurred in the Andaman Sea at 12.9 N and 92.5 E on June 26, 1941 and a tsunami hit the east coast of India. As per non-scientific/journalistic sources, the height of the tsunami was of the order of 0.75 to 1.25 meters. At the time no tide gauge was in operation. Mathematical calculations suggest that the height could be of the order of 1.0 meter. There are a few more cases of earthquakes of magnitude less than 8.0 which have given rise to some smaller tsunamis. Bapat, et al (1983) have reported a few more earthquakes on the coast of Myanmar (formerly Burma). http://iri.columbia.edu/~lareef/tsunami/ Summary account on historical background on Indian Ocean tsunamis Information relating to the submarine earthquake in between Aceh, Indonesia and Sri Lanka of the 26th of December, 2004 has been compiled here. This compilation archives much of the readily available scientific information. Aspects that were not immediately brought out by news reports were: The 9.0 Earthquake at 6.58 hours at the epicenter (and in Sri Lanka) led to a • sequence of 15 other quakes across the Andaman region. While earthquakes could not be predicted in advance, once the earthquake • was detected it would have been possible to give about 3 hours of notice of a potential Tsunami. Such a system of warnings is in place across the Pacific Ocean. However, there was no warning system in the Indian Ocean. In addition, coastal dwellers are educated in the Pacific littoral to get to high ground quickly following waves. However, those in the Indian Ocean were quite unaware. 119
    • Tsunamis are rarer in the Indian Ocean as the seismic activity is much less • than in the Pacific. However, there have been 7 records of Tsunamis set off by Earthquakes near Indonesia, Pakistan and one at Bay of Bengal. Earthquakes occur when any of the 12 or 13 plate collide at their boundaries. • The present collision is due to compression between the Indian and Burmese plates. Scientists now believe that one plate that comprised the landmass from India to Australia has broken up into two. The initial 8.9 eruption happened near the location of the meeting point of the Australian, Indian and Burmese plates. Scientists have shown that this is a region of compression as the Australian plate is rotating counterclockwise into the Indian plate. This also means that a region of seismic activity has become active in the South Eastern Indian Ocean. Tsunamis are not entirely unknown in Sri Lanka. For example, the Tsunami in • 1883 generated by the Volcanoes at Krakatoa led to a surge of at least 1 m in Sri Lanka. The damage was much less then. However, one difference was that this particular episode happened in the month of August. In the month of December, under the North-East monsoon, the Equatorial Indian Ocean jet propagates along the equator from Sumatra (near the epicenter of the quake) slightly to the South of Sri Lanka and to Somalia. This may be why the impact of the quake led to severe impacts in Sri Lanka. Once the large amount of pent-up energy in the compression zones of the • plate boundaries have been released, it takes another buildup of energy for another event of similar magnitude. This is unlikely in the short-term. However, in the future, Indian Ocean littoral regions should generate and pay attention to earthquake and tsunami warnings and be aware of the interplay of the seasonal oceanographic currents Details at: http://iri.columbia.edu/~mahaweli/climate.lk_mirror/tsunami/ 120
    • Tsunamis return after 60 years By N. Gopal Raj It is pell-mell near the Vivekananda Rock Memorial, Kanyakumari, where three passenger boats were washed ashore. - Photo: A. Shaikmohideen THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, DEC. 26. Tsunamis returned to devastate India after an interval of more than 60 years. The tsunamis of 1941 and, before that, of 1881 were set off by earthquakes in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Where the sea and the road merged. A scene on the Marina beach in Chennai. - AP The islands are earthquake- prone as they are close to the zone where the section of the earth's crust carrying India and Australia is sliding below the section that holds Asia. The two sections are converging at an estimated rate of 5.4 cm a year, according to a paper in the scientific journal, Current Science, last year. As the sections slowly slip past one another, strains develop at various points and they are released in the form of earthquakes. Today's undersea earthquake off Sumatra appears to have set off smaller quakes in the vicinity of the Andaman and Nicobar islands. At least one of them had a magnitude of over 7, according to data on the United States Geological Survey (USGS) website. Trigger earthquakes? The USGS data also showed that earthquakes in the Andaman and Nicobar islands had occurred up to 9 degrees northwards and 2 degrees westwards of the one in Sumatra. Tremors from the Sumatran earthquake might have caused quot;trigger earthquakesquot; at faults in and around the Andaman and Nicobar islands where strain had been building up, said C.P. Rajendran of the Centre for Earth Science Studies (CESS) here. Dr. Rajendran was the lead author of the Current Science paper. 121
    • The earthquake that occurred on June 26, 1941 is thought to have exceeded a magnitude of 8.5. quot;It is quite likely that the magnitude of this earthquake has been underestimated,quot; the authors said in their Current Science paper. The quake caused extensive damage in the Andamans, including bringing down the central tower of the infamous Cellular Jail where many freedom fighters were imprisoned. The earthquake set off a tsunami that inundated the western coast of the Andaman Island and then hit the Indian east coast, destroying property and killing people. The magnitude 7.5 earthquake of December 31, 1881 is thought to have occurred under the sea off the Car Nicobar Island. It too generated a tsunami. Nearly a dozen earthquakes bigger than magnitude 5 have occurred in the region since 1973, with the one over magnitude 6 occurring in January 1983, according to the Current Science paper. But data from the country's tide gauges, available from the mid-1970s, do not indicate that any tsunamis had occurred, said Satish Shetye, Director of the National Institute of Oceanography at Dona Paula in Goa. Although undersea earthquakes are the most common cause of tsunamis, submarine landslides, underwater volcanic eruptions and the large meteorities plunging into the sea can also set off these killer waves. A tsunami can race across the water at speeds of 500 to 1,000 km per hour. In the open ocean, however, the waves of a tsunami may be only 30 cm to 60 cm in height and can pass unnoticed. But as the tsunami nears a coastline and the water depth falls sharply, the waves slow down but gain in height. Series of waves A tsunami can be 10 to 20 m high when it hits the shore. One with waves almost half a kilometre high slammed into Alaska in 1958. Moreover, a tsunami is not one giant wave, but a series of waves that come ashore at intervals of 10 to 45 minutes. With nearly 800 of them recorded between 1900 and 2001, the Pacific Ocean is where the most tsunamis occur, and 17 per cent of them are generated in or near Japan. As a result, countries in and around the Pacific established a Tsunami Warning System. Seismic stations pinpoint the earthquakes while seafloor pressure recorders detect tsunamis even one centimetre high and promptly pass this data over satellite. All this information is combined with extensive computer modelling to find out which places could be at risk. Open sea tidal gauges would help in detecting if a tsunami had been generated, Dr. Shetye observed. Such gauges would be expensive and not easy to set up. http://www.hindu.com/2004/12/27/stories/2004122702951800.htm 122
    • Annex 10 Implications of damaging Rama Setu under international Law of the Sea The arbitrary choice of the medial line as the passage channel opens up serious concerns for national sovereignty and security and the arbitrary creation of an international boundary in what have always been considered to be Historic (Internal) Waters. The medial line was only an administrative boundary to delimit ownership of chank and pearl fishery areas between Bharatam and Srilanka and SHOULD NOT be converted into a de facto international waters boundary. “With a canal, the Navy’s proposed Rameshwaram base would be risked. Its training command at Kochi would be certainly compromised in a tsunami. India cannot have a repeat of its assets in the Andamans being gravely affected by the tsunami. As a rising power and with growing ambitions in the Indian Ocean, India has to safeguard its interests. ” (Annex 15 Project Disaster is a comprehensive critique of the project which exposes the entire coastline to risk and creates a navigational hazard.) The new channel alignment now being implemented was never considered by any of the previous committees since 1860 when Commander Taylor proposed a canal. The channel alignment will only satisfy the US interests as seen from the US Navy Operational Directive of 23 June 2005 which refuses to recognize India’s claim and Srilanka’s claim of the Gulf of Mannar and Palk Straits and Palk bay as Historic (Internal) Waters and sought to impose its military (naval) might by sending operational ships during 1993, 1994 and 1999. The US Directive says: “This claim(of historic waters) is not recognized by the United States. U.S. conducted operational assertions in 1993 and 1994, to Gulf of Mannar claim in 1999.” • This stance of USA is in direct contravention of United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (1958), Convnention of the Territorial Sea and Contiguous Zone recognizes HISTORIC Waters • Agreement between Sri Lanka and India on the Maritime Boundary between the two Countries in the Gulf of Mannar and the Bay of Bengal and Related Matters 23 March 1976 on Historic waters. It is a matter of serious concern related to National Sovereignty and Integrity, apart from security of the coastline which will be adversely impacted if the mid-sea passage opens up a funnel to absorb the energy of a next tsunami with incalculable devastation and destruction of Kerala and Tamilnadu coastline apart from the desiccation of the nation’s Thorium reserves (as placer deposits on the beach sands) crucial for the nation’s nuclear programme. (See appended article on how placer deposits are accumulated due to ocean currents on the west of the Rama Setu which divides the two oceans). a) India and Sri Lanka have consistently treated Palk Bay, Gulf of Mannar and Palk Straits as 'historic' and 'internal'. b) USA does not recognize this claim, has always protested against these, and considers the waters as 'international' and rejects the 'historic' claim too. c) India , by choosing a Setu Samudram Channel alignment running VERY close to international waters, involving damage the Ramar bridge (called 123
    • Adam's Bridge) is going back on its earlier claims of waters being historic waters. d) This view of historic waters also means Sri Lanka is free to do what it likes on its side of the waters. e) A more serious situation arises by keeping the alignment close to the 'international' waters. Coast guard will be handicapped in protecting the channel from the Srilanka side since coast guard vessels will have to constantly get into international waters. f) It will make eminent sense in terms of the juridical regime of historic and internal waters to choose an alignment close to Pamban island WITHOUT damaging the Ramar Bridge (Adam's Bridge). The relevant extracts from UN documents are given below. Juridical Regime of Historic Waters, including Historic Bays Bottom of Form last update: 30 June 2005 The first United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (1958) adopted, in paragraph 6 of article 7 of the Convention of the Territorial Sea and Contiguous Zone, a provision to the effect that its rules on bays quot;shall not apply to so-called 'historic' baysquot;. [1] The Conference also adopted on 27 April 1958 a resolution requesting the General Assembly to arrange for the study of the juridical regime of historic waters, including historic bays. [2] The General Assembly thereafter adopted resolution 1453 (XIV) of 7 December 1959 ( E, F, S, R , C , A), which requested the International Law Commission, as soon as it considers it advisable, to undertake the study of the question of the juridical regime of historic waters, including historic bays, and to make such recommendations regarding the matter as the Commission deems appropriate. The Commission, at its twelfth session (1960) requested the Secretariat to undertake a study of the topic, and deferred further consideration to a future session. [3] A study prepared by the Secretariat was published in 1962. [4] Also in 1962, the Commission, at its fourteenth session, decided to include the topic in its programme, but without setting any date for the start of its consideration. [5] At its nineteenth session (1967), the Commission examined the advisability of proceeding actively with the study of this topic. The Commission's report (which also dealt with the topic quot;Right of asylumquot;) summarized the views expressed as follows: quot;Most members doubted whether the time had yet come to proceed actively with either of these topics. Both were of considerable scope and raised some political problems, and to undertake either of them at the present time might seriously delay the completion of work on the important topics already under study [...]quot;[6] [1] United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 516, p. 210. [2] Official Records of the United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea, vol. II, Plenary Meetings , (United Nations publication, Sales No.: 58.V.4, vol. II), p. 145. [3] See Yearbook of the International Law Commission, 1960, vol. II, , p. 180, document A/4425, para. 40. (see Analytical Guide ) [4] Ibid., 1962, vol. II, p. 1, document A/CN.4/143. (see Analytical Guide) [5] Ibid., p. 190, document A/5209, para. 60. (see Analytical Guide) [6] Ibid., 1967, vol. II, document A/6709/Rev.1, para. 45. (see Analytical Guide) http://untreaty.un.org/ilc/summaries/8_4.htm#_ftnref2 124
    • Paragraphs 4 to 6 of Article 7 of the Convention of the Territorial Sea and Contiguous Zone read as follows: 4. If the distance between the low-water marks of the natural entrance points of a bay does not exceed twenty-four miles, a closing line may be drawn between these two low-water marks, and the waters enclosed thereby shall be considered as internal waters. 5.Where the distance between the low-water marks of the natural entrance points of a bay exceed twenty-four miles, a straight baseline of twenty-four miles shall be drawn within the bay in such a manner as to enclose the maximum area of water that is possible with a line of that length. 6.The foregoing provisions shall not apply to so-called quot;historicquot; bays, or in any case where the straight baseline system provided for in article 4 is applied. Section 7 of President of the Republic of Srilanka in Presidential Proclamation of 15 January 1977 in pursuance of Maritime Zones Law No. 22 of 1 September 1976 reads as follows: (7) (i) that the historic waters of Sri Lanka shall comprise the areas of sea in the Palk Strait, Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar bounded by: (a) the coast of the mainland of Sri Lanka; (b) the maritime boundary between Sri Lanka and India as defined in Section 8 of the Maritime Zones Law, No. 22 of 1976; (c) the arc of Great Circle between the following positions defined by latitude and longitude in the Gulf of Mannar: (i) 08° 15' 0quot; North, 79° 44' 0quot; East, (ii) 08° 22' 2quot; North, 78° 55' 4quot; East; and (d) the arc of Great Circle between the following positions defined by latitude and longitude in the Palk Strait: (i) 09° 49' 8quot; North, 80° 15' 2quot; East, (ii) 10° 05' 0quot; North, 80° 03' 0quot; East; (ii) the historic waters in the Palk Bay and Palk Strait shall form part of the internal waters of Sri Lanka; (iii) the historic waters in the Gulf of Mannar shall form part of the territorial sea of Sri Lanka. http://www.un.org/Depts/los/LEGISLATIONANDTREATIES/PDFFILES/LKA_1977_Procl amation.pdf Agreement between Sri Lanka and India on the Maritime Boundary between the two Countries in the Gulf of Mannar and the Bay of Bengal and Related Matters 23 March 1976 The Government of the Republic of Sri Lanka and the Government of the Republic of India, Recalling that the boundary in the Palk Strait has been settled by the Agreement between the Republic of Sri Lanka and the Republic of India on the Boundary in Historic Waters between the Two Countries and Related Matters, signed on 26/28 June, 1974, And desiring to extend that boundary by determining the maritime boundary between the two countries in the Gulf of Mannar and the Bay of Bengal, Have agreed as follows: …Article 5 (1) Each Party shall have sovereignty over the historic waters and territorial sea, as well as over the islands, falling on its side of the aforesaid boundary. 125
    • (2) Each Party shall have sovereign rights and exclusive jurisdiction over the continental shelf and the exclusive economic zone as well as over their resources, whether living or non-living, falling on its side of the aforesaid boundary. (3) Each Party shall respect rights of navigation through its territorial sea and exclusive economic zone in accordance with its laws and regulations and the rules of international law. http://www.un.org/Depts/los/LEGISLATIONANDTREATIES/PDFFILES/TREATIES/LKA- IND1976MB.PDF Document:- A/CN.4/143 Juridical Regime of Historic waters including historic bays - Study prepared by the Secretariat Topic:Juridical régime of historic waters, including historic bays Extract from the Yearbook of the International Law Commission:- 1962 , vol. II 38. In summary, the concept of quot;historic watersquot; has its root in the historic fact that States through the ages claimed and maintained sovereignty over maritime areas which they considered vital to them without paying much attention to divergent and changing opinions about what general international law might prescribe with respect to the delimitation of the territorial sea. This fact had to be taken into consideration when attempts were made to codify the rules of international law in this field, i.e., to reduce the sometimes obscure and contested rules of customary law to clear and generally acceptable written rules. It was felt that States could not be expected to accept rules which would deprive them of considerable maritime areas over which they had hitherto had sovereignty. http://untreaty.un.org/ilc/documentation/english/a_cn4_143.pdf 126
    • Justice Krishna Iyer’s letter to Prime Minister 127
    • Attachment to Justice VR Krishna Iyer’s letter addressed to the Prime Minister New Delhi, 29 March 2007 S. Kalyanaraman, Ph.D., Director, Sarasvati Research Centre, Former Sr. Exec., Asian Development Bank, 3 Temple Avenue, Chennai 600015 Tel. 044 22350557 To Hon’ble Chief Justice of Supreme Court of India, Respected Balakrishnan ji, Supreme Court of India, New Delhi Sub: Public Interest Litigation requesting suspension of work on Sethusamudram Channel Project (SSCP); request that this letter and attachments be treated as PIL petition Attached note details the serious situation created by the choice of a channel alignment for SSCP without taking into account the impact of tsunami of the type which struck the coastline of Bharatam on Dec. 26, 2004. Ramsethu in fact saved the coastline of Bharatam reducing the impact of the last tsunami. If the present alignment is continued, an enormous energy of the next tsunami will be absorbed through this channel and result in the destruction of Kerala. Further, the creation of an artificial boundary between Srilanka and India in the Indian Ocean will adversely impact the livelihood of coastal people who will be prevented from crossing the channel boundary. On 8 March 2005, Prime Minister’s Office raised 16 objections including the observations of the world-renowned tsunami expert, Prof. Tad S. Murthy of Canada who has been enaged as an expert by the Govt. of Inda to set up a tsunami-warning system in the country. Prof. Murthy is firmly of the opinion that this present alignment will destroy Kerala and most of the coastline of southern Bharatam. These concerns and the impact of a tsunami should be subjected to detailed, multi- disciplinary evaluation before work on a channel is resumed using any one of the other five alternative channels available (including the one recommended by GOI steering committee 1996) which will NOT involve destruction of Ramasethu. There is also the issue of thorium and other rich mineral deposits close to the Ramsethu in Kerala thorium sands. The entire region should be subjected to geological exploration to utilize these mineral resources which will have a profound impact on the country’s nuclear program according to the website of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre. Thanking you for your consideration and with the highest respect to your Lordship, Yours sincerely, S. Kalyanaraman kalyan97@gmail.com 128
    • Realignment of Sethusamudram Channel Project for national security On 8 March 2005, Prime Minister’s Office raises 16 objections to the channel project (including the views of Prof. Tad S Murthy and the imperative of evaluating impact of tsunami). On 23 June 2005, US Navy issues an operational directive, refusing to recognize Bharatam’s and Srilanka’s claims of historic waters. On 30 June 2005, Chairman of the Project provides a back-of-the-envelope, cavalier response to PMO On 2 July 2005, PM and UPA Chairperson inaugurate the project. There is something fishy in the state, apparently acting under US pressure (apart from some US intelligence operatives meddling in the issue – pursing US interests in the indo-us nuke deal). There has been a criminal neglect in hasty decision-making with little concern for security and safety of the coastline of Bharatam and the livelihood of Coastal people and utter disdain for the heritage of Sethu mandiram in Hindu civilizational ethos. Introduction As of 19 March 2007, as claimed in the government website, 81.84% dredging work has been completed on Palk Bay I portion (13.57 kms.); and 1.42% on Adam’s bridge (the name was given by James Rennell, the first Surveyor General of British India, but traditionally called Ram Sethu,)(35.05 kms.); while work is yet to commence on Palk Bay II segment (40.68 kms.). That the Sethu meant a bridge of 48 km. shoals is well-known. It has also been attested in 1747, 1788 and 1804 maps, apart from NASA and Indian Remote Sensing satellite images. The map of 1788 prepared by an Australian botanical explorer, available in Sarasvati Mahal Library, Thanjavur, refers to it as Ramar Bridge. The 1747 map shows Ramancoil I (meaning: Rama Mandir in Rames’waram). Request for suspension of project work on Adam’s bridge, pending scientific/strategic impact analyses Further work on Adam’s bridge should be stopped, project work should be suspended for the following reasons to facilitate a detailed scientific, technical, strategic review and request that a multi-disciplinary expert team be constituted as recommended by the Judge of Ramanathapuram Court (including marine archaeologists, experts from Ministry of Science and Technology and Indian Navy) to realign the channel based on oceanographic studies and taking into account, geostrategic implications: the project should have been designed to incorporate tsunami protection • structures along India’s coastline which was impacted by the devastating tsunami of Dec. 26, 2004 which killed over 200,000 people in the region between Straits of Malacca and Park Straits and Gulf of Mannar; the alignment has been arbitrarily determined without any consultations with • experts and evaluation of serious environmental and security impacts, without a detailed scientific evaluation of the impact of tsunami which struck on December 26, 2004; serious dereliction of responsibility by the Chairman, Tuticorin Port Trust • (TPT) who gave flippant, telegraphic answers to the queries raised on 8 March 2005, by Prime Minister’s Office. 129
    • Words of the great American Judge Justice Cardozo are very relevant in this context of utter disregard for ‘due process’ in designing and executing a project of this importance: 'Means unlawful in their inception do not become lawful by relation when suspicion ripens into discovery'. Order re-evaluation of alternative alignments with reference to tsunami impacts It may be seen from the map (Fig.1), that there are five other alternative alignments which had been considered since 1961 and which do NOT involve the destruction of the Ram Sethu. In fact, the alignment suggested by a Steering Committee and slightly modified by NEERI in 1998 should have been the basis for the SSCP. There is no explanation as to why this alignment was given up and an arbitrary line was drawn on the map close to the international water boundaries (See Fig. 2 showing the channel alignment in relation to International Waters boundary). Serious concerns raised by Prof. Tad S Murthy and other scientific issues One of the queries raised by PMO related to the views of Prof. Tad S. Murthy and the failure to evaluate the impact of a tsunami on the chosen alignment. Prof. Murthy is a world-renowned expert on tsunamis and had been engaged by Govt. of India (Min. of Science and Technology) to set up a tsunami warning system. It is disturbing that his views have been ignored as may be seen from the comments made by him in an email communication on Feb. 21, 2007 which casts serious aspersions on the conduct of Chairman, TPT. (See Annex 1) Enquiry demanded against Chairman, Tuticorin Port Trust The serious queries raised by Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on 8 March 2005 were responded to by Chairman, TPT on 30 June 2005 (as seen from the government website), without any consultations with NEERI of Nagpur and NIOT of Chennai (who were responsible for environmental impact and bathymetry analyses and evaluations). And within two days, thereafter, without any detailed review, the project has been inaugurated. This raises concerns of the absence of due diligence in preparing a project of such national and international significance and utter disregard for the concerns expressed about the destruction of Kerala if work continues on the present alignment of the channel. In my view, an investigation should be ordered on the Chairman, CPT who has acted in a manner unbecoming of the office he holds, with a blatant dereliction of responsibility in a public office. I am also deeply concerned that Prime Minister’s Office did NOT apply their mind in re- evaluating the project and failed to obtain expert evaluation on the off-the-cuff, cavalier answers provided by Chairman, TPT. In one answer, Chairman, TPT says: “The present alignment is considered based on the bathymetry to reduce the dredging distance of the canal and the dredge material. The alignment suggested by Steering Committee is passing near the Shingle island which is only 12Km. from the alignment…” This is a mis-representation hiding the fact that the alternative alignments in fact provide for a shorter distance for maritime traffic. It should also be noted that the samples taken by NIOT during bathymetry studies should have been subjected to detailed geological investigations with particular reference to nuclear mineral contents. That the Chairman TPT did not get such investigations done is a dereliction of duty. SSCP is unlike Panama or Suez Canals; it is a channel under the ocean 130
    • Extreme caution is warranted because SSCP is unlike the Panama or Suez Canals which are land-based canals while the present channel alignment is mostly under the ocean subjected to extreme currents, periodic cyclones and now, tsunami. This repeated assertion by a scientist apprehending destruction of Kerala if the present alignment (Fig. 3 Chosen alignment in relation to path of tsunami) is not altered should have been subjected to a careful multi-disciplinary review. I am sorry to bring to your notice that such a review has not been done, thus, seriously impairing national security. Imperative of realignment of channel to avoid destruction of Kerala coast Aligning it northwestwards will certainly mitigate the impact of the next tsunami. Avoiding the alignment which cuts through the Adam’s bridge will ensure that the bridge continues to act as a barrier against the next tsunami (which will flow from east and west, get deflected by the bridge; which will flow from west to east after circumnavigating Srilanka, will again get deflected by the bridge). This is how the impact on the west coat in southern Kerala will get minimized with the continued presence of the Sethu, kept intact without an intruding channel. World Heritage Site and millennia-old sacred monument, Sethu mandir I take strong exception to the Union Minister for Shipping calling those expressing concerns about SSCP as ‘anti-nationals’. The proposed channel alignment involving the destruction of Ram Sethu, hurts the sentiments of millions of people who look upon Ram Sethu as Sethumandir, a pilgrimage site, a sacred monument, a temple. Participating in the destruction of this age-old temple, which should be declared as a World Heritage Site, is a-dharma and an affront to Bharatiya traditions. (See Annex 2 with excerpts from Ramayana and Mahabharata). It is the responsibility of the State to preserve and protect this monument, this civilizational heritage. This is mandated by Art. 51-A of Indian Constitution. Implications for nation’s nuclear programme and under-sea mineral resource mapping In the course of my interactions with scientists, I have learnt that since Ram Sethu is an ancient geological formation with shoals being constantly formed by ocean currents, and being close to the thorium sands of Kerala coastline, the geological significance of the entire region should be studied in detail with particular reference to India’a nuclear programme initiatives. (Annex 3) Strategic and maritime implications When several alternative routes that do not destroy the very ancient monument of Ram Sethu are available, why was an alignment arbitrarily decided upon which cuts across the Ram Sethu, ignoring the views expressed by environmentalists, seismologists, oceanographers and concerns of people living along the coastline? Was the Indian Navy consulted on geostrategic maritime implications (of sea-lanes between Straits of Hormuz – Persian Gulf – and Straits of Malacca – Singapore— close to Diego Garcia and the Trincomalee base with very low-frequency radio waves to monitor submarine movements), before the project was inaugurated? Why destroy a barrier which had, in fact, saved the coastline of Bharat during the last 131
    • tsunami? Why not use the opportunity to re-assert India’s geo-strategic responsibility in guarding the sealanes? (See Annex 4) It is imperative that the historic waters should continue to be recognized as such despite pressures from the US. See a map showing the present channel alignment and intl. medial line. This alignment should be CHANGED immediately since the choice of the alignment is arbitrary, apparently under US pressure which does NOT recognize historic waters and without evaluating scientifically the impact of a tsunami if this alignment is implemented. quot;The mood is grim among the fishermen of Rameswaram, Mukundarayapuram, Dhanushkodi, and Pamban in Ramanathapuram district and Thracepuram in Tuticorin district. If a substantial number of them firmly oppose the project today, it is because they fear that once the canal is a reality, it will become an unofficial boundary line on the sea between India and Sri Lanka. The catch is that it is in the Sri Lankan waters that fish thrive. The canal would seal their entry into those waters for fishing, they fear. quot; http://www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl2201/stories/20050114005902400.htm Arulanandan is right. [quote] 132
    • In Rameswaram, fishermen belonging to various associations who had gathered inside a hut near the fishing jetty, make clear their opposition to the Sethusamudram project. R. Suresh, 38, president of the Minority Communities Fishermen's Association, says, quot;We looked upon the canal as a dream project. But now we know the details and realise that it will ruin our livelihood.quot; At Pamban, some distance away, U. Arulanandam, president, Singaravelar Fishermen's Forum, calls it quot;an anti-fishermen projectquot; that will quot;destroy a hard-working communityquot;. Like other fishermen, he suspects that the project is being implemented to enforce the international boundary line in the waters. quot;They are executing a scheme at a cost of Rs.2,000 crores to draw a border and tell us that we cannot cross the border to fish. This scheme will destroy the fishing community,quot; he says.[unquote] http://www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl2201/stories/20050114005902400.htm Implications of damaging Rama Sethu under international Law of the Sea a) India and Sri Lanka have consistently treated Palk Bay, Gulf of Mannar and Palk Straits as 'historic' and 'internal'. b) USA does not recognize this claim, has always protested against these, and considers the waters as 'international' and rejects the 'historic' claim too. c) India , by choosing a Sethu Samudram Channel alignment running VERY close to international waters, involving damage the Ramar bridge (called Adam's Bridge) is going back on its earlier claims of waters being historic waters. d) This view of historic waters also means Sri Lanka is free to do what it likes on its side of the waters. e) A more serious situation arises by keeping the alignment close to the 'international' waters. Coast guard will be handicapped in protecting the channel from the Srilanka side since coast guard vessels will have to constantly get into international waters. f) It will make eminent sense in terms of the juridical regime of historic and internal waters to choose an alignment close to Pamban island WITHOUT damaging the Ramar Bridge (Adam's Bridge). The relevant extracts from UN documents are given below. Juridical Regime of Historic Waters, including Historic Bays Bottom of Form last update: 30 June 2005 The first United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (1958) adopted, in paragraph 6 of article 7 of the Convention of the Territorial Sea and Contiguous Zone, a provision to the effect that its rules on bays quot;shall not apply to so-called 'historic' baysquot;. [1] The Conference also adopted on 27 April 1958 a resolution requesting the General Assembly to arrange for the study of the juridical regime of historic waters, including historic bays. [2] The General Assembly thereafter adopted resolution 1453 (XIV) of 7 December 1959 ( E, F, S, R , C , A), which requested the International Law Commission, as soon as it considers it advisable, to undertake the study of the question of the juridical regime of historic waters, including historic bays, and to make such recommendations regarding the matter as the Commission deems appropriate. The Commission, at its twelfth session (1960) requested the Secretariat to undertake a study of the topic, and deferred further consideration to a future session. [3] A study prepared by the Secretariat was published in 1962. [4] Also in 1962, the Commission, at its fourteenth session, decided to include the topic in its programme, 133
    • but without setting any date for the start of its consideration. [5] At its nineteenth session (1967), the Commission examined the advisability of proceeding actively with the study of this topic. The Commission's report (which also dealt with the topic quot;Right of asylumquot;) summarized the views expressed as follows: quot;Most members doubted whether the time had yet come to proceed actively with either of these topics. Both were of considerable scope and raised some political problems, and to undertake either of them at the present time might seriously delay the completion of work on the important topics already under study [...]quot; [6] [1] United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 516, p. 210. [2] Official Records of the United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea, vol. II, Plenary Meetings , (United Nations publication, Sales No.: 58.V.4, vol. II), p. 145. [3] See Yearbook of the International Law Commission, I960, vol. II, p. 180, document A/4425, para. 40. (see Analytical Guide ) [4] Ibid., 1962, vol. II, p. 1, document A/CN.4/143. (see Analytical Guide) [5] Ibid., p. 190, document A/5209, para. 60. (see Analytical Guide) [6] Ibid., 1967, vol. II, document A/6709/Rev.1, para. 45. (see Analytical Guide) http://untreaty.un.org/ilc/summaries/8_4.htm#_ftnref2 Paragraphs 4 to 6 of Article 7 of the Convention of the Territorial Sea and Contiguous Zone read as follows: 4. If the distance between the low-water marks of the natural entrance points of a bay does not exceed twenty-four miles, a closing line may be drawn between these two low-water marks, and the waters enclosed thereby shall be considered as internal waters. 5.Where the distance between the low-water marks of the natural entrance points of a bay exceed twenty-four miles, a straight baseline of twenty-four miles shall be drawn within the bay in such a manner as to enclose the maximum area of water that is possible with a line of that length. 6.The foregoing provisions shall not apply to so-called quot;historicquot; bays, or in any case where the straight baseline system provided for in article 4 is applied. Section 7 of President of the Republic of Srilanka in Presidential Proclamation of 15 January 1977 in pursuance of Maritime Zones Law No. 22 of 1 September 1976 reads as follows: (7) (i) that the historic waters of Sri Lanka shall comprise the areas of sea in the Palk Strait, Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar bounded by: (a) the coast of the mainland of Sri Lanka; (b) the maritime boundary between Sri Lanka and India as defined in Section 8 of the Maritime Zones Law, No. 22 of 1976; (c) the arc of Great Circle between the following positions defined by latitude and longitude in the Gulf of Mannar: (i) 08° 15' 0quot; North, 79° 44' 0quot; East, (ii) 08° 22' 2quot; North, 78° 55' 4quot; East; and (d) the arc of Great Circle between the following positions defined by latitude and longitude in the Palk Strait: (i) 09° 49' 8quot; North, 80° 15' 2quot; East, (ii) 10° 05' 0quot; North, 80° 03' 0quot; East; (ii) the historic waters in the Palk Bay and Palk Strait shall form part of the internal waters of Sri Lanka; 134
    • (iii) the historic waters in the Gulf of Mannar shall form part of the territorial sea of Sri Lanka. http://www.un.org/Depts/los/LEGISLATIONANDTREATIES/PDFFILES/LKA_1977_Procl amation.pdf Agreement between Sri Lanka and India on the Maritime Boundary between the two Countries in the Gulf of Mannar and the Bay of Bengal and Related Matters 23 March 1976 The Government of the Republic of Sri Lanka and the Government of the Republic of India, Recalling that the boundary in the Palk Strait has been settled by the Agreement between the Republic of Sri Lanka and the Republic of India on the Boundary in Historic Waters between the Two Countries and Related Matters, signed on 26/28 June, 1974, And desiring to extend that boundary by determining the maritime boundary between the two countries in the Gulf of Mannar and the Bay of Bengal, Have agreed as follows: …Article 5 (1) Each Party shall have sovereignty over the historic waters and territorial sea, as well as over the islands, falling on its side of the aforesaid boundary. (2) Each Party shall have sovereign rights and exclusive jurisdiction over the continental shelf and the exclusive economic zone as well as over their resources, whether living or non-living, falling on its side of the aforesaid boundary. (3) Each Party shall respect rights of navigation through its territorial sea and exclusive economic zone in accordance with its laws and regulations and the rules of international law. http://www.un.org/Depts/los/LEGISLATIONANDTREATIES/PDFFILES/TREATIES/LKA- IND1976MB.PDF Document:- A/CN.4/143 Juridical Regime of Historic waters including historic bays - Study prepared by the Secretariat Topic: Juridical régime of historic waters, including historic bays Extract from the Yearbook of the International Law Commission:- 1962 , vol. II 38. In summary, the concept of quot;historic watersquot; has its root in the historic fact that States through the ages claimed and maintained sovereignty over maritime areas which they considered vital to them without paying much attention to divergent and changing opinions about what general international law might prescribe with respect to the delimitation of the territorial sea. This fact had to be taken into consideration when attempts were made to codify the rules of international law in this field, i.e., to reduce the sometimes obscure and contested rules of customary law to clear and generally acceptable written rules. It was felt that States could not be expected to accept rules which would deprive them of considerable maritime areas over which they had hitherto had sovereignty. http://untreaty.un.org/ilc/documentation/english/a_cn4_143.pdf 135
    • A Parliamentary Enquiry Committee should be constituted to review and re-evaluate the alignments with the assistance of multi-disciplinary expert teams. S. Kalyanaraman, Ph.D. Sarasvati Research Centre, Former Sr. Exec., Asian Development Bank, 26 March 2007 136
    • Figures and annexes appended to the letter addressed to the Hon’ble Prime Minister Fig. 1 Alternative channel alignments (Coral reef and Algae reef locations) Fig. 2 Chosen alignment of channel close to International Waters boundary Fig. 3 Chosen alignment in relation to path of tsunami (Souce: Computer simulation graphic in 137
    • http://www.dhisoftware.com/general/News/Tsunami/index_new.html) Annex 1 : Views of Prof. Tad S. Murthy Prof Murthy says: [quote] During the Indian Ocean tsunami of 26th December 2004, the very southern part of Kerala was generally spared from a major tsunami, mainly because the tsunami waves from Sumatra region travelling south of the Sri Lankan Island, partially diffracted northward and affected the central part of the Kerala coast.Since tsunami is a long gravity wave (similar to tides and storm surges) during the diffraction process, the rather wide turn it has to take spared south Kerala coast. On the otherhand, deepening the Sethu Canal might provide a more direct route for the tsunami and this could impact south Kerala.In late 2005 I had a face to face discussion in Chennai during a very cordial meeting with Shri Raghupathy(I do not know his exact title, but he is the head of the project, to the best of my knowledge) during which I raised this point. I requested him to consider slightly re- orienting the entrance of the Sethu canal on the Bay of Bengal side, so that in future tsunami events, tsunami energy will not be preferentially funnelled into the Sethu canal. Shri Raghupathy assured me that he will look into this matter. When a senior IAS officer like Shri Raghupathy says something, I beleive him and I have no further concerns on this matter. [unquote] Prof. Murthy had also noted: quot;(This view of TPT that no re-alignment is necessary) I absolutely disagree with. I have analysed the problem to my complete satisfaction.” He cited the example of the Alberni canal on Vancouver Island in British Columbia.quot;The Sethusamudram canal has many characteristics similar to the Alberni canal, and this is the reason I am concerned. In the March 28, 1964, Alaska earthquake tsunami, outside of Alaska the largest tsunami amplitude was at the head of the Alberni canal well inland and not at the open coast as everyone expected. Later, I explained this was due to (a phenomenon known as) quarter wave resonance amplificationquot; NEERI (environment) and NIOT (sea-depth or bathymetry) reviews did NOT • take into account impact of tsunami (which happened on Dec. 26, 2006, two years after NEERI evaluation). It should be noted that the tsunami has radically altered the bathymetry (sea-depth) of the region. The core samples should be subjected to detailed geological analysis for possible nuclear and other mineral content. Annex 2: Excerpts from Ramayana and Mahabharata on Sethu mandir heritage Valmiki describes in the Great Epic, Ramayana, the construction of Sethu in detail. “He sings with gusto of the noise and confusion of the gigantic project. The Vaanaras (special tribes in the southern regions having features such as prominent and strong jaws) went to the mountains and forests and, plucking rocks and trees, dragged them to the shore. The bigger Vaanaras brought big boulders and threw them into the sea. As they fell down, the water splashed sky-high. Nala -- Vishwakarma’s son and the project leader -- stood and supervised their labours. The leaders in charge of companies kept them active. On the top of the rocks and trees, when the base was firm, a dressing of grass and little pieces of wood was given to produce a level surface. The noise raised by the dam-builders drowned the roar of the ocean. The construction was complete. The new path shone across the sea like the milky way in the sky.” [Ref.: C. Rajagopalachari, Ramayana, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bombay, 138
    • 29th Edition, 1996, p. 274-275). The Sethumandir is a sacred monument because of its association with Shri Rama who said: Mother and Motherland are greater than heaven. (Jananee janmabhoomischa swargaadapi gareeyasi). Ram Sethu is referred to as Nala's Bridge in the Great Epic, Mahabharata. hastimaatraan mahaakaayaaH paaSaaNaamshca mahaabalaaH parvataamshca samutpaaTya yantraiH parivahanti ca Valmiki Ramayana 2-22-58 Vaanara having huge bodies, with mighty strength uprooted elephant-sized rocks and mountains and transported them by mechanical contrivances (yantraih). Vedavyasa refers to • Nalasetu nalasetur iti khyāto yo 'dyāpi prathito bhuvi rāmasyājñāṃ puraskṛtya dhāryate girisaṃnibhaḥ MBh. 3.267.45 .... which even today, popular on earth as Nala's bridge, mountain- like, is sustained out of respect for [Lord] Rama's command. (Nala was son of Vis’wakarma) 1747 map of Netherlands showing Ramancoil I. Annex 3: Implications for nation’s nuclear programme and under-sea mineral resource mapping Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) website notes:”The currently known Indian thorium reserves amount to 358,000 GWe-yr of electrical energy and can easily meet the energy requirements during the next century and beyond.. U-233/Th-232 based breeder reactors are under development and would serve as the mainstay of the final thorium utilization stage of the Indian nuclear programme.” http://www.barc.ernet.in/webpages/about/anu1.htm A team of scientists led by Dr.V.J.Loveson of the Council for Industrial and Scientific Research (CISR) New Delhi, studying placer deposits in the area, note that an estimated 40 million tonnes of Titanium alone has been deposited in the entire stretch of 500 kilometer coastline. Tsunami of Dec. 2004 has changed bathymetry (sea-depth) of the region. Thus, all alignments related to SSCP should be subjected to a fresh re-evaluation with particular reference to the mineral resources which are the mainstay of India’s nuclear programme. Close to Ramsethu, natural radioactivity from the black thorium sands of Kerala (India) is accelerating the DNA mutation rate in the local population. Most of these new mutations have hit the same DNA positions that have mutated naturally in at least the past 60,000 years of human evolution. Forster L, Forster P, Lutz-Bonengel S, Willkomm H, Brinkmann B (2002) Natural radioactivity and human 139
    • mitochondrial DNA mutations. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 99:13950-13954 http://www.mcdonald.cam.ac.uk/genetics/images/kerala_lowres.jpg Annex 4: Strategic implications of SSCP The following US Navy operational directive distinguishing international and historic waters may be noted:: Aug 76 Act No. 80 Enables government to declare waters as historic. Jun 79 Law No. 41; Waters of Palk Bay between coast and boundary with Sri Lanka claimed as internal waters; waters of Gulf of Mannar between coast and maritime boundary claimed as historic waters. This claim is not recognized by the United States. U.S. conducted operational assertions in 1993 and 1994, to Gulf of Mannar claim in 1999. It needs to be underscored that India should assert its strategic responsibility in providing security in these historic waters for sea-faring vessels, maritime traders apart from the protection of the the environmental wealth of coral reefs and algae (ayurvedic herbals also contributing to photosynthesis of oxygen cycle) which provide for livelihood of millions of coastal people. The Sethu Samudram Canal Project (SSCP), envisages that ships upto a maximum of 32,000 Dead Weight Tonnes (DWT) only would be able to pass through the canal. However,the bulk of the vessels using the International Shipping routes, East- and West-bound, from South of Sri Lanka, are of higher DWT and will thus not traverse through the SSCP. If that be the case, one wonders at the economic viability of the SSCP in its totality. Is it, therefore, a Project meant only for the coal-carrying vessels from Haldia/Paradip/Vishakapatnam to Tuiticorin or the Feeder Container Vessels that ply between our ports and Colombo? Another aspect that I would like to invite your attention, relates to the construction of the 'dredged canal'. As the sides of the canal cannot be lined or protected by any artificial wall, a strong tidal wave is enough to level the canal. May I query, what then happens to the Rs 2000 crore capital spent on dredging? Further, I am given to understand that it will be almost impossible for the dredgers to operate between the months of October to December because of the cyclonic season, strong winds and tidal waves. It will be more a battle against the forces of Mother Nature in that period rather than maintenance of the canal. 140
    • Annex 11 IN THE HIGH COURT OF JUDICATURE AT MADRAS DATED: 17.12.2004 CORAM THE HON’BLE MR.MARKANDEY KADJU, CHIEF JUSTICE and THE HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE N.V.BALASUBRAMANIAN W.P.NOS.33528 AND 34436 OF 2004 and W.P.M.P.Nos.40521 and 41570 of 2004 W.P.No.33528 of 2004 O. Fernandes, Co-Convener, Coastal Action Network, No.10, Thomas Nagar, Little Mount, Saidapet, Chennai - 600 015. …Petitioner. Vs. 1. Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, rep. by its Chairman, Anna Salai, Chennai – 32. 2. Union of India, rep. by Ministry of Environment & Forest, through its Secretary, Paravaran Bhavan, CGO Complex, Lodi Road, New Delhi – 110 003. 3. Tuticorin Port Trust, rep. by its Chairman, Tuticorin – 628 004. 4. District Collector, Ramanathapuram District, Ramanathapuram. 5. District Collector, Tuticorin District, Tuticorin. 6. District Collector, Thanjavur District, Thanjavur. 7. District Collector, Thiruvarkur District, Thiruvarur. 8. District Collector, Pudukottai District, Pudukottai. 141
    • 9. District Collector, Nagapattinam District, Nagapattinam. 10. Government of Tamil Nadu, rep. by its Secretary, Department of Revenue, Fort St. George, Chennai – 600 009. 11. The Secretary, representing Ministry of Surface & Transports, Transport Bhavan, 1 Sansad Marg, New Delhi – 110 001. 12. Mr. T.R. Balu, Ministry of Surface & Transports, Transport Bhavan, 1 Sansad Marg, New Delhi – 110 001. 13. The Director, National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nehru Marg, Nagpur – 440 020. ….Respondents. W.P.No.34436 of 2004 Tuticorin Port Trust, Rep. by its Chairman, Tuticorin – 628 004. ….Petitioner Vs. 1. Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, rep. by its Chairman, Anna Salai, Chennai – 32. 2. District Collector, Tuticorin District, Tuticorin. 3. District Collector, Thanjavur District, Thanjavur. 4. District Collector, Thiruvarkur District, Thiruvarur. 5. District Collector, Pudukottai District, Pudukottai. 142
    • 6. District Collector, Nagapattinam District, Nagapattinam. ….Respondents. PRAYER: Petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India for the issuance of writ of mandamus, as stated therein. ---------- Mr. V. Prakash, Senior Counsel :For Pentioner in W.P.33528/04 For Mr. P. Chandrasekaran. Mr. V.T/Gopalan, Addl. Solicitor General :For petitioner in W.P.34436/04 For Mr.P.Wilson, S.C.G.S.C & for respondents 2,11 & 12 in W.P .33528/04 Mr.R.Gandhi, Senior Counsel :For R3 in W.P.33528/04 For Mr. G.Damodharan Mr.N.R.Chandran, Advocate General :For R1 in both the W.Ps. For Mrs.Rita Chandrasekaran Mr.A.L.Somayaji, Addl.Advocate General :For R4 to R10 in W.P.33528/04 For Mr.V.Raghupathy, Government Pleader & R2 to R6 in W.P.34436/04 ---------- ORDER THE HON’BLE THE CHIEF JUSTICE Heard learned counsel for the parties. 1. Write Petition No.33528 of 2004 has been filed for a direction to declare the public hearing conducted in connection with the Sethu Samudram Shipping Canal Project (hereinafter referred to as SSSCP) in Tuticorin, Thanjavur, Thiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Pudukkottai and Ramanathapuram districts on several dates to be ineffective and not in compliance with the requirements of law. The petitioner has stated that such public hearing would become meaningful only after a comprehensive Environment Impact Assessment Report on the SSSCP is made ready. The petitioner further prayer for a director against respondents 1 and 2 to constitute panels in accordance with the notification issued by the Central Government on 27.1.1994 as amended on 10.4.1997, and for a further direction to regulate all public hearings to ensure presentation of rational and scientific data. 2. The petitioner claims that he is the co-convener of a group of organizations coming together under the banner of Coastal Action Network. He further claims that the objective of the said network is to ensure protection of environment and bio-diversity in the costal areas. The SSSCP visualizes making a canal for passage 143
    • of ships through the Palk Strait, and as per the proposal the total length of the canal would be about 260Kms. The Government of India is proposing to dredge a width of 300 Metres through 44 Nautical Miles stretch. It is estimated that 32.5 Million Cubic Metres of sand would be dredged in Adams Bridge and 52 Million Cubic Metres in Palk Strait. The Government’s proposal is aimed at reducing the distance for ships, which now go around Sri Lanka after berthing in Colombo to reach the Bay of Bengal. It is proposed to dredge a shipping canal in the Palk Strait to avoid going around Sri Lanka. 3. The Government of India issued notification on 27.01.1994 under Rule 5(3)(a) of the Environment (Protection) Rules,1986, which was framed under the Environment Protection Act, 1986. By the said notification objections were invited from the public within 60 days from the date of notification. This notification was amended on 10.4.1997, by which, environment clearance by the Central Government was made compulsory. 4. It is stated by the petitioner that the initial Environment Impact Assessment was done by the National Environment Engineering Research Institute (hereinafter referred to as NEERI). It is alleged by the NEERI is not a comprehensive environment impact assessment report, but it is a Rapid Environmental Impact Assessment in May 2004 to the Nodel Agency namely Tuticorin Port Trust. The detailed project report has to be submitted by the Larsen and Turbo of India and Rampaul of Denmark, who are the contractors for the SSSCP. Techno Economic Feasibility Report was expected by July 2004. 5. It is recited in paragraph – 12 of the petitioner’s affidavit that the original public hearing for the SSSCP was held on 08.09.2004 at the respondent District Collectorates. The panel which gave the public hearing in each district on various dates is mentioned in paragraph – 12 of the affidavit. In paragraph – 13 of the affidavit it is alleged that the public hearing held on 14.09.2004 at Tuticorin was unruly and so also the one which was held at Pudukottai. It is alleged that the panel constituted was not in accordance with the notification. Various political parties created pandemonium when views opposed to their professed political interests were being voiced. 6. In paragraph – 14 of his affidavit, the petitioner has given details about the alleged damage to the environment which would be caused by the said project. In paragraph – 16, it is alleged that the present public hearing is not meaningful and does not give effective participation to the citizens and various environment protection groups. The public hearings have become by and large a shouting match of different political groups without systematic presentation of views. In paragraph – 17 it is alleged that the present panelists do not have the necessary qualification or experience. 7. Several counter affidavits have been filed by several respondents in this case, and we have perused the same. The hearings by the Hearing Committees in the six coastal districts of Tamil Nadu are being conducted pursuant to the Environment Impact Assessment Notification dated 27.1.1994 issued by the Central Government in exercise of the powers conferred under Sub-section (1) and Clause (v) of Sub-section (2) of Section 3 of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 read with Clause (d) of Sub-rule (3) of Rule 5 of the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986. 144
    • 8. Section 3(1) and 3(2) (v) of the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 runs as follows: “3.Power of Central Government to take measures to protect and improve environment. (1) Subject to the provisions of this Act, the Central Government, shall have the power to take all such measures as it deems necessary or expedient for the purpose of protecting and improving the quality of the environment and preventing, controlling and abating environment pollution. (2) In particular, and without prejudice to the generality to the provisions of sub-section (1), such measures with respect to all or any of the following matters, namely:- (i) ----------- (ii) ----------- (iii) ----------- (iv) ----------- (v) restriction of areas in which any industries, operations or class of industries, operations or processes shall not be carried out or shall carried out subject to certain safeguards;” 9. Rule 5(3) of the Environment (Protection) Rules, 1986 states that “(3) (a) Whenever it appears to the Central Government that it is expedient to impose prohibition or restrictions on the location or the carrying on of processes and operation in an areas, it may by notification in the Official Gazette and in such other manner as the Central Government may deem necessary from time to time, give notice of its intention to do so. (b) Every notification under clause (a) shall give a brief description of the area, the industries, operations, processes in that area about which such notification pertains and also specify the reasons for the imposition of prohibition or restrictions on the industries and carrying on of processes or operations in that area. (c) Any person interested in filing an objection against the imposition of prohibited or restrictions on carrying on of processes or operations as notified under clause (a) may do so in writing to the Central Government within sixty days from the date of publication of the notification in the Official Gazette. (d) The Central Government shall within a period of one hundred and twenty days from the date of publication of the notification in the Official Gazette consider all the objections received against such notification and may (three hundred and sixty five days – inserted by G.S.R. 884(E) dt. 20.11.1992) impose prohibition or restrictions on location of such industries and the carrying on of any process or operation in an area. 10. Under the notification dated 27.01.1994 any person who desires to undertake any new project in any part of India or the expansion or modernization of any existing industry or project listed in the Schedule-I shall submit an application to the Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forest, New Delhi The application shall be made in the proforma specified in Schedule-II of the notification and shall be accompanied by a project report which shall, inter alia, include an Environment Impact Assessment Report, Environment Management plan and details of public hearing as specified in Schedule-IV, prepared in 145
    • accordance with the guidelines issued by the Central Government in the Ministry of Environment and Forests from time to time. Schedule –IV, prepared in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Central Government in the Ministry of Environment and Forests from time to time. Schedule-IV under the notification gives the procedure for public hearing and Clause (5) of the same states that the public hearing shall be completed within a period of 60 days from the date of receipt of complete documents as required. 11. The reports submitted with the application shall be evaluated and assessed by the Impact Assessment Agency, and if deemed necessary it may consult a Committee of Experts, having a composition as specified in Schedule III of the notification. The Impact Assessment Agency would be the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests. The Committee of Experts mentioned above shall be constituted by the Impact Assessment Agency or such other body under the Central Government authorized by the Impact Assessment Agency in this regard. Then, the Impact Assessment Agency would prepare a set of recommendations based on technical assessment of documents and data, furnished by the project authorities, supplemented by the data collected during visits to sites, if undertaken, and details of the public hearing. The assessment has to be completed within a period of 90 days from the date of receipt of the requisite documents and data from the project authorities and completion of public hearing and decision conveyed within 30 days thereafter. The project authorities have to submit a half yearly report to the Impact Assessment Agency to enable it to monitor effectively the implementation of the recommendations and the conditions imposed for the environment clearance. 12. A reading of the aforesaid notification dated 27.01.1994 including Schedule I and IV of the same, makes it clear that a duty is cast on the person who applies for environment clearance, which in this case happens to be the Tuticorin Port Trust which is appointed as nodal agency for executing the SSSCP, to provide the requisite materials/documents to the 1st respondent viz., Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board. The 1st respondent on being satisfied called for public hearings and conducted the same in the six coastal districts on various dates. The said notices were also published in English and Tamil dailies on 07.08.2004. 13. In our opinion, this writ petition is premature, and is liable to be dismissed on this ground alone. The public hearings were going on when this writ petition was filed, and no adverse orders have yet been passed against anyone. A cause of action arises only when an adverse order has been passed or some action adversely affecting someone’s rights is taken. Since, no adverse orders have been passed not action taken against anyone as yet, we fail to understand how this writ petition can be entertained at this stage. It seems to us that the petitioner has rushed to this Court to block a project which is in the national interest. 14. It is evident that Sethu Samudhram Ship Canal Project would be of great benefit to the country, because at present ships have to go around Sri Lanka to reach the Bay of Bengal. By dredging a Ship Canal in the Palk Strait huge amount of expense and a lot of time would be saved. The distance, time and money on fuel, which will be saved by the shipping industry, can certainly augment business, and traffic in Tuticorin Port and other coastal areas. Hence, it is certainly in the public interest, like the Suez Canal after making which ships coming from Europe did not have to go all around Africa to reach Asian countries, resulting in a huge saving of time and expenditure. 146
    • 15. In view of the above, Writ Petition No.33528 of 2004 is dismissed as premature. 16. W.P.No.34436 of 2004 has been filed for a writ of mandamus directing the respondent-District Collectors to have the public hearings completed in accordance with the public hearing notice dated 10.10.2004 and to send their reports along with the minutes of the public hearing to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India forthwith. In our option this prayer is an appropriate one, and hence we direct that the public hearings as contemplated by IV schedule to the notification dated 27.01.1994, as amended, be completed expeditiously, if not already completed, and the reports with the minutes be sent to the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India forthwith We further direct that the Sethu Samudhram Ship Canal Project be completed as expeditiously as possible. With these directions, W.P.No.34436 of 2004 is disposed off. 17. Before parting with the above cases, we would like to mention that we should not obstruct the scientific and technical progress of the country in the name of environment protection. No doubt, the environment has to be protected, but at the same time. We must never overlook the basis aim of our country which is to make India a powerful and modern industrial state. Today the real would is cruel and harsh. It respects power, not poverty or weakness. The truth is that Indians, despite being intelligent and industrious people, are not respected by Westerners, not because our skin is brown or black in colour, but because our country is poor. Nobody respects the poor. When the Chinese and Japanese were poor people they were derisively called ‘yellow’ races by the Westerners, but today they are industrialized and powerful nations, and now nobody dares to call them that. Similarly, if we wish to get respect in the world community we must make our country highly industrialized and prosperous. Also, industrialization along can generate the wealth we require for taking care of the welfare of our people, as is the mandate of the Directive Principles in our Constitution. 18. Now a days, in seminars, newspaper articles, book etc., the constant refrain is of protecting the environment, and hardly any thought is given about the need for rapid industrialization. Everyone seems to have forgotten the basic goal of our country, that is to make India a modern, powerful, highly industrialized and prosperous country. The implicit message which seems to be conveyed is that the environment must be protected, even if that has to be done by closing down our industries. The impression sought to be created is that there is an imbalance in our country between man and nature because there has been too much industrialization in India, and not too much. Nobody can dispute the need for protecting the environment. After all, people are entitled to pure air and water, forests have to be prepared for ensuring regular rainfall and preventing soil erosion, wildlife has to be protected for maintaining ecological balance, etc. But, what is overlooked is that protection of the environment is incidental to industrialization. In other words, if we industrialize we will by compelled to protect the environment and there is no conflict between industrialization and environment protection. Thus, industrialization itself ensures a good environment. For instance, in Western countries, which are industrialized, the are clean, the air has little pollution, etc., The factories and motor cars in North America and Europe have to be fitted with pollution avoidance devices to meet the high standards of pollution control fixed by the authorities. The forests and wildlife in these countries are carefully preserved by experts scientifically. People in 147
    • Western countries are fined heavily if they throw litter and garbage on the road or public places, while in our country’s cities one can see garbage and litter lying everywhere. Industrialization not only created the wealth necessary for preserving and protecting the environment, it also creates the modern mind in which protecting the environment is installed since childhood. Parents in Western countries teach their children that they must not throw litter anywhere except in the public bins established for this purpose. When one takes a dog for a walk in any Western city, and the dog excretes on the road or park, the owner must pick up the excreta (with a paper or whatever) and throw it in the bin set up for this purpose, otherwise he is fined. Thus, the very mindset of Westerners is towards protection of the environment, and this is because they are highly industrialized. We are not truing to say that we should not care for the environment. We should certainly not let certain unscrupulous businessmen discharge toxic effluents into our rivers or hazardous fumes into the atmosphere. We should not let greedy forest contractors destroy our forests and ecology. We must certainly place restrictions and regulations for protecting the environment. But, at the same time a balance has to be struck. No doubt Article 48-A of the Constitution states that “the State shall endeavor to protect and improve the environment and to safeguard the forests and wild life of the country” and Article 51A(g) makes it a fundamental duty of all citizens to protect forests, lakes, rivers, wildlife, etc. However, these provisions have to be read along with the basic objective of the country, that is to make India a powerful, highly industrialize, and protection of environment must be regarded as only incidental to this main aim, and not itself the main aim. Unless we are industrialized we will never get respect in the comity of nations and will not be able to promote the welfare of our people (because we will not be able to generate the wealth for this purpose) as required by Article 38 of the Constitution. Without industrialization our people shall also not be able to get work, education, unemployment and sickness benefits and other public assistance as required by Article 41 of the Constitution, because all these require huge resources and funds which can only be generated by a high degree of industrialization. The massive unemployment in our country can also be eradicated by rapid industrialization. 19. Consequently, connected miscellaneous petitions are closed. No costs. Index: Yes/No Internet: Yes/No sm 1. Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, rep. by its Chairman, Anna Salai, Chennai – 32. 2. Union of India, rep. by Ministry of Environment & Forest, through its Secretary, Paravaran Bhavan, CGO Complex, Lodi Road, New Delhi – 110 003. 3. Tuticorin Port Trust, rep. by its Chairman, Tuticorin – 628 004. 148
    • 4. District Collector, Ramanathapuram District, Ramanathapuram. 5. District Collector, Tuticorin District, Tuticorin. 6. District Collector, Thanjavur District, Thanjavur. 7. District Collector, Thiruvarur District, Thiruvarur. 8. District Collector, Pudukottai District, Pudukottai. 9. District Collector, Nagapattinam District, Nagapattinam. 10. Government of Tamil Nadu, rep. by its Secretary, Department of Revenue, Fort St. George, Chennai – 600 009. 11. The Secretary, representing Ministry of Surface & Transports, Transport Bhavan, 1 Sansad Marg, New Delhi – 110 001. 13. The Director, National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nehru Marg, Nagpur – 440 020. Annex 12 FLIP SIDE D.N.Seshagiri Retired director, Geological Survey of India, Kottivakkam,Chennai. 149
    • Letter Published in the Deccan Chronicle(Chennai Edn.) dated 21.06.05 Undoubtedly the Sethusamudram Project will usher in an era of prosperity for the hinterland apart from reducing the travel time between the east and west coast of India by avoiding the circumnavigation of Sri Lanka. While problems like the possible damage to the fragile ecosystem and hardship to the fisherfolk have been addressed, there has been no mention of another potential threat viz. -landslide. One does not know whether this aspect has been studied in detail while according environmental clearance to the project. Our knowledge of control and correction of landslides has been greatly enhanced due to the experience gained in excavating the Panama canal. Among the various geologically critical areas, a few are given as examples of what may hold good for our Sethusamudram project as well. When the Panama canal was first designed, the problems of landslides was ignored. Slides increased the amount of excavation. During the construction of the 12.6 km long Gailord cut at the beginning of the 20th century, landslides caused extremely serious construction problems. Landslide activity resulted in additional excavation that more than doubled the original volume estimates resulting in cost and time over run. The Culebra Cut is another example par excellence to highlight geological problems. The first major slide occurred in 1907. Without warning, approximately 3,82,000 Cu.m of material moved more than 4 meters in 24 hours. This slide caused many people to suggest that the construction of the Panama canal would be impossible. The increase in landslide activity in the Panama canal is still in progress and is expected to continue as the result of the channel deepening programme. The above case histories have been cited not as opposition to the project, but to make sure that the E.I.A. takes all aspects into consideration including possible surges in the channel due to slides below the water line/upheaval in the bed of the channel. http://sethusamudram.in/htmdocs/Articles/Article%203.htm Mail from Dr.D.N.Seshagiri # I would like to know whether NEERI or INDOMER have carried out any geotechnical studies on the stability of the excavated slopes of the dredged channel. These slopes will be under a head of water. What is the angle for the cut slopes provided in the design? How many benches? If so, width of the benches. Has it been checked for its stability? The cut slopes of the Panama Canal (both above water line and below) still pose stability problems. What about possible heaving of the bed of the channel? Should there be a slope failure or heaving of the bed, will they not creat surges (mini tsunami?)Kindly refer to my letter published in Deccan Chronicle (Chennai edition) 150
    • dated 21.06.05 entitled quot;Flip Sidequot; D.N.Seshagiri, Retd. Director, Geological Survey of India. 23 - 06 - 2006, 9.28 am http://manisanga.blogspot.com/2005_06_19_manisanga_archive.html Views of Seshagiri questioning the stability of the channel have to be viewed in the following context. Rama Setu: Stability of a steep channel passage in a canyon slope below the sea The above picture is only an example of the type of sea-bed encountered between Tuticorin and Rama Setu, the summit of the mountain ranges representing the Top surface of the Rama Setu as a causeway/land-bridge. From Tuticorin to Dhanushkodi, the sea-bed rises from 3000m depth (near Tuticorin) to about 3 ft. below the sea (near Dhanushkodi). One can visualise the mountain stretching over a steep slope over a distance of about 75 kms. as shown in this image. If a 300 m. wide and 12 m deep channel passage is sought to be cut through this slope and beyond Rama Setu (represented by the peak of the mountain), how stable will the channel passage be? Without protective embankments on either side of the channel, won’t the channel passage be subject to continuous erosion of the banks and accumulation of shoals in the passage given the currents and counter-currents in the Rama Setu region, with Rama Setu acting like a sieve separating out the higher density mineral, Thorium 232 and creating the placer deposits in Manavalakurichi (Tamilnadu) , Aluva and Chavara (Kerala). This is the reason why ARamaswamy Mudaliar Report of 1956 categorically said that any idea of cutting a channel passage through Adam’s Bridge should be ABANDONED. Why has the present alignment been chosen ignoring this Report? Why can’t an alignment through Dhanushkodi be chosen to create a land-based, controllable canal instead of a channel in mid-ocean? 151
    • With such a land-based canal, locks should also be provided on either end of the canal to prevent the incursion of violent currents of Bay of Bengal into the serene waters of Gulf of Mannar. Questions to ponder. Questions which should be answered by the pundits seeking to create history by destroying history. 152
    • Annex 13 Assessing the Stability of the Sethusamundram Shipping Canal C.P. Rajendran Centre for Earth Science Studies, Akkulam, Trivandrum 695031 Jounal of Geol.Soc.India, September 2005, Vol. 66, No.3, pp. 367-370. [Paper accepted for publication : 12 July 2005, Published : September 2005] The Sethusamundram Ship Channel Project (SSCP) envisages excavating shallow sea between the Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar (Fig. 1 and Fig.2). This work is expected to create a narrow shipping passage, linking the east and west coasts of India, obviating the present 'hassle' of circumnavigating Sri Lanka to reach the eastern coast of India and vice-versa. The total length of the channel is estimated to be 152.2 km, which will consist of two phases of dredging (or even blasting, depending on the nature of substratum): the 20-km-long Adam's Bridge and the 54-km-long Bay of Bengal segments. Besides these, the third segment falls in the Palk Bay with a total length of 78 km, which is reportedly requires no dredging as this area has a clearance of 12 m depth (NEERI, 2004). One must bear in mind that these are pre- tsunami estimates, as we do not yet know if there are any changes in depths in various zones of this region because of the December 26 tsunami sediment dispersal, and its effect on deposition or erosion. The National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) had been entrusted with the environmental impact assessment (EIA). The EIA conducted by NEERI and also the Technical Feasibility Report (TFR) certifies that the project is feasible and rules out any environmental hazard. However, serious concerns have been raised from different quarters on the stability of the proposed canal and the environmental impact of this project that would cost more than Rs. 2,233 crore, going by the pre-tsunami estimates (see Ramesh, 2004, 2005). With the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, the concerned ministry is now going ahead with the project work with full steam. The obvious issue is whether the authorities have made any sincere efforts to address some of the questions on this expensive project. In my judgment, the Government agencies entrusted with this work show an extraordinary enthusiasm to brush aside the uncomfortable questions, and keep the public at large in the dark about the stability of the canal and also on possible environmental impact. I must also point out that the efforts from the geological community to bring out the facts and initiate a wide-ranging discussion on this venture have been minimal, notwithstanding some tentative steps. Summarized from the above sources, especially the report prepared by Ramesh (2004), I highlight the major scientific objections with regard to this project: 153
    • 1) Sedimentation dynamics: The Palk Bay region is a veritable sediment sink and is characterized by a high depositional rate (for details see Agarwal, 1988; Rajamanickam and Tooley, 2000, articles therein; Natesan, 1993;2002; Chandramohan et al., 2001; Sanil Kumar et al., 2002). However, various authors having given contradictory values, and all of them from different sites in the region. The EIA has used the values selectively to come up with an average eastimate to suit its conclusions. Fact of the matter is that different stretches of the Palk Bay, through which the alignment of the canal passes, may have variable sedimentation rate. Further, Ramesh (2004), in his report, persuasively argues that the EIA report is yet to identify the source for 99.386% of the net annual quantum of sediment that is supposed to enter into the Palk Bay. A review of the EIA report prepared by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) indicates that it has not addressed the question of sedimentation dynamics, comprehensively. In particular the EIA has been ambivalent about the net annual quantum of sediment transported into the Palk Bay. The lack of precise understanding on the net annual quantum of sediment will make the predicted values on both the capital as well as on the maintenance dredging, a suspect. 2) The impact of the cyclones: The cyclonic storms are a major risk factor in the region. The coast of Tamil Nadu in general and the project area in particular is considered to be most vulnerable to tropical cyclones (Pant et al., 1977). The cyclone occurred on December 23, 1964 is a typical example when the storm surge washed away the Pamban Bridge and the Dhanushkodi Island (reflections of this tragedy are given in quot;Wings of Fire- An Autobiographyquot; by A.P.J. Abdul Kalam). The cyclones can unleash an autonomous dynamics of their own in redistributing sediment and also dispersing the dredged material (Dubey, 2004). The question of cyclonic disturbances in changing the sedimentary budget of the region has not been properly addressed by the EIA studies, and consequently skews the predicted estimates of the sedimentation pattern and its rate. This means that total amount of material to be dredged could be much more than what had been predicted. Another question is how would the cyclones rework the dredged material to be dumped at various sites, although fortified with embankments (e.g. Dhanushkodi). 3) The threat of tsunamis- a newly realized danger: The Indian press quoted a note (March 9, 2005) reportedly issued from the Prime Minister's office voicing the concern about the sustainability of this canal in the event of a cyclonic storm or tsunami. This was a valid query not only from a purely hazard point of view and this phenomenon is yet another process typical of this region that adds to sedimentation. However, in a recent statement, the Union Minister for Shipping, Ports and Highways states that this canal will have a 'dissipating effect' on tsunamis if they strike the east coast (The Hindu, dated June 6, 2005). He further states that the Ministry is now ready with scientific data to answer any questions on this project. I assume the Minister's repertoire also includes a tsunami model of deep-sea wave propagation in a post-project scenario. The post December 26 tsunami simulation models (Steven Ward, Univ. of California; and Aditya Riyadi, the Pusat Penelitian Kelautan Institut Teknologi, Bandung, Indonesia) that are available at web sites (http://manisanga.blogspot.com). After reviewing these models, Ramesh (2005) (http://palkbay.wikicities.com) suggested that the central portions of the Palk Bay and those located to the northeast and the east of Palk Bay received waves of higher energy. In other words, this part of the bay received higher amount of sediments, rendering it more turbid than other parts. Ramesh (2005) further points out that the above models also indicate that waves entered the Palk Bay from the north and south, corresponding with the canal alignment. Therefore, the open question is that 154
    • whether the deepening activities would 'create a new deep water route' for a future tsunami to reach the west coast with a devastating impact, a concern already expressed by a tsunami expert. I would like to know whether the Ministry sponsored modeling studies have come up with a different scenario. However, an expert thinks that that the Bay of Bengal entrance of the present orientation of the canal will funnel tsunami energy into the channel and through constructive interference with the tsunami propagating from the south of Sri Lanka at the southern part of Kerala will augment the tsunami wave amplitudes, which will impact the Kerala Coast (Tad Murty, personal communication). 4) Nature of substratum: With limited availability of borings, we are still not certain about the nature of the substratum of the region: are they soft or hard? This information is important to decide on whether to dredge or blast the sea bottom and to plan the safe disposal of the dredged material. 5) Finding the sites for safe disposal of dredged material: The EIA study appears to be ambivalent regarding identifying the areas of safe disposal of dredged material and that too without posing environmental hazard for the marine organisms (Sri Lanka has a major stake here). Recently, some experts have also pointed out threat of sediment slides as a cause for instability of the channel. 6) Economic viability: Have we considered the pollution that would be created by ships in such a narrow channel and its modes of dispersal or other dangers, for example the prospect of grounding or straying, from the canal alignment, of a rogue ship containing coal or oil or even a collision of such ships, and the ensuing ecological disaster? On the other hand, if the ships are going to be guided by tugs, there will certainly be a huge toll that would work out be more expensive than sailing around Sri Lanka (see Ramakrishnan, K.S., The Hindu dated Dec. 21, 2004). Would this be finally end up as a patrolling route for the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard? We have to work out a realistic cost-benefit analysis of this project, taking all the above contingencies into account? I have not touched upon much on the possible environmental impact of this project. I hope somebody who is qualified to deal with that topic will speak out. Personally, I believe all the objections highlighted in this article will remain valid until these issues are resolved by an independent group of experts. I am curious to know how our scientists respond to such projects. What is appalling is the complete silence from the earth science community of the country. I think here we have an excellent geological problem (according to the NEERI report, the depth of the area has been reduced by about 0.51 m between 1975-1999; What more do you need to excite a geologist?), and an area where our expertise would make a difference (see also Rajendran, 2005 for a reiteration of this issue). Our academies and other professional bodies of Indian scientists should take their positions on such important issues, based on the considered opinions of the independent experts. Sethusamundram, as the name suggests, is the part of an ocean that is being constantly bridged by natural sedimentation processes, and the nature has been at this work for hundreds of thousands of years (Indian epic Ramayana makes direct reference to a putative land bridge in this region). Going by the rates of sediment build up, some believe that in another 500 years there would be a land bridge connecting Rameswaram with Sri Lanka (Ramasamy et al., 1998). By implementing this project, we are disturbing the natural processes for reasons that are not convincing. The onus is on the project sponsors to convince us about 155
    • this project's technical, scientific and economic credibility, and prove that why this is not another disaster in the making. Let us call up on the Ministry and the institutes concerned to prepare a forum to debate these issues, involving both national and international experts as well as the stakeholders. Acknowledgments: I thank Dr. R. Ramesh for providing the background material on the Sethusamundram project. I am indebted to Dr. B.P. Radhakrishna for his encouragement to prepare this article. References: Chandramohan, P., Jena, B.K., and Sanil Kumar, V., 2001. Littoral drift sources and sinks along the Indian coast, Current Science, 81, 3, 10 p.295. Dubey, S.K., 2004. A strategy for cyclone disaster reduction- real time storm surge prediction. In: Coping with Natural Hazards: Indian Context. K.S. Valdiya (ed.). Orient Longman, Hyderabad, 197-203. Murty, G.R.K., Satyanarayana, Y., Pradeep Kumar, T., 1994. Magnetic profile across Gulf of Munnar, Journal Geological Society of India, 44, 443-449. NEERI, 2004. Environment impact assessment for the proposed Sethusamundram ship channel project, along with the executive summary, National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, Nagpur. Natesan, U. 1993. Seasonal shoreline oscillation of Tamil Nadu Coast. Current Science, 65, 9, 667-668. Pant, P.S., Ramakrishnan, A.R. and Jambunathan, R. 1980. Cyclones and depressions over the Indian seas in 1977, Mausam, 31, 3, 343-344. Rajendran, C.P. 2005. Sethusamundram shipping canal project and the eternal silence of the Indian earth scientists. Current Science (in press). Ramesh, R. 2004. Sethusamundram shipping canal project and the unconsidered high risk factors: Can it withstand them? Doctors for Safer Environment, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, 71p. Ramesh, R. 2005. Sethusamundram shipping canal project. Current Science, 88, 536-537. Rajamanickam, V.G. and Tooley, M. (eds.). 2000. Proc. Sem. Quaternary Sea Level Variation, Shoreline Displacement and Coastal Environment. New Academic Publication. Ramasamy, SM., Ramesh, D., Paul, M.A., Kusumgar, S., Yadhava, M.A., Nair, A.R., Sinha, U.K., Joseph, T.B. 1998. Rapid land building activity along Vedaranniyam coast and its possible implications. Current Science, 75, 9, 10, 884-886. 156
    • Sanil Kumar, V., Anand, N.M., and Gowthaman, R. 2002. Variations in nearshore processes along Nagapattinam coast, India. Current Science, 82, 11, 1381-1389. Figure Captions: Figure 1: Location map. Inset: bathymetry map of the Gulf of Mannar (reproduced from Murty et al., 1994) Figure 2: Plan showing various alignments of the Sethusamundram Canal and the groups of islands (marine parks) in the Gulf of Mannar (reproduced from NEERI Report, 2004). Sethusamudram shipping canal project and the eternal silence of the Indian earth scientists C. P. RAJENDRAN Centre for Earth Science Studies, Akkulam, Thiruvananthapuram 695 031, India e-mail: cp_r@vsnl.com CURRENT SCIENCE, VOL. 89, NO. 2, 25 JULY 2005 The controversial Sethusamudram project excavating the 56-km-long shallow sea between the Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar and creating a narrow shipping passage linking the east and west coasts of India received a formal go-ahead signal from the Union Cabinet recently, according to press reports. This project (estimated to cost currently Rs 2233 crores) has been under fire for being unmindful of possible environmental impact. A note, critical of this project, by Ramesh (incidentally a medical practitioner, not a geologist or oceanographer) was published in Current Science (Ref.1). The major scientific objections raised by him regarding this project are: (a) The National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, Nagpur, which had been entrusted with the environmental impact assessment (EIA), has not taken recent studies on the sedimentation dynamics of the project area into consideration; therefore their conclusions are questionable. (b) The impact assessment studies have neglected the role of cyclones (not to speak of the rare incidences of tsunamis) in dispersing the dredged material, a major risk factor of the region. (c) The EIA has only looked at the sedimentation dynamics of a small area, but ignored the adjacent portions, including the Palk Bay strait - an area noted for unusually high sedimentation rate. (d) The nature of the substratum of the region is not known: is it soft or hard? This information is important to decide on whether to dredge or blast the sea bottom and to plan for safe disposal of the dredged material. (e) The EIA study is ambivalent in identifying sites for safe disposal of dredged material, without creating an environmental mess for the organisms living in the sea (Sri Lanka has a 157
    • major stake here). (f) The impact of changed bottom topography as a result of dredging or blasting on the movement of currents is not known. Ironically, the medical practitioner who is affiliated to an NGO has registered all the afore mentioned objections (see his full report in http://www.geocities.com/sethuship canal), and I am yet to see any geologist or oceanographer raising any concern on this project. Personally, I believe all the objections raised remain valid unless and until these issues are resolved by an independent group of experts. Have we considered other dangers, for example, the prospect of grounding or straying, from the canal alignment, of a rogue ship containing coal or oil or even a collision of such ships, and the ensuing ecological disaster? On the other hand, if ships are going to be guided by tugs, there will certainly be a huge toll that would work out to be more expensive than sailing around Sri Lanka (see Ramakrishnan, K. S., The Hindu, 21 December 2004). Finally, only the Indian Navy will essentially use this route! Another issue is whether we have worked out a realistic cost-benefit analysis of this project? In a recent statement, the Union Minister for Shipping, Ports and Highways mentions that this canal will have a 'dissipating effect' on tsunamis, if they strike the east coast (The Hindu, 6 June 2005). He further states that the Ministry is now ready with scientific data to answer any questions on this project (including a tsunami model of deep seawave propagation in a post-project scenario). I am curious to know how our scientists (not the ones who are doing EIA for the sponsors) respond to such projects, which obviously require an interdisciplinary approach. What is appalling is the complete silence from the earth sciences community of the country. I think here we have an excellent geological problem and an area where we can effectively intervene. Are we to leave all these important decisions to some influential bureaucrats and politicians who are clever enough to hide under some technicalities and poorly whetted reports? What about the national academies and other professional bodies of Indian scientists?Are they not supposed to take their positions on such important issues based on considered opinions of independent experts; in this case, particularly from the earth scientists? Sethusamudram, as the name suggests, is part of an ocean that is being constantly bridged by natural sedimentation processes, and nature has been at this work for hundreds of thousands of years. I am sure, going by the rates of sediment build-up, in hundred of years there would be a land bridge connecting Rameswaram with Sri Lanka. Why disturb this process for questionable purposes? The technical, scientific and economic credibility of this project must be convincing and it should not be another disaster in the making. The concerned Ministry and institutes must present their results in an open forum consisting of both national and international experts on such matters as well as other concerned persons and stakeholders. Reference: 1. Ramesh, R., Curr. Sci., 2005, 88, 536-537. Note: 158
    • The views expressed here are my own and not necessarily of the institute that I am affiliated to. 159
    • Annex 14 Ancient monuments and archaeological sites and remains act 1958 Monuments The Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958 defines an ‘ Ancient Monument ’ as follows:- Ancient Monument means any structure, erection or monument, or any tumulus or place of interment, or any cave, rock-sculpture, inscription or monolith which is of historical, archaeological or artistic interest and which has been in existence for not less than 100 years and includes— 1. Remains of an ancient monument, 2. Site of an ancient monument, 3. Such portion of land adjoining the site of an ancient monument as may be required for fencing or covering in or otherwise preserving such monument, a 4. The means of access to, and convenient inspection of, an ancient monument; The section 2(d) defines archaeological site and remains as follows: Archaeological site and remains means any area which contains or is reasonably believed to contain ruins or relics of historical or archaeological importance which have been in existence for not less than one hundred years, and includes— 1. Such portion of land adjoining the area as may be required for fencing or covering in or otherwise preserving it, and 2. The means of access to, and convenient inspection of the area; Protection of monuments The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) under the provisions of the AMASR Act, 1958 protects monuments, sites and remains of national importance by giving a two- month’s notice for inviting objections, if any in this regard. After the specified two-month’s period, and after scrutinizing the objections, if any, received in this regard, the ASI makes decision to bring a monument under its protection. There are at present more than 3650 ancient monuments and archaeological sites and remains of national importance. These monuments belong to different periods, ranging from the prehistoric period to the colonial period and are located in different geographical settings. They include temples, mosques, tombs, churches, cemeteries, forts, palaces, step-wells, rock-cut caves, and secular architecture as well as ancient mounds and sites which represent the remains of ancient habitation. These monuments and sites are maintained and preserved through various Circles of the ASI spread all over the country. The Circles look after the research on these monuments and conservation activities, while the Science Branch with its headquarters at Dehradun carries out chemical preservation and the Horticulture 160
    • Branch with its headquarters at Agra is entrusted with the laying out gardens and environmental development. http://asi.nic.in/asi_monuments.asp THE ANCIENT MONUMENTS AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES AND REMAINS ACT, 1958 ACT NO. 24 OF 1958 1* [28th August, 1958.] An Act to provide for the preservation of ancient and historical monuments and archaeological sites and remains of national importance, for the regulation of archaeological excavations and for the protection of sculptures, carvings and other like objects. BE it enacted by Parliament in the Ninth Year of the Republic ofIndia as follows:- 1.Short title, extent and commencemnt. (1)This Act may be called the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958. (2) 2 [It extends to the whole of India.] (3) It shall come into force on such date:3 as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint. 2.Definitions. In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,- (a) quot;ancient monumentquot; means any structure erection or monument, or any tumulus or place of interment, or any cave, rock-sculpture, inscription or monolith, which is of historical, archaeological or artistic interest and which has been in existence for not less than one hundred years, and includes- (i) the remains of an ancient monument, (ii) the site of an ancient monument, (iii)such portion of land adjoining the site of an ancient monument as may be required for fencing or covering in or otherwise preserving such monument, and (iv)the means of access to, and convenient inspection of, an ancient monument; 161
    • --------------------------------------------------------------------- 1 Extended to Goa, Daman and Diu with modifications by Reg. 12 of 1962, S. 3 and Sch. (w.e.f. 22-11-1962). Extended to Dadra and Nagar Haveli by Reg. 6 of 1963, s. 2 and Sch. I (w.e.f. 11-7-1965) and Pondicherry by Reg. 7 of 1963, s. 3 and Sch. I (w.e.f. 1-10-1963). 2 Subs. by Act 52 of 1972, s. 33, for sub-section (2) (w.e.f. 5-4-1976). 3 15th October, 1959, see Notification No. S. 0. 2307, dated 15th October, 1959, Gazette of India, Extraordinary, 1959, Pt. II, See. 3 (ii), p. 537. (b) quot;antiquityquot; includes- (i)any coin, sculpture, manuscript, epigraph, or other work of art or craftsmanship, (ii)any article, object or thing detached, from a building or cave, (iii)any article, object or thing illustrative of science, art, crafts, literature, religion, customs, morals or politics in bygone ages, (iv) any article, object or thing of historical interest, and (v) any article, object or thing declared by the Central Government, by notification in the Official Gazette, to be an antiquity for the purposes of this Act, which has been in existence for not less than one hundred years ; (c) quot;archaelogical officerquot; means an officer of the Department of Archaeology of the Government of India not lower in rank than Assistant Superintendent of Archaeology ; (d) quot;archaeological site and remainsquot; means any area which contains or is reasonably believed to contain ruins or relics of historical or archaeological importance which have been in existence for not less than one hundred years, and includes- (i)such portion of land adjoining the area as may be required for fencing or covering in or otherwise preserving it, and (ii)the means of access to, and convenient inspection of, the area; 162
    • (e) Director-General quot; means the Director-General of Archaeology, and includes any officer authorised by the Central Government to perform the duties of the Director General ; (f) quot;maintainquot;, with its grammatical variations and cognate expressions, includes the fencing, covering in, repairing, restoring and cleansing of a protected monument, and the doing of any act which may be necessary for the purpose of preserving a protected monument or of securing convenient access thereto; (g) quot;ownerquot; includes- (i)a joint owner invested with powers of management on behalf of himself and other joint owners and the successor-in-title of any such owner, and (ii) any manager or trustee exercising power of management and the successor-in-office of any such manager or trustee ; (h) quot; prescribed quot; means prescribed by rules made under this Act; (i) quot;protected areaquot; means any archaeological site and remains which is declared to be of national importance by or under this Act ; (j) quot;Protected monumentquot; means an ancient monument which is declared to be of national importance by or under this Act. 1[2A. Construction of references to any law not in force in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Any reference in this Act to any law which is not in force in the State of Jammu and Kashmir shall, in relation to that State, be construed as a reference to the corresponding law, if any, in force in that State.] ANCIENT MONUMENTS AND ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES AND REMAINS OF NATIONAL IMPORTANCE 3.Certain ancient monuments, etc., deemed to be of national importance. All ancient and historical monuments and all archaeological sites and remains which have been declared by the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Declaration of ,National Importance) Act, 1951, (71 of 1951.) or by section 126 of the States Reorganisation Act, 1956, (37 of 1956) to be of national importance shall be deemed to be ancient and historical monuments or archaeological Sites and remains declared to be of national importance for the purposes of this Act. 163
    • 4. Power of Central Governement to declare ancient monuments etc., to be of national importance. (1)Where the Central Government is of opinion that any ancient monument or archaeological site and remains not included in section 3 is of national importance, it may, by notification in the Official Gazette, give two months' notice of its intention to declare such ancient monument or archaeological site and remains to be of national importance; and a copy of every such notification shall be affixed in a conspicuous place near the monument or site and remains, as the case may be. (2) Any person interested in any such ancient monument or archaeological site and remains may, within two months after the issue of the notification, object to the declaration of the monument or the archaeological site and remains, to be of national importance. (3) On the expiry of the said period of two months, the Central Government may, after considering the objections, if any, received by it, declare by notification in the Official Gazette, the ancient monument or the archaeological site and remains, as the case may be, to be of national importance. --------------------------------------------------------------------- 1 Ins. by Act 52 1972, s. 33 (w.e.f. 5-4-1976). (4) A notification published under sub-section (3) shall, unless and until it is withdrawn, be conclusive evidence of the fact that the ancient monument or the archaeological site and remains to which it relates is of national importance for the purposes of this Act. PROTECTED MONUMENTS 5.Acquisition of rights in a protected monument. (1)The Director- General may, with the sanction of the Central Government, purchase, or take a lease of, or accept a gift or request of, any protected monument. (2) Where a protected monument is without an owner, the Director General may, by notification in the Official Gazette, assume the guardianship of the monument. (3) The owner of any protected monument may, by written instru- ment, constitute the Director-General the guardian of the monument, and the Director-General may, with the sanction of the Central Government, accept such guardianship. (4) When the Director-General has accepted the guardianship of a monument under sub-section (3), the owner shall, except as expressly provided in this Act, have the same estate, right, title and interest in and to the monument as if the Director-General had not been constituted a guardian thereof. 164
    • (5) When the Director-General has accepted the guardianship of a monument under sub-section (3), the provisions of this Act relating to agreements executed under section 6 shall apply to the written instrument executed under the said sub-section. (6) Nothing in this section shall affect the use of any protected monument for customary religious observances. 6. Preservation of protected monument by agreement. (1) The Collector, when so directed by the Central Government, shall propose to the owner of a protected monument to enter into an agreement with the Central Government within a specified period for the maintenance of the monument. (2) An agreement under this section may provide :for all or any of the following matters, namely:- (a) the maintenance of the monument (b) the custody of the monument and the duties of any person who may be employed to watch it (c) the restriction of the owner's right- (i) to use the monument for any purpose, (ii) to charge any fee for entry into, or inspection of, the monument, (iii)to destroy, remove, alter or deface the monument, or (iv) to build on or near the site of the monument; ((d) the facilities of access to be permitted to the public or any section thereof or to archaeological officers or to persons deputed by the owner or any archaeological officer or the Collector to inspect or maintain the monument; (e) the notice to be given to the Central Government in case the land on which the monument is situated or any ad- joining land is offered for sale by the owner, and the right to be reserved to the Central Government to purchase such land, or any specified portion of such land, at its market value (f) the payment of any expenses incurred by the owner or by the Central Government in connection with the maintenance of the monument; (g) the proprietary or other rights which are to vest in the Central Government in respect of the monument when any 165
    • expenses are incurred by the Central Government in connection within the maintenance of the monument; (h) the appointment of an authority to decide any dispute arising out of the agreement; and (i) any matter connected with the maintenance of the monument which is a proper subject of agreement between the owner and the Central Government. (3) The Central Government or the owner may, at any time after the expiration of three years from the date of execution of an agree- ment under this section, terminate it on giving six months' notice in writing to the other party: Provided that where the agreement is terminated by the owner, he shall pay to the Central Government the expenses, if any, incurred by it on the maintenance of the monument during the five years immediately preceding the termination of the agreement or, if the agreement has been in force for a shorter Period, during the period the agreement was in force. (4)An agreement under this section shall be binding on any per- son claiming to be the owner of the monument to which it relates, from, through or under a party by whom or on whose behalf the agreement was executed. 7. Owners under disability or not in possession. (1)If the owner of a protected monument is unable, by reason of infancy or other disability, to act for himself, the son legally competent to act on his behalf may exercise the powers conferred upon an owner by section 6. [[ (2)In the case of village property, the headman or other village officer exercising powers of management over such property may exercise the powers conferred upon an owner by section 6. (3)Nothing in this section shall be deemed to empower any person not being of the same religion as the person on whose behalf he is acting to make or execute an agreement relating to a protected monument which or any part of which is periodically used for the religious worship or observances of that religion. 8. Application of endowment to repair a protected monument. (1)If any owner or other person competent to enter into an agreement under section 6 for the maintenance of a protected monument refuses or fails to enter into such an agreement, and if any endowment has been created for the purpose of keeping such monument in repair or for that purpose among others, the Central Government may institute a suit in the court of the district judge, or, if the estimated cost of repairing the monument does not exceed one thousand rupees, may make an application to the district judge, for the proper application of such endowment or part thereof. 166
    • (2)On the hearing of an application under sub-section (1), the district judge may summon and examine the owner and any person whose evidence appears to him necessary and may pass an order for the proper application of the endowment or of any part thereof, and any such order may be executed as if it were a decree of a civil court. 9. Failure or refusal to enter into an agreement. (1)If any owner or other person competent to enter into an agreement under section 6 for the maintenance of a protected monument refuses or fails to enter into such an agreement, the Central Government may make an order providing for all or any of the matters specified in sub-section (2) of section 6 and such order shall be binding on the owner or such. other person and on every person claiming title to the monument from, through or under, the owner or such other person. (2)Where an order made tinder sub-section (1) provides that the monument shall be maintained by the owner or other person competent to enter into an agreement, all reasonable expenses for the maintenance of the monument shall be payable by the Central Government. (3) No order under sub-section (1) shall be made unless the owner or other person has been given an opportunity of making a representation in writing against the proposed order. 10.(1)Power to make order prohibiting contravention of agreement under section 6. If the Director-General apprehends that the owner or occupier of a protected monument intends to destroy, remove, alter, deface, imperil or misuse the monument or to build on or near the site thereof in contravention of the terms of an agreement under section 6, the Director-General may, after giving the owner or occupier an opportunity of making a representation in writing, make an order prohibiting any such contravention of the agreement: Provided that no such opportunity may be given in any case where the Director-General, for reasons to be recorded, is satisfied that it is not expedient or practicable to do so. (2) Any person aggrieved by an order under this section may appeal to the Central Government within such time and in such manner as may be prescribed and the decision of the Central Government shall 11.(1)Enforcement of agreements. If an owner or other person who is bound by an agreement for the maintenance of a monument under section 6 refuses or fails within such reasonable time as the Director-General may fix, to do any act which in the opinion of the Director-General is necessary for the maintenance of the monument, the Director-General may authorise any person to do any such act, and the owner or other person shall be liable to pay the expenses of doing any such act or such portion of the expenses as the owner may be liable to pay under, the agreement. 167
    • (2) If any dispute arises regarding the amount of expenses pay- able by the owner or other person under sub-section (1), it shall be referred to the Central Government whose decision shall be final. 12.Purchasers at certain sales and persons claiming throgh owner bound by instrument executed by owner. Every person who purchases, at a sale for arrears of land revenue or any other public demand, any land on which is situated a monument in respect of which any instrument has been executed by the owner for the time being under section 5 or section 6, and every person claiming any title to a monument from, through or under, an owner who executed any such instrument, shall--be bound by such instrument. 13.Acuquistion of protected monuments. If the Central Government apprehends that a protected monument is in danger of being destroyed, injured, misused, or allowed to fall into decay, it may acquire the protected monument under the provisions of the- Land Acquisition Act,1894, as if the maintenance of the protected monument were a public purpose within the meaning of that Act. 14.Maintenance of certain protected monuments. (1) The Central Government shall maintain every monument which has been acquired under section 13 or in respect of which any of the rights mentioned in section 5 have been acquired. (2)When the Director-General has assumed the guardianship of a monument under section 5, he shall, for the purpose of maintaining such monument, have access to the monument at all reasonable times, by himself and by his agents, subordinates and workmen, for the purpose of inspecting the monument and for the purpose of bringing such materials and doing such acts as he may consider necessary or desirable for the maintenance thereof. 15.Voluntary contributions.The Director-General may receive voluntary contributions towards the cost of maintaining a protected monument and may give orders as to the management and application of any funds so received by him: Provided that no contribution received under this section shall be applied to any purpose other than the purpose for which it was contributed. 16. Protection of place of worship form misuse, pollution or desecration. (1)A protected monument maintained by the Central Government under this Act which is a place of worship or shrine shall not be used for any purpose inconsistent with its character. (2)Where the Central Government has acquired a protected monument under section 13, or where the Director-General has purchased, or taken a lease or accepted a gift or bequest or assumed guardianship of a protected monument under section 5, and such 168
    • monument or any part thereof is used for religious worship or observances by any community. the Collector shall make due provision for the protection of such monument or part thereof, from pollution or desecration- (a) by prohibiting the entry therein, except in accordance with the conditions prescribed with the concurrence of the persons, if any, in religious charge of the said monument or part thereof, of any person not entitled so to enter by the religious usages. of the community by which the monument or part thereof is used, or (b) by taking such other action as he may think necessary in this behalf. 17.Relinquishemnt of Government rights in monument. With the sanction of the Central Government, the DirectorGeneral may,- (a) where rights have been acquired by the Director- General in respect of any monument under this Act by virtue of any sale, lease, gift or will, relinquish, by notification in the Official Gazette, the rights so acquired to the person who would for the time being be the owner of the monument if such rights had not been acquired; or (b) relinquish any guardianship of a monument which he has assumed under this Act. 18.Right of access to protected monuments. Subject to any rules made under this Act, the public shall have right of access to any protected monument. PROTECTED AREAS 19. Restictions on enjoyment of property rights in protected areas. (1)No person, including the owner or occupier of a protected area, shall construct any building within the protected area or carry on any mining, quarrying, excavating, blasting or any operation of a like nature in such area, or utilise such area or any part thereof in any others manner without the permission of the Central Government: Provided that nothing in this sub-section shall be deemed to prohibit the use of any such area or part thereof for purposes of cultivation if such cultivation does not involve the digging of not more than one foot of soil from the surface. (2)The Central Government may, by order, direct that any building constructed by any person within a protected area in contravention of the provisions of sub-section (1) shall be removed within a specified period and, if the person refuses or fails to comply with the order, 169
    • the Collector may cause the building to be removed and the person shall be liable to pay the cost of such removal. 20.Power to acquire a protected area. If the Central Government is of opinion that may protected area contains an ancient monument or antiquities of national interest and value, it may acquire such area under the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act, 1984, as if the acquisition were for a public purpose within the meaning of that Act. ARCHAEOLOGICAL EXCAVATIONS 21.Excavations in Protected areas. An archaeological officer or an officer authorised by him in this behalf or any person holding a licence granted in this behalf under this Act (hereinafter referred to as the licensee) may, after giving notice in writing to the Collector and the owner, enter upon and make excavations in any protected area. 22.Excavations in areas other than protected areas. Where an archaeological officer has reason to believe that any area not being a protected area contains ruins or relies of historical or archaeological importance, he or an officer authorised by, him in this behalf may, after giving notice in writing to the Collector and the owner, enter upon and make excavations in the area. 23. Compulsory purchase of antiquities, etc., discovered during excavation operations.(1)Where, as a result of any excavations made in any area under section 21 or section 22, any antiquities are discovered, the archaeological officer or the licensee, as the case may be, shall,- (a) as soon as practicable, examine such antiquities and submit a report to the Central Government in such manner and containing such particulars as may be prescribed ; (b) at the conclusion of the excavation operations, give notice in writing to the owner of the land from which such antiquities have been discovered, of the nature of such antiquities. (2) Until an order for the 1[compulsory acquisition] of any such antiquities is made under sub-section (3), the archaeological officer or the licensee, as the case may be, shall keep them in such safe custody as (3) On receipt of a report under sub-section (1), the Central Govern-he may deem fit. 170
    • ment may make an order for the 2[compulsory acquisition of any such antiquities.] --------------------------------------------------------------------- 1 Subs. by Act 52 of 1972 s. 33, for quot;compulsory purchasequot; (w.e.f. 5-4-1976). 2 Subs. by s. 33, ibid., for certain words (w.e.f. 5-4-1976). --------------------------------------------------------------------- (4)When an order for the 1[compulsory acquisition] of any antiquities is made under sub-section (3), such antiquities shall rest in the Central Government with effect from the date of the order. 24. Excavations, etc., for archaeological purposes. 24.Excavations, etc., for archaeological purposes. No State Government shall undertake or authorise any person to undertake any excavation or other like operation for archaeological purposes in any area which is not a protected area except with the previous approval of the. Central Government and in accordance with such rules or directions, if any, as the Central Government may make or give in this behalf. PROTECTION OF ANTIQUITIES 25. Power of Central Government to control moving of antiquities. 25. Power of Central Government to control moving of antiquities. (1) If the Central Government considers that any antiquities or class of antiquities ought not to be moved from the place where they are without the sanction of the Central Government, the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, direct that any such antiquity or any class, of such antiquities shall not be moved except with the written permission of the Director-General. (2)Every application for permission under sub-section (1) shall be in such form and contain such particulars as may be prescribed. (3)Any person aggrieved by an order refusing permission may appeal to the Central Government whose decision shall be final. 26. Purchase of antiquities by Central Government. (1) If the 171
    • Central Government apprehends that any antiquity mentioned in a notification issued under sub-section (1) of section 25 is in danger of being destroyed, removed, injured, misused or allowed, to fall into decay or is of opinion that, by reason of its historical or archaeo- logical importance, it is desirable to preserve such antiquity in a public place, the Central Government may make an order for the 2[compulsory acquisition of such antiquity] and the Collector shall thereupon give notice to the owner of the antiquity 2[to be acquired.] (2)Where a notice of 1[compulsory acquisition] is issued under subsection (1) in respect of any antiquity, such antiquity shall vest in the Central Government with effect from the date of the notice. --------------------------------------------------------------------- 1 Subs. by Act 52 of 1972 s. 33, for quot;compulsory Purchasequot; (w.e.f 5-4- 1976). 2 Subs. by a. 33, ibid. for certain; words (w.e.f. 5-4-1976). --------------------------------------------------------------------- (3) The power of 1[compulsory acquisition] given by this section shall not extend to any image or symbol actually used for bona fide religious observances. PRINCIPLES OF COMPENSATION 27.Compensation for loss or damage. Any owner or occupier of land who has sustained any loss or damage or any diminution of profits from the land by reason of any entry on, or excavations in such land or the exercise of any other power conferred by this Act shall be paid compensation by the Central Government for such loss, damage or diminution of profits. 28. Assessement of market value of compensation. (1) The market value of any property which the Central Government is empowered to purchase at such value under this Act or the compensation to be paid by the Central Government in respect of anything done under this Act shall, where any dispute arises in respect of such market value or compensation, be ascertained in the manner provided in sections 3, 5, 8 to 34, 45 to 47, 51 and 52 of the. Land Acquisition Act, 1894,(1 of 1984.) so far as they can be made applicable : Provided that, when making an enquiry under the said Land Acqui- sition Act, the Collector shall be assisted by two assessors, one of whom shall be a competent person nominated by the Central Government and one a person nominated by the owner, or, in case the owner fails 172
    • to nominate an assessor within such reasonable time as may be fixed by the Collector in this behalf, by the Collector. 2[ (2) For every antiquity in respect of which an order for compulsory acquisition has been made under sub-section (3) of section 23 or under sub-section (1) of section 26, there shall be paid compensation and the provisions of section 20 and 22 of the Antiquities and Art Treasures Act, 1972 (52 of 1972,) shall, so far as may be, apply in relation to the determination and payment of such compensation as they apply in relation to the determination and payment of compensation for any antiquity or art treasure compulsorily acquired under section 19 of that Act.] MISCELLANEOUS 29.Delegation of powers.The Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, direct that any powers conferred on it by or under this Act shall. subject to such conditions as may be specified in the direction, be exercisable also by- (a) such officer or authority subordinate to the Central Govern- ment, or --------------------------------------------------------------------- 1 Subs. by Act 52 of 1972, s. 33. for quot; compulsory purchasequot; (w.e.f. 5-4-1976). 2 Subs: by s. 33, ibid., for sub-section (2)(w.e.f. 5-4-1976). --------------------------------------------------------------------- (b) such State Government or such officer or authority subordinate to the State Government, as may be specified in the direction. 30. (1) Whoever- (i) destroys, removes, injures, alters, defaces, imperils or misuses Penalties. a protected monument, or (ii) being the owner or occupier of a protected monument, contravenes an order made under sub-section (1) of section 9 or under sub-section (1) of section 10, or (iii) removes from a protected monument any sculpture, carving, image, bas-relief, inscription, or other like object, or (iv) does any act in contravention of sub-section (1) of section 19, 173
    • shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to three months, -or with fine which may extend to five thousand rupees, or with both. (2) Any person who moves any antiquity in contravention of a notification issued under sub-section (1) of section 25 shall be punishable with fine which may extend to five thousand rupees; and the court convicting a per-son of any such contravention may by order direct such person to restore the antiquity to the place from which it was moved. 31.Jurisdiction to try offences. No court inferior to that of a presidency magistrate or a magistrate of the first class shall try any offence under this Act. 32.Certain offences to be cognizable. Notwithstanding anything contained in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898, (5 of 1898.) an offence under clause (i) or clause (iii) of subsection (1) of section 30, shall be deemed to be a cognizable offence within the meaning of that Code. 33.Special provision regarding fine. Notwithstanding anything contained in section 32 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1898,(5 of 1898.) it shall be lawful for any magistrate of the first class specially empowered by the State Government in this behalf and for any presidency magistrate to pass a sentence of fine exceeding two thousand rupees on any person convicted of an offence which under this Act is punishable with fine exceeding two thousand rupees. 34.Recovery of amounts due to the Government. Any amount due to the Government from any person under this Act may, on a certificate issued by the Director-General or an' archaeological officer authorised by him in this behalf be recovered in the same manner as an arrear of land revenue. 35. Ancient monuments, etc., which have ceased to be of nationalimportance. 35.Ancient monuments, etc., which have ceased to be of national importance. If the Central Government is of opinion that any ancient and historical monument or archaeological site and remains declared to be of national importance by or under this Act has ceased to be of nationals importance, it may, by notification in the Official Gazette, declare that the ancient and historical monument or archaeological (f)the form and manner of preferring appeals under this Act 174
    • and the time within which they may be preferred; (g) the manner of service of any order or notice under this Act ; (h) the manner in which excavations and other like operations for archaeological purposes may be carried on ; (i) any other matter which is to be or may be prescribed. (3)Any rule made under this section may provide that a breach thereof shall be punishable,- (i) inthe case of a rule made with reference to clause (a) of sub-section (2), with imprisonment which may extend to three months, or with fine which may extend to five thousand rupees, or with both ; (ii) in the case of a rule made with reference to clause (b) of sub-section (2), with fine which may extend to five thousand rupees; (iii)in the case of a rule made with reference to clause (c) of sub-section (2), with fine which may extend to five hundred rupees. (4)All rules made under this section shall be laid for not less than thirty days before each House of Parliament as soon as possible after they are made, and shall be subject to such modifications as Parliament may make during the session in which they are so laid or the session immediately following. 39. Repeals and savings. (1)The Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains (Declaration of National Importance) Act, 1951, (71 of 1951.) and section 126 of the States Reorganisation Act, 1956, (37 of 1956.) are hereby repealed. (2) The Ancient Monuments. Preservation Act, 1904, (7 of 1904) shall cease to have effect in relation to ancient and historical monuments and archaeological sites and remains declared by or under this Act to be of national importance, except as respects things done or omitted to be done before the commencement of this Act. © 2005 Indian Government. Reproduced in accordance with s52(q) of the Copyright Act 1957 (India) 175
    • Annex 15 Project disaster Nothing justifies the proposed Sethusamudram shipping canal, says Preeti Sharma. 8 May 2007: It would seem the most natural thing to have a channel that cuts the sailing time from the east to the west coast and the west coast to the east by a day and saves a distance of about five hundred nautical miles. And yet, the proposed Sethusamudram Shipping Channel Project (SSCP) could turn out India’s worst environmental nightmare, potentially deplete thorium reserves, risk a LTTE-Indian Navy confrontation drawing India unwillingly into Sri Lanka’s civil war, and become a financial liability. The Centre and the Tamil Nadu government insist that SSCP will bring international shipping traffic to the Tuticorin Port. The Port is situated in the Gulf of Mannar/ Palk Bay/ Palk Strait (GoMPBPS) area where the maritime boundaries of India and Sri Lanka meet. Presently, oceanliners skip Tuticorin and instead anchor at Colombo because GoMPBPS has an average draught of 7.5 metres. Almost in the middle of this area lies a sandstone reef called Ramar Bridge (Adam’s Bridge) where the draught shallows to less than three metres. SSCP conceives dredging a one hundred and sixty seven kilometre long, twelve metre deep and three hundred metre wide channel in this region cutting through the Ramar Bridge, which has separately angered the Sangha Parivar. The Tamil Nadu government hopes that this channel will become an alternative, shorter sea lane to going around Sri Lanka for ships bound either for Chennai or to South East Asia and beyond. The state government believes that with Tuticorin, about fifteen smaller ports will also benefit from international shipping in the GoMPBPS area. Off and on, security dimensions have been given to SSCP, but never very convincingly. One argument is that in an Indian Ocean war, a major rival power could prevent the Indian Western and Eastern fleet from joining up for common action, and that the SSCP could prevent this. To this writer, an Indian Navy spokesman did not deny such a scenario. But he added, “Look, the Navy has nothing to do with the project. We were not consulted at any stage. It is entirely a Shipping Ministry project.” On one hand, this would not matter. It is no secret that the Minister of Shipping, Road, Transport and Highways, T.R.Baalu, of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), is pushing the project at the behest of the Tamil Nadu chief minister, M.Karunanidhi. Perhaps with the exception of the Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (ADMK) chief, J.Jayalalithaa, no Tamil Nadu political leader or party is opposed to SSCP. All of them believe that it will miraculously turn Tuticorin into a trade hub in the region much like Singapore. Except that our researches show this won’t happen. But rather, that the project would make the peninsular region more vulnerable to tsunami and provoke unprecedented environmental degradation. Not only is SSCP economically unviable, the well known international tsunami expert, Professor Tadepalli “Tad” S.Murthy, has warned that it would draw in any tsunami originating in the Sumatra/ Andaman Sea area to hit the west coast and most devastatingly South Kerala. More immediately, the project will kill South East Asia and South Asia’s first marine biosphere in the almost still, calm waters of the Gulf of 176
    • Mannar. This biosphere is home to more than three thousand six hundred rare plant and animal species. Four other factors should weigh in against the project. One is the confirmed heritage value of the Ramar Bridge, dated by a NASA digital image to be 17.5 lakh years old, which matches the ancient age of human settlement in Sri Lanka. Indeed, Sri Lanka sought a bridge on the stone reef to India. But the proposal came to nothing. Second, GoMPBPS is a major sedimentation sink for the east coast. While the causes for the sedimentation are Indian/ Sri Lankan rivers and long shore currents, what makes the area a sink is perhaps the Ramar Bridge. It acts as a natural breakwater and forces ocean currents the longer way around Sri Lanka. By that token, Ramar Bridge has also made the marine biosphere possible. And now, tsunami experts by and large agree that the Bridge considerably diminished the intensity of the 26 December 2004 tsunami. While Nagappattinam north of GoMPBPS and Kanyakumari to the south were brutally impacted by the tsunami, places within the region themselves escaped more lightly. Third, because GoMPBPS is a sedimentation sink, there is frenetic land building happening to its immediate north. Experts like G.Victor Rajamanickam, Professor of Earth Sciences at Thanjavur’s Tamil University and India's eminent coastal geo- morphologist and mineralogist, say that this land building activity will likely connect Vedaranyam to Sri Lanka’s Jaffna peninsula in another four hundred years. His studies reveal that the Palk Strait has grown shallower by an astonishing six metres between 1960 and 1986, which would suggest that this Strait is being silted in at the rate of twenty four centimetres a year. The Sethusamudram Shipping Channel Project goes against this natural land building activity, and would ravage a rare natural breakwater, and condemn the unique environment of the region. The Sethusamudram canal will never make profits, argues Preeti Sharma. 10 May 2007: Four, the project will kill the fishing industry and destroy the livelihood of about 3.5 lakh fishermen in six coastal districts of Tamil Nadu. Already, dredging activity has scared the fish to other areas, reducing catches. These waters have anyhow become dangerous for Indian fishermen. Inadvertently crossing into Sri Lankan waters, they face firing from the Sri Lankan Navy, which accuses them of smuggling arms for the Tamil Tigers. On the other hand, the Tamil Nadu police chief has newly disclosed that the LTTE has had a hand in the killing of Indian fishermen and even capturing them. With the upcoming project, the fishermen face a bleak future. While the shipping minister, Baalu, makes an unacceptable comparison between the project and alleged increases in catches with the development of the Tuticorin Port, an NGO representing the fishermen, Coastal Action Network (CAN), has filed a public interest litigation in the Supreme Court which is due for hearing in July. The fate of the Sethusamudram Project rests on the judgment. The Sethusamudram Project was conceived by a British commander of the Indian Marine, A.D.Taylor, in 1860. He could well have drawn inspiration for it from the Suez Canal which was then being constructed. Nearly one and a half centuries later, India has commenced on his abandoned dream project, but any similarity it bears to the vastly profitable Suez Canal or Panama Canal projects is illusory. SSCP’s major backers, including the Tamil Nadu government and the Tuticorin Port Trust, make 177
    • untenable comparisons with both Suez and Panama. While the sixty four kilometre long Panama Canal saves ships a 22,500 kilometre journey around South America, the Suez contributes an eighty six percent reduction on a trip that would otherwise have to be taken about the African continent. On the other hand, Sethusamudram cuts off sailing time of less than a day and a distance of about five hundred nautical miles, which is a negligible saving compared to the costs of using the channel, according to the calculations of a former deputy chairman of the Tuticorin Port Trust, K.S.Ramakrishnan. Any ship using SSCP will have to pay pilotage charges. There are various ways to calculate pilotage charges. Ramakrishna’s method is simple. In his short paper of July 2005, he uses the lowest amortized pilotage charges of Chennai Port. He arrives at a figure of Rs 1.11 lakh per kilometre which a ship has to pay for pilotage. The comparable cost for Tuticorin Port, which is still recovering its capital cost on the approach channel, is more than two and a half times higher. For a channel length of Sethusamudram that would require pilotage, which Ramakrishnan fixes at fifty six kilometre, even at the lowest, amortized Chennai Port cost, a ship would end up spending eight times more than it would to go around Sri Lanka. Ramakrishna, therefore, concludes that ships won’t use the channel. When Ramakrishnan made his calculation, SSCP had not revealed its pilotage charges. Later, almost as if to rebut Ramakrishnan, it made public its tariff plan, but used another formula. These two, that is Ramakrishnan’s conclusion and SSCP’s projections, cannot be reconciled. But in any case, Captain Balakrishnan, a retired Indian Navy frigate commander and merchant seaman, says that the bulk of international shipping, comprising vessels larger than sixty thousand tonnes, cannot use the SSCP because the draught of ten metres is inadequate. Captain Balakrishnan says, “For international shipping, time is of the essence. Ships cannot afford to wait for pilots and berths, and it is unlikely that in a channel sixty kilometres long, pilotage will be a streamlined and time saving affair. At any rate, pilots are always in shortage. The major container vessels avoid Indian ports by and large, preferring Colombo in between Singapore and Dubai. Container feeder vessels from Colombo may use Tuticorin, but this traffic, if it at all generates, will be negligible in relation to any substantial revenues for the port. The port will make no money. In addition, this area is cyclonic. Major shippers do not like cyclonic coasts.” Captain Balakrishnan says that GoMPBPS and further north are virtually unnavigable during the months of October to January when cyclones rage in the area. He remembers of his navy days when, on one occasion in April 1986, for thirty hours he could not see the aircraft carrier Vikrant during a cyclone. He was providing frigate escort to it. Everything on his deck was washed away. His radar would not swivel in strong winds. He also recalls in the early Nineties when an oil drilling ship broke six heavy anchors in the Cauvery basin and washed ashore because of powerful cyclonic storms. Captain Balakrishnan says that ships prefer taking the longer route around Sri Lanka even to go to Tuticorin and, at any rate, they would burn up fuel forced at a slow speed of ten knots per hour to go through the channel. “They call it the cyclonic coast, and the Sethusamudram Project will make no difference,” he says. “And let’s forget about the project making any money.” What galls fierce critics of the Sethusamudram Project, however, is that it will sink the investments, already projected upwards of Rs 2400 crore, without any chance of recovery. In this, the Tamil Nadu government mostly covers itself, but loss makers would include the major stakeholders in the Sethusamudram Project Limited SPV, including the major port trusts and the Centre. V.Sundaram, a former IAS officer and 178
    • the first chairman of the Tuticorin Port Trust, cannot reconcile to the huge costs of dredging, which would ultimately amount to nothing. “As the first chairman of the Tuticorin Port Trust, I was a member of the Lakshminarayanan Committee which was set up to examine the feasibility of the Sethusamudram Project,” says Sundaram. “We estimated the cost of dredging in 1981 at Rs 180 crore and now it is shown as Rs 2400 crore (the project dredging estimate is Rs 1719.6 crore), which will further increase. Please investigate why the dredging costs have shot up and who is making money.” SSCP could degrade India’s ambitions in the Indian Ocean, writes Preeti Sharma. 12 May 2007: Even assuming the worst that SSCP will make no money, does it redeem itself at all? One argument is that SSCP will reinforce India’s sovereign maritime territorial rights in the GoMPBPS area, although neither the Centre nor the Tamil Nadu government have ever officially taken this line. Before the government clarified, questions were raised in Sri Lanka’s parliament about the project, but its then foreign minister, Lakshman Kadirgamar, said that the SSCP alignment was in Indian waters but that anyhow India was keen to remove misapprehensions. But a bigger threat has been cited from the United States, although significantly, the Indian government has been silent on it. In August 1976 and June 1979, the Indian and Sri Lankan governments declared the waters of the Gulf of Mannar as “historic” and those of the Palk Bay as “internal”. Rejecting this, the US Navy conducted “operational assertions” as late as 2001. On 23 June 2005, the US Department of Defence reiterated that these claims were untenable through reissue of a manual for operational assertions. Less than a month later, despite pointed warnings by the international tsunami expert, Professor Tad Murthy, the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government expeditiously commenced on the Sethusamudram Project. While again, there is no official word, it is implied that the project would warn the US Navy off the GoMPBPS area. The US does not accept India and Sri Lanka’s “historic claim” to the Gulf of Mannar waters. In the absence of a navigable channel, the US Navy cannot do much more than show its flag, and with its growing operational burdens in the Middle East, the Taiwan Strait, and with rising tensions with Russia, it is unlikely that it will do further assertions here. In any case, the Indian Navy has the capability to bottle up any such intention, and on current account, the US claims only a friendly intent with India. North, in the Palk Bay and Palk Strait, Indian and Sri Lankan straight baseline territorial claims exceed the twelve nautical mile limit set by the UN Convention on Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The United States has not ratified UNCLOS but insists on its right to free passage in the GoMPBPS area under UNCLOS. But SSCP is not the answer to keep the US away. For one, SSCP is in Indian territorial waters. If the US insists, it can still force its Navy into the strip of water lying between the UNCLOS-mandated Indian and Sri Lankan claims. But with India laying historical claims over and above those granted by UNCLOS, the US would have to confront the Indian Navy, which it would not want. But in any case, this bears no connection to the SSCP. So how SSCP helps in reinforcing our territorial claims in the GoMPBPS area is an open question. 179
    • Commodore Rajeev Sawhney of the New Delhi-based National Maritime Foundation sees no connection between SSCP and any perceived threat from the United States. “In any case, SSCP lies in our territorial waters,” says Commodore Sawhney. “It would not help the government to counter US operational assertions in the area.” Adds Rear Admiral (Retired) O.P.Sharma, an expert on maritime law, “Sri Lanka is comfortable with the boundary agreement with India, so I see no reason for an US objection. The US has not ratified UNCLOS anyhow. India should not bother.” The key thing is that the Indian Navy has not been broached on this issue specific to SSCP. So, if the Indian government has a sense that somehow SSCP will assist it against the US claim, it is putting good money after a bad project. SSCP’s second alleged advantage is that it would enable the Indian Eastern and Western fleet to quickly join in action in a contingency. The underlying apprehension, although never expressed by the Indian Navy, is that a rival power could establish in the rough area of the Gulf of Mannar and divide and take on the two fleet. The logic of this is hard to deny, and it follows on the British capture of Gibraltar in The War of the Spanish Succession in the early eighteenth century which denied the French the advantage of having fleet in the Atlantic and in the Mediterranean Sea. The Indian Navy spokesman told this writer that there wasn’t much strategic basis to this, although there was no deny that a channel would cut sailing distance and time. Captain Balakrishnan more forthrightly rejects any strategic setback to the Navy not having the Sethusamudram Project. “Since at least the Seventies,” says Captain Balakrishnan, “India has worked on a two-fleet principle. Once a year or during VIP visits, the fleet join. Otherwise, they work perfectly independently, and no power can prevent them from coming together. Anyhow, Sethusamudram is not the answer. Naval ships never move alone, and they need wide seas to operate. In the channel, ships have to move in single file. The escort profile can never be maintained. V.Prabhakaran (of the Tamil Tigers) will salivate at the sight of the unescorted Indian Navy. There are the Sea Tigers to contend with in the area. And remember that not only has the LTTE air power, it has also shown skills in night flying. For the Navy, the channel only represents a source of trouble.” Since the channel draught is no more than ten metres, it rules out the aircraft carrier Viraat in full load, and the under- refurbishment Admiral Gorshkov cannot pass Sethusamudram at all. For Indian naval power projection in the Indian Ocean, a naval base in Rameshwaram would be an asset. But the SSCP could be a liability. On the other hand, the Sethusamudram Project’s positive disadvantages are several. It could, for a start, draw India into the LTTE-Sri Lanka civil war. India has said no to joint patrolling with the Sri Lankan Navy in the area as this would bias it against the LTTE, whereas India wants to stay neutral. Even without any channel traffic, Indian fishermen are being fired upon both by the Sri Lankan Navy and the LTTE, each claiming that the fishermen are spying or working for the other party. Imagine when the channel opens, and in addition to securing such international shipping as passes through it, the fishermen also have to be protected by the Navy. Also, in the triangle pointing to the Gulf of Mannar and in the scalene triangle north of Palk Bay, currently no international ships go. But with the channel and ships coming, smuggling to the LTTE gains impetus. The Indian Navy would not care for the additional responsibility of boarding ships to search for LTTE weapons. And in case LTTE air power is deployed against ships using the channel, it would destroy India’s image and circumscribe its ambitions in the Indian Ocean. 180
    • SSCP hurts Indian fishermen worst, insists Preeti Sharma. 14 May 2007: Second, nature is working against the Sethusamudram project. In a lucid piece in the Economic and Political Weekly, Dr R.Ramesh of a Coimbatore organization called Doctors for Safer Environment highlights one critical aspect of the GoMPBPS area, which is that it is one of India¡¦s five major sedimentation sinks. While Indian and Sri Lankan rivers and long shore currents are the source of most of this sedimentation, the region becomes a sink perhaps on account of the Ramar Bridge which acts as a natural breaker for the ocean currents. Any SSCP study done on sedimentation is before the 26 December 2004 tsunami, and Dr Ramesh says that even these studies, one of them conducted by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) of Nagpur, address a small amount of the sedimentation. For example, the annual sediment load for the sink is 58.8000 x 106mƒV. This causes the area to become shallower by a centimetre every year. NEERI in its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study for SSCP is able to account for only a fraction of this, for 0.2657 x 106m3, which is sediments contributed by long shore currents and tides in the Ramar Bridge or Adam¡¦s Bridge area. Subtracting for other studies which account for sedimentation, a colossal 99.4 per cent of the sediment load is unaccounted for in the waters where the Sethusamudram Channel is being dredged. Consequently, dredging and sedimentation are taking place side by side, and it is quite possible that nature will win out. Indeed, the sediment load in the GoMPBPS area would be much larger. The data published here is all pre-2004 tsunami. From the SSCP angle, there is worse news in the Vedaranyam-Jaffna peninsular stretch of Palk Bay. According to a study by S.M.Ramaswamy et al in 1998, the rate of sediment building activity here is twenty-nine metres a year. They say that at this rate, Vedaranyam would be connected to Jaffna peninsula in another four hundred years. G.Victor Rajamanickem, a noted coastal geo-morphologist and mineralogist, says that between 1960 and 1986, the Palk Bay grew shallower by six metres. The SSCP is being dug coincidentally in areas where the sea bed is rising twenty-five to seventy-five times more than the average. Project authorities have so far shown no concern for these facts. Three, Sethusamudram will destroy the livelihood of at least 3.5 lakh fishermen in the coastal districts of Tamil Nadu. As such, catches have been dwindling, forcing fishermen to scout in areas falling in Sri Lankan territory, especially near the island of Katchatheevu. Since the past two months, fishermen have been killed or abducted either by the Sri Lankan Navy or the LTTE. Each side accuses the fishermen of spying for the other side. To prevent more killings, the Indian Navy has deployed in the area but refused joint patrolling with the Sri Lankan Navy. In this background of desperate fishermen risking their lives for catches in far out areas comes the Sethusamudram Project, whose preliminary capital dredging with high noise levels has already migrated some fish species to other waters. This was one of several findings of a Coastal Action Network-mandated team that visited Rameshwaram, Pamban, Mandapam and other areas at the urging of fishing communities there. The other findings of the team were that dredging has ceased because the spud of the cutter-sucker dredger Aquarius broke while attempting to cut the Ramar Bridge, and that dredging dumps are coming up in undesignated 181
    • locations because of local protests. From all accounts, catches have diminished, giving a lie to the assurances of the Union Shipping Minister and the DMK¡¦s leading light, T.R.Baalu. As we explained earlier in the piece, Baalu has been making disingenuous comparisons between the development of Tuticorin Port and the Sethusamudram Project. While the development of a port does destabilize the environment, it is nothing to the degradation that will be caused by SSCP. The Movement Against Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project (TMASSCP), working on a mandate from CAN, has detailed the misinformations of Baalu in regard to the risk to marine life and especially the marine biosphere in the Gulf of Mannar. TMASSCP has also alleged that fishermen were not compensated for nets worth lakhs of rupees destroyed by Sethusamudram dredgers, despite complaints to local authorities. A Deccan Herald report of September 2004 says that during a series of meetings called by the Tuticorin Port Trust to hear public objections to the Sethusamudram Project, representatives of political parties shouted down the fishermen and environmentalists who feared risk to the Gulf of Mannar marine reserve. Four, the project will without a doubt destroy South Asia and South East Asia¡¦s first marine biosphere in the Gulf of Mannar. It is safe to conclude that the Ramar Bridge, acting as a breakwater, induces a certain stillness and calm in the Gulf of Mannar. Over the centuries, this calm has flourished over three thousand six hundred species of plants and animals. It has five species of endangered marine turtles, innumerable fish, molluscs and crustaceans. As opposed to Palk Bay, Gulf of Mannar is deep, being over three hundred metres deep in most places. Because of the unique circulation of ocean currents, the nutrients to be found here are exceptional. In case the Ramar Bridge is breached, the shallow silted waters of the Palk Bay will flow into the Gulf of Mannar, destroying its fragile ecosystem. On the other hand, breaching the Bridge would also impact on the meadows of seagrass in the Palk Bay which are home to a large number of fish species and the rare dugong or sea cow. The prestigious Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS) is particularly exercised about the inevitable damage to the Gulf of Mannar marine biosphere from the Sethusamudram project. BNHS says that NEERI¡¦s EIA about the biosphere is ¡§insufficient¡¨ and that a detailed, all seasons study is necessary. The Tamil Nadu Environment Council (TNEC), which is accredited to the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), has also accused NEERI of paying inadequate attention to the impact of dredged depositions on marine microorganisms, especially in the Palk Bay. NEERI said that loss of microorganisms would not be significant since sediments would be deposited in a ¡§small area¡¨. TNEC¡¦s state convener, L.Antony Samy, has retorted that the marine environment cannot be compartmentalised. Meanwhile, the Coastal Action Network, in its Supreme Court PIL, has demanded the GIS data on the dredging done so far. CAN alleges that no successful dredging has taken place in the past fifteen months. There’s evidence to back the Ram Setu, says Preeti Sharma. 16 May 2007: Five, there is the heritage issue concerning the Ramar Bridge, or the Ram Setu, as the Sangha Parivar calls it, that can no longer be ignored. In October 182
    • 2002, the Press Trust of India (PTI), the national wire service, ran a story from Washington that a NASA shuttle had imaged a “mysterious ancient bridge between India and Sri Lanka, as mentioned in the Ramayana”. “The bridge’s unique curvature and composition by age reveals that it is man-made,” says the PTI report. “Legend as well as archaeological studies reveal that the first signs of human inhabitants in Sri Lanka date back to the primitive age, about 1,750,000 years ago, and the bridge’s age is also almost equivalent. This information is crucial … for an insight into the mysterious legend called Ramayana, which was supposed to have taken place in the Tredha Yuga (more than 1,700,000 years ago).” In Goswami Tulsidas’s Ramacharitamanas, whole stanzas in the chapter “Lanka Kand” are dedicated to the Ram Setu built on the orders of Lord Rama to cross to Sri Lanka to bring back Sita. Tulsidas’s Ramacharitamanas speaks of a floating bridge: Bandha Setu Neel Nal Nagar | Ram Kripa Jasu Bhayu Ujagar || Trussed a bridge did Neel and Nal on the waters, With Ram’s grace did their fame spread. Boodahin Anahi Borahi Jai | Bhay Upal Bohit Sam Tai || The drowning stones, Sailed like ships. Shri Raghubir Pratap Te Sindhu Tare Pashan | With Ram’s powers swam the boulders on the sea... (Translated excerpts by the author from Avadhi.) The existence of a man-made bridge and of its floating nature is forcefully emphasized by a former director of the Geological Survey of India and a member of the National Institute of Ocean Technology, S.Badrinarayanan. Badrinarayanan told The Times of India Group paper, Mumbai Mirror (24 April 2007), that the Ram Setu or Adam’s Bridge was not a natural formation. “Coral reefs,” he said, “are formed only on hard surfaces. But during (our) study we found that the formation at Adam's Bridge is nothing but boulders of coral reefs. When we drilled for investigation, we found that there was loose sand two to three metres below the reefs. Hard rocks were found several metres below the sand.” “Such a natural formation is impossible. Unless somebody has transported them and dumped them there, those reefs could not have come there. Some boulders were so light that they could float on water. Apparently, whoever has done it, has identified light (but strong) boulders to make it easy for transportation. Since they are strong, they can withstand a lot of weight. It should be preserved as a national monument.” On 3 and 4 May 2007, Parliament was held up by strong interventions of BJP MPs against the Sethusamudram Project because of the destruction it would cause to the Ramar Bridge. On 9 April 2007, the Society of Hindu Personal Law Board moved the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court to prevent digging of “any part of the Ram Setu”. The society said that NASA had published digital images and had radiocarbon dated the bridge as belonging to the Ramayana era. Baalu, the Shipping Minister, while denying any scientific evidence of an ancient man-made structure, 183
    • insisted that the issue could not be discussed as it was subjudice. The Lok Sabha speaker, Somnath Chatterjee, overruled him and permitted discussions. Significantly, while the Parliament debate was powered by the BJP, it was initiated by the question of two RJD MPs belonging to the ruling UPA coalition, Ram Deo Bhandary and Mangani Lal Mandal. Subsequently, a Rajya Sabha BJP MP, Shreegopal Vyas, inserted a national security dimension saying that the SSCP had to be realigned to protect the Ram Setu since besides its heritage value it embedded thorium deposits in its vicinity. On that, according to newspaper reports, the NDA and key Communist allies of the UPA government came together to charge the Shipping Ministry with colluding with a US company to deplete India’s thorium reserves in the area. “I fear that dredging and breaching Ram Setu would wash away the thorium deposits,” Vyas, the BJP MP, told this writer. “I would neither put it past the United States to carry away the dredged materials for thorium.” Dr Suresh L.Kati, former managing director of the Nuclear Power Corporation, said that “We need to establish recovery of thorium reserves. But while we know there are reserves in the sea, they may not necessarily be in that area but around. At any rate, we cannot stop ships plying a certain distance outside our territorial waters.” The issue of the presence or absence of thorium reserves, in particular, the ore it is extracted from, monazite, returns us to the 26 December 2004 tsunami and the central role of the Ramar Bridge in minimizing its impact. Professor Rajamanickam’s pre-tsunami studies established some known indicators. In the Kanyakumari region, heavy mineral assemblages were represented by monazite, zircon, rutile, garnet, tourmaline, hypersthene, hornblende, apatite, and other flaky minerals like chlorite, as well as trace amounts of glaucophane. But in the Mandapam region, astride the proposed Sethusamudram Project, flaky minerals like chlorite, biotite and muscovite were dominant, “but minerals like ilmenite, magnetite and monazite are completely absent”. In short, according to Rajamanickam, there were little to no known thorium reserves in the contentious GoMPBPS area. But this was the pre-tsunami situation. The proposed Sethusamudram shipping canal will maximize tsunami, analyzes Preeti Sharma. 18 May 2007: Following the tsunami, Rajamanickam’s team discovered amazing increases in placer minerals in an area touching Nagappattinam, Nagore, Pumpuhar, Colachal and Chennai. Incredibly, the ilmenite content of heavy minerals arose from fourteen to seventy per cent, besides the spectacular rises in other precious minerals. Rajamanickam told an interviewer, “One may take this as a blessing in disguise. Now titanium (derived from ilmenite) is going to give a higher revenue to the government as its cost is increasing everyday – like oil.” However, Rajamanickam made no study of the post-tsunami changes in the GoMPBPS area, but admits the transformation of the sediments could be revolutionary. “The tsunami had completely disturbed the shelf sediment right from River Krishna down to Kanyakumari. It had disturbed the seabed up to two hundred metres…the shelf sediments now have a completely new texture after the tsunami. If one studies the present sediments, one would be surprised to find the seabed to be a different one now.” 184
    • This is neither to suggest the presence or absence of strategic minerals like monazite. But without the benefit of a new sediment survey, there certainly is a risk pointed up in Parliament. And it returns emphasis to the central role played by the Ramar Bridge as a natural breakwater. While NASA’s digital imaging cannot be ignored, the government also cannot turn a blind eye to the geological findings of S.Badrinarayanan, a former director of the Geological Survey of India. The CPI-M leader in the Rajya Sabha, Sitaram Yechury, concedes that the potential heritage value of the Ramar Bridge must have to be examined by the government. In any case, the RSS and the VHP have threatened a national movement to save the Ramar Bridge. “We have advised the government to change the alignment of the Sethusamudram Project,” said Dr Bharat Bhushan Arya of the Vishwa Samvad Kendra, a Sangha Parivar organisation. “Along with sensitive heritage issues, there are serious environmental and security concerns about the project. The government is only bothered about revenue. If the project does not stop, the VHP will commence its agitation.” Sixth and finally, the Sethusamudram Project will become an undoubted tsunami maximizer. Since the tsunami of December 2004, several computer models have established its path and destructive mode since originating from a nine Richter earthquake hypo-centred off the west coast of north Sumatra in Indonesia. Traveling at speeds exceeding eight hundred kilometres per hour, the tsunami left its damaging impact within less than three and a half hours. Significantly, on the Indian east coast, the area between Nagappattinam and Chennai bore the brunt of the tsunami’s fury, the area of Rajamanickam’s study mentioned above. On the other hand, the GoMPBPS region, otherwise subject to fierce cyclonic storms, faced less ravaging tsunami energies. Why? While no tsunami expert or geologist has categorically sourced it to the natural breakwater effect of the Ramar Bridge, all the evidence points to it. What is to be understood is that the bridge has changed the bathometry of the region. South of the bridge, sea depth ranges from two to three hundred metres, supporting South Asia’s greatest marine biosphere. Right north, though, the shallowness is just three metres and does not go beyond twelve for most parts of the area till the Palk Strait and beyond. Clearly, the bridge has produced this varied bathometry. One consequence of this bathometry is the sedimentation process, which is rapid in the Palk Bay and Palk Strait, with the prospect of Vedaranyam in the north joining Jaffna peninsula in four hundred years. This incredible shallowness very likely acted as a quasi land breaker against the tsunami, forcing it to return to the Bay of Bengal, and make its way to Maldives and further west around Sri Lanka. Imagine if the great natural breakwater of the Ramar Bridge was absent. Professor Tad Murthy, the Canadian tsunami expert, clearly explains the consequence. He puts it in the context of a channel breaching the Ramar Bridge. Said Murthy to an interviewer, “It is very easy to show that the SSCP channel with a depth of twelve metres will indeed provide another route for the tsunami and the energy will be directed towards South Kerala.” Murthy has studied tsunamis most of his life and was with the Canadian Oceanographic Service for twenty seven years. He was also director of Australia’s National Tidal Facility for three years. He teaches at the University of Ottawa in Canada. In January 2005, right after the tsunami, he visited India in a delegation with the Canadian prime minister. In May, in a fax dated February 2005, the Tuticorin Port Trust sought his views on the project in the backdrop of the tsunami. Murthy says 185
    • that he was puzzled by the fax dated February, which he received in May, and where he was asked to reply within twenty four hours. Anyhow, Murthy suggested a reorientation of the eastern entrance of the channel towards northwest which, in his words, “will fix the tsunami problem”. The Tuticorin Port Trust dismissed his idea as “ridiculous”. Dr Ramesh of the Doctors for Safer Environment says that “had the SSCP been operational at the time of this tsunami, the fast changing currents and the turbulence would have damaged the canal considerably and would have caused a dispersal of the dredged dumps placed at sea to places unknown.” No expert with any knowledge of the area disputes that the Sethusamudram Project would maximize the effects of any future tsunami and put at risk the GoMPBPS area as never before and leave South Kerala exposed. Indeed, amidst growing fears of global warming and climate change, which in raising oceans and seas are submerging islands, care should be taken to preserve land areas. If, because of the SSCP, ocean currents roar in their fury through the GoMPBPS area, Sri Lanka would erode in the northwest and so would matching areas on the Indian east coast. While the Indian government does not take global warming seriously, its threat to national security has been finally conceded by the United States. A Center for Naval Analyses, US, report of retired American flag officers and four- and three-star generals in April this year notes that some military bases would be compromised by climate change, including Diego Garcia in the Southern Indian Ocean. “Although the consequences to military readiness are not insurmountable,” says the study, “the loss of some forward bases would require longer range lift and strike capabilities and would increase the military’s energy needs.” This report came a day ahead of the UN Security Council’s first-ever briefing on climate change. There was unprecedented consensus that climate change poses a threat to international security. Clearly, therefore, on all grounds, environmental, economic, heritage-wise, and related to security, there is absolutely no justification for the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project. In their hubris, DMK leaders are pushing the project and political compulsions prevent the Centre from opposing them. It is time that the Indian Navy shed its neutrality. With a canal, the Navy’s proposed Rameshwaram base would be risked. Its training command at Kochi would be certainly compromised in a tsunami. India cannot have a repeat of its assets in the Andamans being gravely affected by the tsunami. As a rising power and with growing ambitions in the Indian Ocean, India has to safeguard its interests. The Sethusamudram Project, on the other hand, compromises them. Preeti Sharma is Newsinsight.net’s Correspondent. http://www.newsinsight.net/archivedebates/nat2.asp?recno=1606&ctg= http://www.newsinsight.net/archivedebates/nat2.asp?recno=1607 http://www.newsinsight.net/archivedebates/nat2.asp?recno=1608 http://www.newsinsight.net/archivedebates/nat2.asp?recno=1609 http://www.newsinsight.net/archivedebates/nat2.asp?recno=1610 http://www.newsinsight.net/archivedebates/nat2.asp?recno=1611 186
    • Annex 16 Ramayana in Sangam literature 1. kadunter iraaman udanpun.ar seetaiyai valittakai arakkan vavviya jnaanr-ai nilamcer madaran.i kan.d.a kurangin cemmukap perunkil.ai izhaippolindaa angu aar-aa a varunakai yinidu per-r-ikume (Pur-anaanoor-u paadal 378) When Arakkan Ravana abducted Sita who came with Rama, the ornaments removed from her body and thrown by her to the ground, the monkey families adorned themselves erratically with these ornaments. People enjoyed seeing this sight. 2. venve_r- kavuniyar tonmudu ko_d.i muzhangirum pauvam iranku mun tur-ai velpo_r iraaman arumar-aikku avitta pal veezh aalam po_la o_viyavintanr-aal iv azhunkaloore (Akanaanoor-u paadal 70) Before Sri Rama embarked upon his journey to Sri Lanka, he sat below a big banyan tree on the banks of the sacred Setu (tiruvan.aikkarai) and was engrossed in conversation with his friends. The birds on the banyan tree were chirping. Sri Rama stopped the chirping by his command. 3. Tennavan vayaniya tunnarun tuppir- Tonmudu kadavul. Pinnar me_ya (Maduraikkaanji, Lines 40, 41) The word, ‘tennavan’ denotes Ravana. The word, ‘kadavul.’ denotes agastya muni. Agastya muni exiled Ravana from Podiya mountain. The message is that Ravana was driven away without enabling him to rule Tamilnadu. 4. imaiyavil vaangiya i_jncadai andan.an Umaiyamarndu uyarmalai irundanna_ga Aiyiru talaiyin arakkar ko_ma_n Todippoli tadakkaiyir- ki_zhppukuttam malai Ed.ukkal cella_du uzhappavan po_la (Kalittokai paadal 38) In the Himalayas, S’iva was seen with Umadevi. Then, the leadere of arakkar, the ten-headed Ravana inserted his hand to lift up that Himalayas. He felt sad that he was not able to dislodge it with his empty hand. 5. Indiran poocai; ival. Akalikai; ivan cenr-a kavutaman; cinanur-ak kalluru onr-iya padiyidu ennurai ceyvo_rum (Paripaadal paadal 19) In our Tirupparankunr-am cittiramandapam (gallery), a painting about Akalikai caapam is seen. There are many such references in ancient Tamil literature about Ramayana. These selections are only from Sangam literature and are compiled by Shri K.C. Lakshminarayanan 187
    • Annexure 17 Ecological concerns related to Sethusamudram Channel Project Frontline, Volume 22 - Issue 01, Jan. 01 - 14, 2005 SETHUSAMUDRAM CANAL PROJECT Ecologists' anguish T.S. SUBRAMANIAN NOT since the Silent Valley Project in Kerala has a project generated such spirited protests from environmentalists as the proposed Sethusamudram ship canal. If the canal is excavated, it will slice through the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay, both of which are closed marine systems, and cause irreversible damage to a variety of marine life there. The Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay are akin to large lagoons, undisturbed by ship traffic because of their shallow waters. They are home to a wide variety of marine ecosystems. The Gulf of Mannar alone boasts 3,268 species of flora and fauna, including 377 species that are endemic to the region. The region provides livelihood to the families of several lakhs of fishermen in 140 coastal villages in Ramanathapuram and Tuticorin districts of Tamil Nadu. quot;The coral reefs are the seat of biological diversity. By destroying them we are killing hundreds of species of marine animals. The marine sanctuary, which was protected by the efforts of scientists like Dr. M.S. Swaminathan, will be lost for ever,quot; says Dr. R.S. Lal Mohan, who has worked for 32 years in the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), 14 years of the period at the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute at Mandapam, near Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu. T. Lajapathi Roy of the Society for Community Organisation Trust says, quot;Sea grass meadows and seaweeds form an ecosystem which supports a variety of commercially important fish. Seagrass forms the exclusive diet of dugongs, an endangered species. Seagrass also controls coastal erosion.quot; The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report of the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur, acknowledges that the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay, covering 10,500 sq km, quot;are biologically rich and rated among the most highly productive seas of the worldquot;. Their biodiversity is considered globally significant. The Gulf of Mannar has been categorised as a Biosphere Reserve and its 21 islands have been declared National Marine Parks. There are 87 fish landing stations between Point Calimere and Pamban in the Palk Bay, and another 40 stations in the Gulf of Mannar. The region is home to about 600 varieties of fish, including 200 that are commercially important. The Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay are sensitive regions, very different from the open sea. quot;If their physical environment is disturbed in a big way, it will reflect on their biological environment, biodiversity and fishery production. Fishery production 188
    • depends on the physical environment,quot; says a marine biologist. The entire fish chain will be affected. What has alarmed environmentalists is the EIA report's observation that quot;there is apprehension that hard strata will be encountered in the Palk Bay/Palk Strait areaquot; and quot;if the bottom strata turn out to be rock... blasting might be requiredquot;. If the hard rock is blasted, the shock waves will kill the entire fish population in the area. The fish eggs/seedlings too will be killed, says Lajapathi Roy. quot;I see a couple of applications for bail almost every day at the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court because fishermen explode gelatine sticks in the rivers or the sea to catch fish,quot; says Lajapathi Roy, who is an advocate. Lal Mohan points out that dolphins, whales and dugongs are sensitive to sound and they depend on echolocation for capturing food and for navigation. The sound produced by the blasting will drive them away. Coastal Action Network, an organisation fighting for the protection of coastal ecology and the livelihood of coastal communities, in a critique of the EIA report, says that the Gulf of Mannar Biosphere Reserve is a unique marine reserve. quot;The report does not give details of the ecological destruction likely to be caused by the project. Apparently, no major studies have been carried out with special focus on the fauna of the Bay,quot; maintains Ossie Fernandes, co-convenor, Coastal Action Network. According to Lal Mohan, there are many coral beds in the region. The coral beds, which are sensitive biological entities, contribute to the fishery wealth. Destruction of the coral reefs will have an impact on fishery. If the canal were to be excavated, it will throw up 62 million tonnes of silt and sand, he says. quot;The argument that we are not destroying coral reefs because we are not dredging in the area is wrong,quot; says Lal Mohan. It takes thousands of years for coral reefs to form. Corals trap algae and manufacture oxygen in the algae. This helps small fish to thrive. The coral fish will not be able to withstand even a minor change in the temperature of the water. There are more than 120 varieties of sea grass in the region. If sunlight is blocked because of dredging, sea grass beds will die. Dugongs feed on sea grass meadows. If these meadows wilt, they will not survive. According to Dr. V. Sudarsen, Head of the Department of Anthropology, Madras University, dugongs migrate between the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar through Adam's Bridge during the two monsoons. They migrate from the Gulf of Mannar to the Palk Bay during the southwest monsoon when the sea in the Gulf becomes rough, and it would be difficult for the dugongs to feed on sea grass. During the northeast monsoon, the water in the Palk Bay becomes turbid. quot;Hence, dredging of Adam's Bridge and the movement of ships through the area would prevent the movement of dugongs between the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay. This would lead to the fragmentation of their habitat and the population of dugongs would further decline,quot; says Sudarsen. The NEERI report claims that quot;the canal may facilitate the movement of fishes and other biota from the Bay of Bengal to the Indian Ocean and vice versa. By this way, the entry of oceanic and alien species into the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar, as also the dispersal of endemic species outside the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar could occur.quot; About this, Lal Mohan says, quot;This is a preposterous claim, not supported by any scientific data. From one ecological niche to another ecological niche, fish cannot and will not migrate. Hence changes in their habitat will kill them.quot; 189
    • Environmentalists find it odd that T.R. Baalu, Union Minister for Shipping, who is enthusiastically backing the project, should compare the proposed Sethusamudram canal with the Suez Canal or the Panama Canal. They point out that the Suez Canal was cut in a desert. Neither biodiversity nor coral reefs nor fisheries were affected. It is a different ball game here, they say. http://www.hinduonnet.com/fline/fl2201/stories/20050114005002600.htm The Sethusamudram canal: boon or bane? Deccan Herald, Sunday, September 26, 2004 The Sethusamudram ship canal project has stirred up a controversy. On the one hand, trade will get a push, on the other, the impact on ecology and coastal villagers’ livelihood is debatable. The Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project, proposed in 1860, cleared first by the Jawaharlal Nehru cabinet in 1955 and studied by three committees in 1955, 1983 and 1996, has finally seen the light of day with the Manmohan Singh government clearing it much to the delight of all political parties in Tamil Nadu. Though the nod for the project was given by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on September 2, the previous NDA regime under A B Vajpayee ordered an environmental study. Navigable channel The project envisages the creation of a navigable channel from the Gulf of Mannar to the Bay of Bengal through the Palk Strait to facilitate the movement of bigger ships. This is expected to give a boost to economic development in southern Tamil Nadu. Since the Gulf of Mannar is narrow and shallow, ships from the Arabian Sea have to go around Sri Lanka to reach the eastern ports of India. Once the project is completed, it will reduce travel time for ships by 36 hours and the distance by 400 nautical miles. The Tuticorin Port Trust will be the nodal agency for this Rs 2,000-cr project. The Centre has set up a special purpose vehicle (SPV), known as the Sethusamudram Corporation Ltd, to execute the project. Headquartered in Chennai, it will have equity shares of the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), Tuticorin Port Trust and others. The SPV will have an authorised capital of Rs 800 cr with a debt equity ratio at 1:1.5. The SCI and the Tuticorin Port Trust will contribute Rs 50 cr each towards the equity while the remaining five organisations – DCI, Chennai Port Trust, Ennore Port Ltd, Visakhapatnam Port Trust and Paradip Port Trust – will contribute Rs 30 cr each. The balance will be subscribed by the Union government and its other agencies. Impact on marine life The series of meetings called by the Tuticorin Port Trust chairman in the coastal districts have turned out to be stormy with representatives of political parties 190
    • shouting down objections from fishermen, who fear the loss of livelihood, and environmentalists who say the project threatens to destroy the Gulf of Mannar Marine Reserve. This reserve is one of India’s most biologically diverse coastal regions. Over 3,600 species of plants and animals are found here. It is the first marine biosphere reserve in the South and South-East Asia and is believed to have the highest concentration of seagrass species along India’s coast. It is also among the largest remaining feeding grounds for the globally endangered species dugong. Five different species of endangered marine turtles, innumerable fish, molluscs and crustaceans are also found here. The Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), the largest NGO working in the field of bio-diversity and environmental conservation, has said the rapid Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report prepared by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) is insufficient and a detailed study should be conducted in all seasons for at least a year. In her preliminary response to a communication from the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) seeking expert comments on the EIA, Rachel Reuben, honorary secretary of the BNHS, has drawn attention to several inconsistencies in the NEERI report. The Tuticorin Port Trust (TPT) has applied for a no-objection certificate from the TNPCB on the basis of the EIA report given by NEERI. The BNHS has expressed concern at the dumping of the dredged soil material. “In identifying shore dumping sites, land use satellite imagery was used to interpret the barren land on the island without studying the prevailing ecosystems on the near shore. Instead, “dumping sites at sea may still be a better option and may be considered”. Technical studies According to the technical feasibility and economical analysis studies carried out by the Shipping Corporation of India, a savings of Rs 80.71 cr per year is envisaged if the canal passage is free. However, the pilotage and other charges levied have not been taken into account, the BNHS said. ‘‘The NEERI executive summary also mentions monitoring of underwater paint and discharge from ships. This is virtually impossible.” The NEERI report described how ships steered in the channel will avoid fauna. This is “unheard of and not practical”. Also, “we would like to know what crisis management measures are proposed for oil spills from tankers after the canal becomes operational,’’ the BNHS said. The Tamil Nadu Environment Council has said the mass of earth excavated and deposited in the deep sea will affect marine micro-organisms. Mr L Antony Samy, who is with a trust attached to the TNEC, disagreed with NEERI’s view that the loss of micro-organisms will not be significant as sediments will be deposited in a small area. He said marine environment cannot be compartmentalised “and the oceanic current of the Bay of Bengal should be taken as a whole”. Union Shipping Minister T R Baalu, however, dismissed these fears as unfounded on the ground that the proposed canal alignment will steer clear of coral reefs and the distance from the last island in the island chain to the proposed navigation line will be 20 km. 191
    • There is no vegetation in the area and there will, therefore, be no damage to the bio- sphere, he said, citing the NEERI report. Contesting the view that dredging will irrevocably destroy coral reefs, Mr Baalu pointed out that when the Tuticorin port was set up three decades ago, two or three coral reefs resurfaced after dredging. As for the fishermen’s fears about the dwindling fish catch, he again pointed to the Tuticorin port. The catch was around 55,000 tonnes a year when the port was set up, he said. It has now gone up to 1.2 lakh tonnes a year. The benefits He also contended that the project will become self-sustaining over a period of time. According to conservative estimates, about 2,000 vessels will be using the canal annually. This may eventually go up further. He reckoned that in the 19th year, the cumulative earnings from the project will cross Rs 5,000 cr. As the debate rages on, Chief Minister J Jayalalitha has struck the balance. In a memorandum to the Prime Minister, she has promised the state government’s assistance to execute the project. She also said the project should be undertaken with the participation of all concerned and the concerns of environmentalists and fishermen should be kept in mind. S MURARI in Chennai http://www.deccanherald.com/Archives/sep262004/sl2.asp 192
    • Annex 18 Excerpts from, Dr. S.M. Kamal, 1992, Sethupati mannar cheppe_d.ugal, Ramanathapuram, Sharmila padippagam 193
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    • The sample copper plate is inscribed by Kumara Muthuvijaya Raghunatha Sethupati (in the year Salivahana 1652, that is 9 June 1729) The following are excerpts from the book: Dr. SM Kamal, and N. Muhammad Sherif, 1984, Ramanathapuram District, Historical notes, Paramakkudi, Lenin Samuga Varalatru Araaycci Niruvanam. 198
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    • Evidence for the use of Setubandha as land bridge from 3rd century Before Common Era and the responsibility of Sethupathi to protect the Setubandha: “Srimara Srivallabha, who won a great victory over an alliance of south Indian enemies in a battle in Kudamukku, or Kumbakonam, invaded Sri Lanka and conquered a part of it. The national chronicle of the island, the ‘Mahavamsa’, states that the Pandya won a complete victory in a battle fought in Mahatittha and ‘the army of king Pandu spread destruction all over the island.’ This war was but an aspect of the almost perpetual hostility between the kings of the mainland and of the island dating back from the daysof Elara in the third century BC.” (page 7) “An inscription recorded there (Rameswaram temple), dated 1607, states that Dalavay Sethupathi Kattatevar presented five villages to the temple of Ramanathaswami and Parvatavardhani Amman for worship and offerings…Some of the honorifics awarded to him in this inscription read quaintly: ‘The lord of the city of Tevai; the responsible agent for the protection of the Sethu embankment; the responsible agent for the charities of Ramanathaswami; who is actively engaged in worshipping Siva; the chief of all other kings; the destroyer of the army of Ariyaraya…’ “ (Pages 28-29) “…the historical poem, ‘Ramappaiyan Ammanai’…The poem states that Tirumala Nayak ordered Ramappaiyan to meet a challenge on his northern frontiers by the Sultan of Bijapur. Having routed the Muslims, Ramappaiyan returned to the southern sector where he laid siege to Rameswaram. To do this he had to build a bridge. His followers doubted whether he could. But he himself carried the first stone, and the ballad says that he rebuilt the Sethu. Sadaika (or, Udayan Raghunatha Sethupathi)obtained the support of the Dutch from Lanka, and the invaders that of the Portugue. (This is a historical fact). There were some naval battles. Sadaika’s able general, Vanniyan, was killed, and Sadaika himself was captured, to be imprisoned in Madurai.” (Pages 30-31). Source: NS Ramaswami and I. Nagasami, 1979, Ramanathapuram District, An Archaeological Guide, Collector of Ramanathapuram. 202
    • What did Hon'ble Mu. Karunanidhi say about cultural significance of Ramar Paalam? Excerpts from an article of April 13, 2007 by Rama. Nambinarayanan © y Ž v˜ œ •² ¢ } ? t¶ ¬, ƒ, ¯ z yž …t ‚ quot; , Ž¯© y  ¶t”  ¶t” ¢ t ¶t” } {t,  ƒ x ¯~ y ¾ ¸ { ”t ~ ‚²„ Ž v˜ œ . © y Ž v˜ œ  Žyœ¯~ } Ž  ... , y{ } ¬ ‚ € ‚”~ § ¯ Ž ‚ ~ yœ¯t ¢. ¢ º Ž¾ | ¯~ ž, y {¢ t } …t Ž} ” ~Ž{t •² ~ ‚ Ž t € „ u º „ ¢. { ƒ y  ¶t”, ~ Ž ´ €v ´ ž yœ¯~  ¶t” | Ž v˜ œ ¾¢ } ž }² } © }.quot; ~œ «ƒ  ¯. «. ¯  ƒ 14.6.72 }² «º ¸ ~ yž ƒ  Ž~y © y Ž v˜ œ Žƒ ¢ { ~ ‚ ¾ Žt ~ yž„ ƒ „:  -   }  quot; »yž ¢.  { ¯|¢ Žy ~y  |~ { } u t | . Žƒ ¢ ¢ }² ƒ ¯ }² ƒ ~ž ¢. ¢ }² ƒ´ . ¢ } ¯ zž. ¢ ¢ Ž ¯|¢ t” } t”{ t ƒ 110 ´, ©{ ¯|¢ t ƒ 43 ´ ¯t ¢. ˆ { ¯|¢ ¢ t ƒ. ¢ ´ ­ 15½ | . § ‚”t œ ˆ  “ º §, t”t œ }  “º § ¯ ¢. | zž “º ¶ § |¢, ¢ u ­ | ­ t ¢. § ¾} Žƒ |¢ ” u”~ Ž} ¢ ­}  u ~ ž{ ƒ   }² ƒ´  „. 1480 |~  u { ¢. Ž” ¯ ž© ƒ ‚ yž,  30 ƒ “ º 1¼ ƒ º Ž‚². ¢ } t ¯|¢ ‚” ƒ´ ¢. | ‚  u ƒ z ¯t” “ ´ ² u ƒ z ¯t “ ¸ „ ¢. ¬œ Ž¯t” ¢ z ¾} “ 3 ƒ ¢4 œ. ƒ yž „ t z } . ‚²t €t ƒ ¶ „ . } ‚” ¯ ƒ ž | ~©  { { t” ¢. | Žƒ t”, ‚”t  ƒ´ ‚” ¾ 203
    • t” t  { } ”²t ¯ ƒ € yœ } ” ­ t” ­ t zž } y Žƒ ¯|¢ ¯ ¢.quot; -˜ € v 2007 , Translation: What does Ramanathapuram District Gazetteer say? quot;To those policy-makers, scholars and public interested in ascertaining authentic and reliable information related to social, political, economic, and traditional lives, this district-wise gazetteer has been compiled as an encyclopaedic reference…By publishing this Ramanathapuram District Gazetteer, a means will be provided for researches on this district's social history. This is exhaustive and detailed and provides significant historical details about the lives of the people of this district. I believe that this encyclopaedic documentation will be of immense help t.To the State administrators, and to those engaged in social service and research.quot; This is how Hon'ble Chief Minister Shri Mu. Karunanidhi writes on 14 June 1972 in the Preface of the document published by Tamilnadu Government. In this document, the details provided about Setu bridge (Setu Paalam) are: quot;Adam's Bridge. Adam's Bridge is a name which evokes Islamic traditions. Adam banished .from heaven, traveled walking on this bridge to reach Srilanka.This is also referred to as Nala Setu and as Tiruvan.ai (Sacred dam) in Tamil. This is also referred to as Rama Setu. There is also another name called Adi Setu. quot;This bridge is 110 miles east-south-east of Madurai, 43 miles along the same direction from Ramanathapuram. The bridge is 15.5 miles east of Rameswaram. This bridge is composed of sand and stone. The western edge of this bridge links with Rameswaram and eastern end links with the island of Mannar. Bridging these two islands (of Rameswaram and of Mannar), this bridge links Srilanka and India. This is called Ramar Paalam because this bridge was built under the leadership of Hanuman and with the participation of Vaanara Sena (Kuranguppadai) and facilitated the crossing by Rama to reach Srilanka and to attain victory. Upto 1480, this bridge had served as a land bridge to Srilanka. Thereafter, a severe cyclone created fissures changing the dimensions to 30 miles long and 1.25 miles wide. This stretches from south-east to north-west. This sand bridge (of shoals) is seen above the ocean waters in some places and below the ocean waters in some other places. When submerged, the depth of the ocean-waters is 3 or 4 feet. The sand shoals keep shifting. There are also canals interspersed. During the south-west monsoon season, severe ocean currents and surges impact on the Adam's Bridge. A project is under planning to link the west-coast harbours with east-coast harbours with a view to reducing the navigational distance by creating a channel across the Adam's Bridge and linking Gulf of Mannar and Palk Straits.quot; – Sudesi News, March 2007 http://saveramasetu.blogspot.com/2007/04/blog-post_13.html 204
    • Annex 19 Significance and sacredness of Rama Setu as described in Sri Skanda Purana By Bodhinath Shandilya http://ramasetu.blogspot.com/ This document by Bodhinath Shandilya reproduced below, establishes the sacredness of Rama Setu in Bharatiya tradition. Every faith is governed by tradition. Islamic tradition believes in the sacredness of Kaabah stone in Mecca and that the Prophet Mohammad went to heaven on his horse. Christian tradition notes that Christ actually existed and he rose from the dead. Bharatiya tradition has tirthasthana-s venerated as phenomena of nature and places made sacred by association with persons with divine qualities, persons like Rishi-s, persons like Sri Rama or Sri Krishna. Brahma Sarovar in Kurukshetra is a tirthasthana and has been deemed to be a monument by a judgement of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Setu tirtha is a tirthasthana. It is sacred because it was built by Rama’s order and continues to be protected by Rama’s order as noted in the Mahabharata. Some claim that Rama is a myth while Ravana is real ! Ravana also happens to be a Brahmana and a devotee of Mahes’vara. Observations 1. Setu’s particularly unique significance mentioned in Sri Skand Purana is that it is described as a place where prayashchitta (repentance) can be performed, for the gravest of the most heinous sins such as: a) Guru-talpa-ga: someone who has illicit relationship with the spouse of one’s own teacher. This is classified as the most heinous sin. It is important to note that Setu is mentioned as that place where someone with this sin must repent. b) Bramha-hatya: Killing a Brahmana is considered a very grave sin in traditions. Setu is a unique teertha, in that this is designated as the only place on earth, which liberates someone of this sin. Setu-mahatmya chapter provides several details and mentions a few examples such as that of Sri Rama himself, and of a king Sankara, and a few more – where someone with that sin has performed ritual karma-s of repentance at Setu. c) Bramha-ghata: Purana clearly defines 5 major classes of bramhaghatakas, and then a few minor. Again, this is a heinous sin, and Purana mentions Setu to be the holy place where one can perform repentance for this sin. 2. There is a very significant coverage given to Setu-Mahatmya in Skanda Purana, in terms of the number of chapters, verses and depth of details, as well as this section being the opening section of Bramhakhandam. Above signifies the unique and tremendous importance placed at Setu, throughout the Pauranik traditions of Hindus. Introduction Description of the significance of Rama Setu can be found in abundance throughout the literature of Dharma Shastras. In Puranas, the importance of Setu is explained in great detail, especially in Skanda Purana, Vishnu Purana, Agni Purana, and Brahma Purana. 205
    • This article explores Skanda Purana, with objective of understanding the importance with which Rama Setu is held in the Hindu traditions, and how significant it really is for Hindus. Sri Skanda Purana The most voluminous of all the eighteen main Puranas, and the other eighteen subsidiary Upa- puranas, is Skanda Purana. Skanda Purana is dedicated to Sri Skand, also famous as Kartikeya or Kumara, the illustrious son of Siva and Parvati, and chief commander of the army of Gods. Skanda Purana consists of 88,100 verses and is divided into seven different books: 1. Maheshwarakhandam 2. Vaishnavakhandam 3. Brahmakhandam 4. Kashikhandam 5. Avantyakhandam 6. Nagarakhandam 7. Prabhasakhandam Setu Mahatmya in Skanda Purana Skanda Purana’s third book, Brahmakhandam, opens with a section, which is famous as Setu- Mahatmya, and dedicates this section spanning over fifty-two chapters to describing in detail, the significance of Rama Setu, its various aspects and its history throughout the ages. The main themes of these fifty-two chapters are mentioned below: 1. Description of the Merits of Visiting Setu 2. The Construction of Setu 3. Dharmatirtha Becomes Famous as Chakratirtha 4. Redemption of Durdama from a Curse 5. Redemption from Curse of Alambusa and Vidhuma 6. Battle between the Goddess and Mahisasura 7. Mahisasura Killed 8. Sudarsana Becomes a Vampire 9. Redemption of Sudarsana and Sukarna 10. The Sanctifying Power of Papavinasa 11. Glorification of Sita Lake: Indra Absolved of the Sin of Brahmana-Slaughter 12. Glorification of Mangala Tirtha 13. The Glory of Amrtavapi: Salvation of Agastya's Brother 14. Brahma's Redemption from Siva's Curse 15. The Glory of Hanumatkunda: Dharmasakha Blessed with a Hundred Sons 16. The Glory of Agasti Tirtha: The Story of Kaksivan 17. The Glory of Agastyakunda: The Marriage of Kaksivan 18. The Glory of Ramakunda: Dharamaputra's Atonement for False Speech 19. The Glory of Laksmanatritha: Balabhadra's Redemption from the Sin of Brahmana- Slaughter 20. The Glory of Jataritha: Dharmaputra Obtains Unlimited Wealth 21. The Glory of Laksmitirtha: Dharmaputra Obtains Unlimited Wealth 22. The Glory of Agnitirtha: Duspanya Relieved of His Ghosthood 23. The Glory of Cakratirtha: Aditya Gets Golden Hands 24. The Glory of Sivatirtha: Bhairava Absolved of the Sin of Brahmana-Slaughter 25. The Glory of Sankhatirtha: Vatsanabha Freed from the Sin of Ingratitude 26. The Greatness of Ganga, Yamuna and Gaya: Janasruti Attains Perfect Knowledge 206
    • 27. The Glory of Kotitirtha: Krsna Atones for His Sin of Killing His Uncle 28. The Glory of Sadhyamrtatirtha: Pururavas Liberated from a Curse 29. The Glory of Sarvatirtha: Sucarita Attains Sayujya 30. The Glory of Dhanushkoti 31. The Glory of Kotitirtha: Asvatthama's Liberation from the Sin of Killing Sleeping Persons 32. The Glory of Dhanushkoti: Dharmagupta Gets Rid of His Madness 33. The Glory of Dhanushkoti: Paravasu Liberated from the Sin of Brahmana-Slaughter 34. The Glory of Dhanushkoti: Sumati's Liberation from Great Sins 35. The Glory of Dhanushkoti: The Jackal and the Monkey Liberated 36. The Glory of Dhanushkoti: Duracara Liberated from the Sin of Associating with Sinners 37. Ksirakunda 38. The Glory of Ksirakunda: Kadru's Expitation for her Deceitful Action 39. The Glory of Kapitirtha: Rambha and Ghrtaci Liberated from their Curse 40. The Glory of Gayatri and Sarasvati Tirthas 41. The Glory of Gayatri and Sarasvati Kundas: Destruction of Kasyapa's Sin 42. Rnamocana and Other Tirthas 43. The Glory of Ramanatha 44. The Installation of the Linga of Ramanatha 45. Rama's Discourse on Philosophy 46. The Reason for the Installation of Ramanatha 47. Rama's Sin of Brahma-hatya 48. Cessation of Great Sins Incurred by King Sankara 49. Eulogy of Ramanatha 50. The Story of Punyanidhi 51. Pilgrimage to Setu 52. The Glory of Setu This article would attempt to explore the first chapter – known as Setu-gamana-phaladi- varnanam (Description of the Merits of Visiting Setu), with objective of understanding the importance of Rama Setu in the Hindu traditions, and how significant it really is for Hindus. The format of the remainder of this article is, a strict translation from the original text, while sub-headings are added to mention the topic of discussion underneath it. The original text, directly scanned from the pages of the Purana is provided as well. <Beginning of the Translation> Description of The Merits of Visiting Setu 207
    • I pray to Sri Ganesh. I pray to Sri Veda Vyasa. I pray to Sri Vishnu, clad in white, the all- pervading, of the complexion as that of Moon, having four arms and a pleasant face; I pray to thee, please alleviate all the obstacles. The Sages of Naimisharanya (1) Shaunaka and the other Rishis were dwelling in the forests of Naimish. All of them were devotedly occupied in Eightfold-Yoga, and all of them were extremely intent upon Bramha- realization. (2) They were desirous of ultimate liberation, all of them were great souls, speakers of Bramha, and beyond attachments of the world. All were great knower of Dharma, were untouched by envy or anger, and were occupied in their mission of self-realization. (3) They had conquered their senses and anger, and were compassionate towards all beings. They were in absolute devotion to the all-pervading and eternal Vishnu. (4) Engaged in tapasya-s, in the greatly punya Naimish forest, once those great souls were assembled for a great cause. (5) They were conversing upon extremely pious subjects, destroyer of all sins. They were discussing about the nature of worldly enjoyments and means of the liberation from the worldly-bonds, as well as mutually satisfying each other’s quests. (6) Twenty-six thousand Rishis were engaged like this, and the number of their Shishyas and further their Shishyas was beyond any count. Discourse of Sri Suta (7) Arrived there with shishyas, a great luminary sage, very knowledgeable, himself a shishya of Sri Vyasa. Rishi Suta, the excellent, thus arrived in naimishAraNya. (8) Seeing him arriving, sages ignited the holy fires. Shaunaka and other Rishis welcomed and prayed to him by offering ardhya etc. (9) They seated Suta on a very auspicious and comfortable seat, (and requested him to) reveal the extreme mysteries, for the desire of the welfare of the people. (10) quot;O Suta, Bull Amongst the Sages, welcome are you, the knower of all the essence of Dharma. You have heard all the Purana-s from none other than Sri Veda Vyasa, the son of Satyavati, himself. (11) Therefore, O Great Sage, you know all the essense of all the Purana-s. Which regions are puNya-kshetras, and which are teerthas on earth? (12) How does a being attain liberation from the bonds of the worldly-ocean? How does one win the devotion to Siva and Vishnu? (13) Who does he achieve, which are the fruits that come from those acts? O Suta, please tell us these and all other (mysteries) too.quot; (14) Please tell this to us, like a Guru kindly reveals even the most hidden mystries to his finest disciples.” thus inquired the people 208
    • of Naimisharanya to Suta. (15) First bowing to his Guru Sri Vyasa, Sri Suta spoke. quot;The wise men have rightly asked these questions, which are verily of welfare to the world. (16) I shall narrate that mystery, please listen respectfully. I have not discoursed upon this to anyone else before, O Chief Amongst the Sages. (17) With disciplined minds, and with devotion, please listen to this, O best of the sages. Setu - the Foremost Amongst the Teerthas There is a holy place called Rameshwaram Rama Setu. (18) That, the best of all the teerthas, Rama Setu, liberates one if someone merely glances towards it. (19) One who performs ritual karma-s there becomes worthy of devotion to Siva and Vishu, and increases the wealth of his Punya-s. There is no doubt, that if someone performs the tri-vidha rituals there, verily acheives siddhi. (20) That man, who in his lifetime, even looks at the Setu with devotion, I am going to tell you what are the fruits of his act, O Bulls Amongst the Sages, please listen. Punya of Setu-Darshan (21) His parents, along with two-crore members of his lineage, attain to liberation and enter the worlds of Siva. (22) Even the cattle on the earth and stars in the sky, might be possible to count, but the Punya born of the Setu-darshan - that indeed even Sesha himself would not be able to measure. (23) Man, who has had the darshan of the famous Setubandha which is like the appearance of all the Gods - who can count for his puNyas! (24) Why! Just by having the darshan of Setu, men achieve the fruits of performing all the Yagyas of tradition, of bathing in all the teerthas, and of practicing all the penances. (25) O Dvija-s, even a person who just says ‘Should go to Setu’, even he verily attains the same fruits, what more to say! (26) By bathing at Setu, one gets liberation and attains the worlds of Vishnu, along with seven-crore members of one's lineage who are dead. (27) That man, who meditates upon Setu, Rameshwar, gandhamadana parvata - he verily gets liberated from all sins. (28) His mother and father, along with lakh-crore members of his lineage, get liberated there itself entering the worlds of Vishnu. They get liberated and stay at the feet of Shambhu, for three kalpa- cycles of ages. Escaping Naraka-s 209
    • (29) Being thrown with rodents, and in the wells of liquid-fat, and the river Vaitarani (the terrible river of naraka), dog-meat to eat, and urine to drink - someone who has performed ritual karma-s at Setu, does not suffer (those naraka-s). (30) He escapes the tortures from heated spears, heated rocks, and from being buried in excreta and thrown in bloody wells. (31) Also (from being forced to) climbing the silky-plant, eating blood and insects, eating own meat, and entering fires of dreadful sparks. (32) Stones being hailed at, and fire being pored upon, drinking heated salt potions – someone, who has had the darshan of Setu, does not suffer (such) deadly nets of naraka. (33) Men who perform rites at Setu (become) sagacious, even if being fallen by the five great offences. (Even their) parents and a hundred crore members of the lineage (34) are liberated to be at the feet of viSNu for three kalpa-cycles of the yuga-s. Being tortured in Naraka upside-down, and fed salt potions, (35) being tortured with stone-instruments and by being thrown down from mountains, being besmeared with excreta and being amputated with the saws, (36) (being forced for) the excreta to eat and sand to drink, joints being burned, walking on a bed of burning coals, and being beaten by clubs. (37) All these Naraka-s, the performer of rituals at Setu does not endure. (Therefore,) one must perform the rites at Setu, this I say after much contemplating. (38) Even an extremely fallen sinner, if he willingly goes (to Setu, he escapes) the tortures of being stretched on various wooden-gallows, and those of being pieced by sharp weapons, (39) of being leaped up and thrown down, being tormented by clubs and staffs, being struck by elephant teeth, or being several times bitten by snakes, (40) of smoke-chocking or of being bound in shackles, of being tormented by various types of spears, or of having to drink salt- potions through the mouth and through the nose. (41) The naraka-s where one drinks salty waters, and eats sharp needles, all these and other naraka-s, the (repenting) sinner does not go to. (42) salt-water being forced through all the pores of the body, being fed the excreta, muscles being chopped off, or burned, and bones being broken, (43) drinking sticky potions, and bile, and extremely bitter drinks, very hot oil, and very salty waters (44) drinking foul- smelling water and eating sizzling-hot stones, bathing in very hot gravel or sand, and teeth being crushed, (45) hot bed to sleep on and hot waters to drink, needles being thrown into the eyes, and in mouth, (46) Heavy weights being tied to the genitals, being thrown from the trees, and being kept full of foul smell, (47) sleeping upon sharp edged swords and being fed on sand etc., all these and other extremely horrifying naraka-s, one who performs ritual karma-s at Setu, does not suffer. The Gravest Sinners 210
    • (48) One, who prostrates in the middle of the Setu's sandbank, his sins become dulled. And ultimately his sins are subdued, O Best of the Dvija-s. (49) So much so, that the grimmest sin that arises from slaughtering a Bramhana, no doubt, even that is destroyed by performing rites there, if every part of his (sinner's) body touches the winds in the middle of the Setu. (50) Offenses of drinking liquors instantly disappear by shaving the hair in the middle of the Setu. (51) Even the gravest sinner, who violates the bed of his own teacher - his sins too are destroyed instantly, by sons and grandsons immersing his last remains in the middle of the Setu. Who has sinned by stealing gold, even his sins are destroyed instantly. (52) O Best of the Dvija-s, whoever performs rituals at Setu, according to the traditions, taints acquired by him in the company of an extremely fallen person, disappear. Bramha-ghataka (53) There are five (classes of) Bramha-ghata-s (Bramhan-injury): violating the established path or tradition (making it unusable for others), cooking/eating for oneself (without proper offering), defiling Bramhana-ascetics, being highly greedy, and selling out the Vedas. (54) He, who inviting other Brahmans, robs their money etc., and does not (revert and) repent, even he is also ordained as bramha-ghataka. (55) O Vipra-s, that who acts in malice towards someone he knows as Dharma-follower, that ignorant is also ordained as bramha-ghataka. (56) Cow-herds that came to a pond for drinking the water, someone who hinders them from drinking, even he is ordained as bramha-ghataka. (57) O Best Amongst the Dvija-s, from all these and other accumulations of heinous sins equivalent of killing a brahmana, only Setu liberates. (58) By visiting Setu, one is liberated from all these (papa-s), beyond doubt. Dharma-Bhrashta One, who rejects the sacred domestic yagya fires, consumes away the offerings that are due to devatas, (59) drinks toxins, keeps company of prostitutes, eats away the offerings that are due to the other deities, all these are fallen men. (60) These mentioned, even if gods, are worthy of all banishment. (However), performing sacred rites at Setu can even liberate these sin-fallen. (61) These, drinkers and others, are liberated by plunging into the waters at Setu, wearing yellow clothes, eating kanda-mula-s, (62) and drinking a potion of sandal wood, camphor, bettle nut, and honey. They should also donate copper, bronze and rudraksha. (63) Thieves who have on purpose stolen gold etc, even they are liberated at Setu, without doubt. (64) O sages, these and also other thieves, all are liberated from their sins, by performing ritual karma-s at Setu, where their deeds become immaterial. Adulterers (65) (With passion and sexual desire, One who goes to) Sister, Daughter-in-law, woman having menses, brother's wife or friend's wife, (66) drunken women or prostitutes, others' wives or widows, or his own teacher's wives - these are all known to be worthy of being banished from all the karmas. (67) These, and others such, are known to be equivalent of someone who violates his teacher's nupital bed. (However,) O Sages, even they are liberated by performing sacred rites at Setu. (68) Those and others who keep company of those, are all great sinners. (But,) with the magnanimity and significance of the Setu-snan, even they are 211
    • liberated. Desires for Heavens and Wealth (69) O Vipra-s, those men also perform rituals at Setu, who are desirous of enjoying the Menakas etc., in heavens, whom even dazzling Sun and other devatas can not come close to, without performing proper yagya-s with sacrificial ladle. (70) And those men, who have pious desires, they should perform rituals at Setu with devotion. (71) O dvija-s, men desirous of lands, wealth, gold, grains, and heavens etc., they too should perform rites at Setu. (72) Men desirous of heavens, should perform vows of upavasa, and accomplish fine tapasyas, and conduct rituals at Setu the liberator. (73) Performing ritual karma-s at Setu gives Moksha, and cleanses one as (clean as) snow. (74) Performing rites at Setu, without any desires, causes all sins to be destryed. Performing rituals at Setu, as specifically read in Purana-s, is - (75) O Best amongst the Dvija-s, declared to be freeing from recurring birth, and truely liberating. Men, who perform rites at Setu, with objective of attaining wealth, they do gain joy. (76) O Bulls Amongst the Dvija-s, they attain enormous wealth. And those, who perform rituals at Setu with objective of purification, they obtain purification. (77) If rituals are performed for desires of enjoying with the divine Apsara-s, if so, then rites at Setu provide that too in the heaven. And if, the rituals are performed for Moksha, then Setu the liberator provides that, and ceases the recurrence of rebirths. (79) With rituals at Setu, one attains Dharma, and with rituals at setu one attains un-decaying (heavens too. Therefore,) O Best amongst the Dvija-s, rituals at Setu are fulfillers of all desires. (80) Setu-snan is declared as more punya than all the vrata-s, higher than all yagya-s of tradition, and better than all Yoga-s and teerthas. (81) O Best amongst the Dvija-s, those who entertain the desires of (enjoying) the regions of Indra-s etc., they should at once perform the rituals at Setu built by Rama. (82) Regions of Baikuntha, Bramhaloka, or Kailasha the abode of Siva, abide gladly with the wills of those who reverently perform karma-s at Setu. (83) He attains long life, health, wealth, intellect, beauty and other qualities, attains the wisdom of all the four Vedas and their Vedanga-s, (84) of all shastras, gains knowledge of all the Mantra-s, who performs karma-s at Setu, the giver of all the Siddhi. (85) Siddhi is verily attained, by those karmas, beyond doubt. Also from poverty and naraka-s, that person becomes separated. (86) Faithfully, all mortals should bathe at Rama Setu, which is the giver of liberation to even those without faith. (87) Setu-devotee does not suffer miseries in this world and also in the other. By performing karma-s at Setu, all accumulated sins are destroyed. (88) And, O Dvija-s, by karma-s at Setu, the treasure of Dharma multiplies, like moon grows in the bright fortnight, or like the various jewels grow in the ocean. (89) Like that O Dvija-s, grow the Punya-s by bathing at the Setu. Like Kamadhenu fulfills all the desires in this world, (90) or like Chintaamani gives wish fulfillment to men, or 212
    • like the tree of Amarabela fulfills all that is desired. (91) Likewise, Setu-snan provides all fulfillments to men. Those Unable to Visit Setu If someone is unable to visit Setu, (92) then he should donate a little money he has saved for Setu-pilgrimage, to poor. Donor attains the similar punya-s as the one attained by the actual Setu-snan. (93) And the receiver (of this money) also attains the entire fruits of the Setu- snan. Towards the Setu pilgrimage, this money donated to a Bramhana is acceptable. (94) Kshatriyas can also accept such money, from other than Bramhanas. Vaishyas can receive the money, from other than Kshatriyas. (95, 96) Sudras should refrain from receiving such money from whichever man. To the person who is going to Setu, people should provide with money or grains or also clothes. This attains the fruits of the best yagya-s like Ashwamedha etc. (97) (By doing so,) one gains the fruits as that of studying all the four Vedas. Vaishyas gain through such donation, the foremost fruits. (98) What more to rave, all wishes are fulfilled, all sins (as grave) as killing a Brahmana etc., are washed away there beyond doubt. (99) And, one who receives such donations, he too attains the similar fruits. One attains no harm even in begging or soliciting money (from others) for the sake of pilgrimage to Setu. (100) In greed, one who robs (such money) that someone has kept for making Setu- pilgrimage, and does not (revert and) repent, he is declared as an extreme bramha-ghataka. (101) If someone poor or even wealthy solicits help for the sake of making pilgrimage to Setu, wise men do help. (102) Those who accept money for the sake of visiting Setu, but under the influence of greed, do not (actually) visit Setu, they are (declared as) bramha-ghataka-s. (103) By something or the other, somehow, those who (successfully) accomplish the pilgrimage to Setu, they attain joy. O Best amongst the Dvija-s, those who are unable to (visit Setu), they should provide dakshina to those who are going. (104) As there is no harm in begging for the sake of performing the yagya-karma-s, likewise there is no harm in begging for the sake of performing the Setu pilgrimage. (105) By giving alms to the seeker for spending in the Setu-snan, the donor attains the same fruits as that attained by the pilgrim himself. (106) Like liberation was attained through Gyan in Satayuga, and through yagya- sacrifices in Tretayuga, excellent likewise in other yugas is donating to people who are going on Setu pilgrimage. Thus completes the first chapter named setu-gamana-phalAdi-varNanam of Bramhakhanda, the third book of Sri Skanda Maha Purana. 213
    • <End of the Translation> http://ramasetu.blogspot.com/ 12 June 2007 Author can be reached at shandilyabodhi@yahoo.com 214
    • Annex 20 US heritage body wants Ram Setu preserved http://www.zeenews.com/znnew/articles.asp?aid=376577&sid=NAT WAshington, June 12: The World Monuments Fund, a US-based international preservation body that brings out the annual world monument watch list of endangered sites, has come out in an open support of Ram Setu or Adam's Bridge. The Indian government should realise that it is more valuable to preserve it than to demolish it for the Sethusamudram canal project for bringing ships inland, the body has said. The Ram Setu, which has become a tug of war between the government and the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Hindu organistions, does not figure in the list of endangered sites released in New York this week but fund chairman Marilyn Perry has stressed that the government can leave the disputed area untouched by re-routing the canal. She also suggested that the government make it a tourist attraction by sending tourists in glass boats to the bottom of the site to view the beautiful rock formations. While the government as well as the Supreme Court have rejected pleas to divert the canal instead of demolishing what they claim to be solidified sand dunes and no man-made construction of the so-called bridge as the saffron party claims, Marilyn suggests that an international team of scuba divers be allowed to take underwater photographs and carry out tests to find out whether the rock formations still exist. quot;It is easy to demolish but hard to construct anything like this again,quot; she stressed. In a New York-datelined interview published on Saturday, Marilyn agreed that her fund was not a world policeman and its requests may fall on deaf ears, but still it strives for creating an alternative vision of the value that the bureaucrats are not able to see. 'They only see water and revenue, and not the archeological importance beneath the sea,' she remarked. Admitting that it can only try to create a public awareness about the endangered sites and other NGOs can also do so, she pointed out that more effective way will be to involve the local people if the government refuses to yield. 'We could not stop construction of a dam in Turkey as the government would not listen to us. The am would flood some of the great archeological sites, yet the government was adamant,' she added. Her fund's president, Bonnie Bumham, said the public voice can force stoppage of the demolition. Bureau Report Save Ram Setu The Pioneer Edit Desk – June 12 2007 (Pioneer, New Delhi) History, ecology are at stake When the Taliban destroyed the Bamiyan statues, the world reacted with shocked horror at this act of barbarism. What the UPA Government proposes to do to Ram Setu, also known as 215
    • Adam's Bridge, is no less horrifying. As may be recalled, the Setusamudram Ship Channel Project aims to create a navigable sea route, between the Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay, by slicing the Ram Setu in order to reduce the sailing distance between India's coasts. Consequently, the Ram Setu, of known spiritual significance to Hindus, will be destroyed through extensive dredging. In fact, there are sound reasons for rejecting the project, as conceived at present, other than the important one of protecting the site for its cultural and religious worth. Among them, what are weighty are the objections that pertain to its wide- ranging environmental impact. For instance, experts have claimed shifts in the flows of currents would adversely affect sensitive ecosystems, as would the increasing possibility of damaging oil spills. It is estimated that fragile marine life, such as delicate corals, would be destroyed through the various processes unleashed. Life on the mainland would not remain unaffected as changes in seawater flows and temperature would impact climate and affect rainfall in coastal areas even as erosion could increase. Most importantly, experts inform us, the Ram Setu forms a barrier that blocks tsunamis, in the absence of which the entire coasts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu could be endangered. Were this not reason enough, Thorium deposits in Kerala and Tamil Nadu may be affected, upsetting India's indigenous nuclear programme. It is significant that the Sir Mudaliar Committee Report of 1956 had recommended the abandonment of the idea of such a project, finding the channel alignment unsuitable. The argument about the spiritual significance of the site is no less compelling. It is neither here nor there to argue that there is little scientific evidence to prove that Adam's Bridge is manmade. For, within each spiritual tradition are matters purely of belief for which no rational explanations or scientific proofs are available. Thus Christians believe in the immaculate conception, the Jews that the Red Sea parted for Moses, and Muslims that Islam was revealed to the Prophet through the divine agency of Angel Gabriel. The Hindu belief that Hanuman's vanar sena built a bridge to Lanka that allowed Ram to cross over, fell Ravana and rescue Sita is in a similar vein and should hardly be scoffed at. The historicity of the event has little relevance to the debate, though it is possible that, as Indians were prone to oral narratives rather than written records, facts are likely to be the basis of the Ramayan. As the sentiments of hundreds of millions of people are involved, these cannot be trumped by the views of an individual Minister in a democracy. Nothing explains the unholy hurry in going ahead with the project except the need to pander to the crassest financial interests. 216
    • Annex 21. Sethusamudram Canal Project and nation’s security SSCP: Swami raises vital queries on security and Writes to Defence Minister on Ramar Sethu NT Bureau Chennai, June 12: Former Union Minister and Janata Party president Dr Subramanian Swami, who is spearheading the movement against the destruction of Ramar Sethu bridge for implementing the Sethusamudram Canal Project (SSCP), has shot off a letter to Union Defence Minister A K Antony raising questions of security. Swami has also attached a 31-page enclosure prepared by a former captain of the Indian Navy H Balakrishnan, to substantiate his claim. In his letter to the Defence Minister dated 9 June, Swami has said, 'I am given to believe by officials of your Ministry that the Sethusamudram Canal Project (SSCP) was finalised without an input from the Navy especially from the angle of national security. 'The discourse on the Setusamudram Shipping Channel Project has so far been restricted to whether the Ramar Sethu is a 'natural formation' or an 'artificial construct'. Your colleague, the Union Minister for Shipping and Transport (T R Baalu) in his daily media obfuscations has derailed the discussion away from the national security perspective.' Swami further stated that 'Balakrishnan has analysed the whole gamut of the SSCP and has produced a three-part paper on the subject (enclosed) the highlights of which are as follows: (A) PART-1: Analyses of the SSCP with respect to environmental factors. In this section, the author has highlighted the dangers to shipping posed by the 'Tropical Cyclones'. Mariners call the Tamilnadu coast from Rameswaram to Cuddalore as the 'cyclone coast'. Allied to the dangers posed by the cyclones to shipping, is the high siltation rates that occur in the Palk Straits. This would imply that maintenance dredging will have to be 'round the year' affair escalating the maintenance of the canal. The writer has also highlighted the threat of the LTTE Sea Tigers, who control the seas on the Sri Lankan side of the IMBL. The recent attack on the Sri Lankan Naval Base at the Delft Island, poses a clear danger to shipping in the SSCP. That the DMK to which Baalu belongs, is known from the days I was a Union Minister, as compliant to the LTTE's needs, and hence the LTTE Sea Tigers may not be regarded by him as a threatening element. (B) PART-2: This part is a 'Time and Distance' calculation for a vessel's voyage from Kolkata/Chennai to Tuticorin circumnavigating Sri Lanka as also transiting through the SSCP. The SSCP is to have a dredged depth of 12 Metres. This permits vessels with a maximum draught of 10.7 M to pass through the channel. The underfoot clearence for the vessel is 1.3 M. This low underfoot clearence mandatorily entails the ship to precede at 'slow speeds of 6 to 8 Knots' through the Channel, on account of a phenomenon, termed as the 'Shallow Water Effect' by the mariners. On account of this fact, the paper finds that for a vessel on passage from Kolkata to Tuiticorin around Sri Lanka and through SSCP saves only 1.75 hours by routing through the latter, for a speed combination 0f 12 and 6 knots!! 217
    • (C) PART-3: The subject of 'Cost-Benefit' analysis of the Project to the shipping industry is considered. The summary of the finding of this section is that it is more 'cost-effective' for a vessel to circumnavigate Sri Lanka that transit through the SSCP!! In other words, the SSCP makes no 'nautical sense', and is conducive to terrorist forces such as the LTTE, Swami has said in his letter. http://newstodaynet.com/12jun/rf16.htm 218
    • Annex 22 Ramanathapuram Information Gazetteer about Rama Setu and archaeological/cultural significance of the region 219
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    • Annex 23 Rama Setu in literature and ancient texts (Hindi) 230
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    • Annex 24 Sethusamudram Shipping Channel: it doesn’t make nautical sense An essay in three parts by Capt (Retd) H. Balakrishnan, I.N Part 1: A mariner’s perspective Part 2: Time and space calculations – navigating around Sri Lanka and through SSCP Part 3: Cost-benefit analysis Fwd. Kalyan 28 May 2007 Part 1: THE SETHUSAMUDRAM SHIPPING CANAL PROJECT-(SSCP) -A MARINER’S PERSPECTIVE INTRODUCTION 1. The SSCP is an off-shore shipping canal project in the PalkBay. It plans to cut short the distance navigated by ships sailing from the West coast of India and bound for ports on the Eastern seaboard and vice versa, by precluding the necessity to circumnavigate around Sri Lanka. 2. The total length of the SSCP in the Palk Bay is 152.2 Kms. It is divided into three legs. The Southern leg in the Adam’s Bridge area is 20 Kms. The Northern leg in the Palk Strait area is 54.2 Kms. The Central portion is 78 Kms. Dredging is to be carried out in the Southern and Northern legs to maintain a dredged depth of 12 metres. This would facilitate a navigable channel for ships with a draught of upto 10.7 meters. The canal will be 300 meters wide. 3. The basic justification advanced in favour of the project is that it will reduce the sailing distance between Kolkata and Tuiticorin by 340 nautical miles and between Chennai and Tuiticorin by 434 nautical miles. This enables savings in fuel costs and sailing time, for ships plying between these ports. 4. This paper aims to analyse the viability of the SSCP against the canvas of the following factors, that have a bearing on shipping: (a) Environmental Factors (b) Security Implications (c) Navigational and Allied Factors ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS Tropical Cyclones 241
    • 5. The India Meteorological Department has assigned the Palk Bay area as a ‘High Risk Area’ for cyclonic activity. The cyclone season in the Bay of Bengal is generally between Oct to Jan. It is interesting to note that the IMD’s records from 1891-2001, states that of the 452 cyclones that hit the Indian coastline, 256 were on the East coast. We mariners, in a lighter vein, refer to the Tamil Nadu coast between Rameswaram and Cuddalore as the ‘cyclone coast’!! There are valid reasons for this quip. Of the 256 cyclones referred, 64 have crossed the Tamil Nadu coast in this period. Of these, 36 were ‘severe cyclones’ (winds in excess of 90 Kmph). More interesting, of these cyclones, SIX have crossed the Palk Bay, 14 have crossed the coast at Nagapattinam and THREE have crossed the Gulf of Mannar. All these cyclones can have a devastating consequence on the SSCP and shipping in the area. 6. A few more examples of the devastating consequences of these cyclones, will be illustrative: (a) In Dec 1964, a cyclone washed away the Pamban Bridge. (b) In Dec 1973, FIVE metres high tidal waves hit the Palk Bay area – the very same area where the SSCP is to be dredged!! (c) In Dec 1977/78, under the influence of a severe cyclonic storm that crossed the coast near Nagapattinam, 120 Kmph winds were recorded in the Palk Bay area. (d) In Nov/Dec 1997/98, an oil-drilling ship, anchored with SIX anchors in the Cauvery Basin, broke loose from her anchors and was washed ashore by a cyclone. 7. The foregoing will serve to illustrate the fact that the Bay of Bengal cyclones pose a ‘clear, live and present danger’ to ‘Safety of Lives at Sea’ (SOLAS). And, the SSCP is sought to be created in a ‘cyclone danger area’!! Siltation 8. Allied to the cyclonic activity in the area, is the problem of siltation leading to a loss of sea depth. Scientists have concluded that the Palk Bay area is one of the FIVE areas, off the Indian coast, where siltation takes place regularly. Some of their calculations have indicated a loss in sea depth of about 1 cms every year. It is pertinent to state that TWO of the LEGS of the SSCP, where dredging is to be undertaken, happen to cross two such micro regions where high siltation takes place. 9. To conclude, the environmental factors of cyclonic activity and siltation rates in the Palk Bay area, impinge on shipping safety. It is also appreciated that maintenance dredging may have to be undertaken through the year to maintain dredged depths. This could lead to substantially increasing the costs of the SSCP. SECURITY IMPLICATIONS Global Scene on Maritime Terrorism 10. While terrorist attacks are predominantly land based, non-state actors have also sought to exploit vulnerabilities in shipping, ports and the container supply chains in Asia, Middle- East, Europe and North America. 242
    • 11. Conventional arms trade and smuggling, both highly profitable global businesses, are spreading increasingly sophisticated conventional weapons to non-state actors, including long- range anti-ship missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles and close range armour piercing missiles and rocket propelled grenades. All these weapons are capable of inflicting serious damage to ships. 12. The list of foiled, failed and successful attempts in maritime related terrorism over the past decade is significant. Yet, there is a tendency to overlook or downplay what has happened, and thus ignore the possibility of further trouble. It is clear that terrorists can see the potential of using the maritime trading system and its land links in the container supply chain to conceal weapons or agents for attack purposes. Two recent examples of terrorist attacks on naval warships help illustrate the point. 13. Attack on the U.S.S. Cole. In Oct 2000, Al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen, packed a small boat with explosives and rammed the same onto the U.S. Navy destroyer, U.S.S. Cole, while the ship was in harbour. The blast left a gaping hole on the side of the destroyer and the cost of repairs amounted to USD 250 million. The blast killed 17 U.S. Naval sailors and, wounded another 40 seamen. 14. Missile attack on Israeli Naval Ships. On 14 Jul 2006, two days after hostilities between Israel and the Hezbollah commenced, the latter fired TWO, C-802 radar guided cruise missiles from ashore in Lebanon, at Israeli naval vessels patrolling off the Lebanese coast. One missile seriously damaged an Israeli naval corvette. The second missile narrowly missed another corvette. Instead it hit a Cambodian registered merchant vessel, sinking it with eleven hands on board. The LTTE Factor 15. The LTTE factor has a direct bearing on the safety of shipping navigating through the SSCP. The LTTE has control over most of North Sri Lanka coastal region and the seas contiguous to it. The Sea Tigers, the naval arm of the LTTE, have displayed considerable ingenuity and daring in sea borne insurgency. They have carried out numerous daring attacks on Sri Lankan naval ships, and have not hesitated in resorting to suicide missions. It is pertinent to note that the SSCP is a ‘next-door- neighbour’ in the area of operations of the Sea Tigers!! 16.A new addition to the LTTE’s fighting capability is its ‘Air Arm’. They have todate carried out THREE daring ‘night attacks’ on Sri Lankan assets. This factor adds a new dimension to the threat perception along the SSCP. 17.Reports in open source literature indicate that the aircraft deployed by the LTTE Air Force is the Czech manufactured ‘ZLIN-Z 242 L’ aircraft. These appear to have been purchased from a private South African flying club. The aircraft is delivered in a knocked-down condition and can be easily smuggled as automobile parts or components of heavy commercial vehicles. By all accounts these aircraft were ferried by sea using forged Bills of Lading. This corroborates Para 11 above. 18. Reports also indicate that the flying training for the LTTE’s pilots was carried out by the same South African flying club. It is also suspected that armament training were carried out by mercenaries in South Africa. All the air attacks on Sri Lankan assets todate have been at night, indicating a high degree of proficiency. The SSCP falls within the radius of operation of these aircraft!! 243
    • 19. Media reports of 28 Apr 2007 in Chenai, attributed the recent killings of the TN fishermen at sea to the LTTE Sea Tigers. The grounds for the killings, attributed to LTTE sources, was that these fishermen were ‘spying’ on the LTTE’s activities at sea!! If that be the case, the possibility of the LTTE advancing the same argument for attacking ships navigating through the SSCP cannot be ruled out. The consequences of a ship sinking in the canal could have a disastrous impact on the viability of the project itself. It would have a psychological impact on the shipping industry which may then tend to avoid the SSCP and circumnavigate Sri Lanka in the larger interests of safety of men and material. NAVIGATIONAL AND ALLIED FACTORS 20.The official website of the SSCP states: “ Ships originating in the West of India and destined for Chennai, Ennore, Vishakapatnam, Paradeep, Haldia and Kolkata have to travel around the Sri Lankan coast resulting in increase of travel distance and time. Apart from this ships belonging to the Indian Navy and Cost Guard need also to traverse around Sri Lanka- - “ . Navy and Coast Guard 21. The website statement about the Navy and the Coast Guard would give the impression Naval/Coast Guard ships sail to and from either coasts on a frequent basis. In reality this is not the case. 22. The navy has been operating on a ‘Two Fleet’ concept for over three decades, to safeguard our maritime interests on the Eastern and Western seaboards. New induction ships are allotted to both Fleet to maintain the required Force Levels on both coasts. Thus the requirement for ships to cross over to the other coast is more the exception than the rule. At the most, they may meet annually for a combined Fleet exercise programme. 23. Besides, peacetime sailings of the Fleet are to hone skill levels in battle- manoeuvres, missile and gun firings, submarine exercises, aircraft operations and underway re-fuelling exercise at sea. All these and other exercises are conducted in areas far removed from the coastal and international shipping lanes for obvious reasons. Under these circumstances and considering the security implications in the area contiguous to the SSCP, it is debatable whether a Fleet would prefer to navigate through the SSCP. Also, if the Fleet happens to be a carrier battle group, availing the SSCP route can be almost ruled out, on account of various tactical factors. 24. During the period of hostilities, it is improbable that ships on passage to either coast would navigate through the SSCP as it militates against the basic principles of naval operations of avoiding straits and narrows to maintain secrecy of deployment. 25. Similar arguments can also be advanced on the deployment of Coast Guard vessels. Mercantile Marine 26. It must be borne in mind that the SSCP is not an ‘open seaway’. Thus for ships to safely traverse through the canal, it will be mandatory to embark a ‘pilot’. A ‘pilot’ is a mariner with experience pertaining to local conditions. He would normally board a vessel at either extremity of the canal and take the vessel safely to the other extremity before disembarking. It is not clear at the present juncture, whether 244
    • vessels calling at the SSCP will have a ‘pilot’ boarding on arrival. Delays in the boarding of the ‘pilot’ will entail the vessel to anchor and await the ‘pilot’. Under adverse weather conditions this is not a comforting thought to a mariner. Besides, during cyclonic weather, sea conditions may preclude the embarkation of a ‘pilot’. What does the vessel then do? 27. Open source literature on the SSCP indicates that vessels upto 32,000 DWT can navigate through the canal. However, in the current global shipping scenario, to reduce the operating costs and cater to the enormous growth in shipping needs, trends are towards operating vessels of 60,000 DWT and above. This trend is likely to grow further in future, resulting in vessels of larger tonnage. A passage along the international shipping lane from South of Sri Lanka to South of the Great Nicobar Island will prove this point. None of these large vessels can avail of the facility of the SSCP. 28.This would leave the coal carrying bulk carriers on charter to the TNEB, the only ships that would use the SSCP on a regular basis. These vessels load coal at Haldia/ Paradeep/ Vishakapatnam and discharge the same at Chennai and Tuiticorin for the Thermal Power Plants. Besides, some smaller container feeder vessels from Colombo and bound for Chennai could also use the SSCP. 29. In the opinion of Mr. K.S. Ramakrishnan, former Deputy Chairman of Chennai Port Trust and former Managing Director of the Poompuhar Shipping Corporation, the pilotage costs of navigating through the SSCP and certain allied factors, could make the SSCP unattractive to the shipping industry. It is his opinion that the actual use of the SSCP maybe substantially lower than the projected figure of 3417 vessels by 2010 and 7141 vessels by 2025. CONCLUSION 30.A report in the magazine ‘Frontline’ of 01 Jan-14 Jan 2005, entitled ‘Of Gains and Loses’, states: “ George Gomez, Tamil Nadu Manual Workers’ Union, Tuiticorin, who has several decades of experience in the shipping industry, says the Project cost will work out to Rs. 3000 crores. He says the Project will be a ‘sick unit’ as the money invested can never be recovered. ‘I don’t think any container ship will use the canal’. Major container operators deploying mother-vessels, will not use it. The difference in time between ships using the canal and those going around Sri Lanka will only be a few hours. Ships would not be able to cruise fast in the canal because they will have to be piloted, he argues. Moreover, the canal will have to be dredged continuously.” 31. In the Chennai based English daily, The Hindu, of 21 Dec 2004, Mr. K.S. Ramakrishnan, former Deputy Chairman of the Chennai Port Trust had questioned the need for the canal. He had stated: “- - - . But the canal cannot be a free seaway because the grounding of a wayward coal or oil ship that strays from the alignment or a collision of two ships in the channel will result in an ecological disaster of unimaginable proportions to the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay”. He further stated: “ The two statements that the ships using the canal will save money and that the project will be a financially viable undertaking are therefore mutually contradictory and cannot have simultaneous validity”. 32. In the light of the foregoing analysis, it is debatable whether the investments made in the construction of the canal is justified from the security, environment or 245
    • economic standpoints. The old adage ‘Haste Makes Waste’ readily comes to mind in the case of the SSCP. REFERENCES (A) Business Line- 29 Dec 2004- ‘Will We Ever Learn’- P.Devarajan. (B) “Is the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project Technically Feasible?”- R. Ramesh (C) “Cyclones, Tsunami and the Sethusamudram Project”- Papri Sri Raman- (www.boloji.com/environment/25.htm) (D) Frontline- Vol 22- Issue 01, Jan 01-14, 2005- “Of Gains and Loses”- T.S. Subramanian (E) “Strategic Security and Sethusamudram Project”-Col. R.Hariharan (Retd)- www.saag.org- Paper No: 1713 (F) “ Countering LTTE’s Air Capability”- B.Raman-www.saag.org- Paper No: 2222 (G) “Maritime Related Terrorism”- Michael Richardson Part 2: TIME AND SPACE CALCULATIONS-NAVIGATING AROUND SRI LANKA AND THROUGH SSCP- PASSAGES FROM KOLKATA/CHENNAI TO TUITICORIN DISTANCES (in nautical miles- nm)- AROUND SRI LANKA 1. KOLKATA TO TUITICORIN = 1227 nm 2. CHENNAI TO TUITICORIN = 750 nm (NB: Distances taken from Admiralty Distance Tables) DISTANCES- KOLKATA-SSCP-TUTICORIN 3. Kolkata to Palk Straits = 969 nm 4. SSCP length (152.2 KMS) = 84 nm 5. SSCP to Tuiticorin =45nm 6. Total Distance = (3) + (4) + (5)= 1098 nm DISTANCES- CHENNAI-SSCP-TUTICORIN 7. Chennai to Palk Straits = 180 nm 8. SSCP length (152.2 KMS) = 84 nm 9. SSCP to Tuiticorin = 45 nm 10. Total Distance = (7) + (8) + (9) = 309 nm = (say) 310 nm SAILING TIME- KOLKATA TO TUITICORIN AROUND SRI LANKA (in ‘hours’-‘h’) 246
    • 11. @ 12 knots speed = 1227/12 = 102.25 h 12. @ 15 knots speed = 1227/15 = 81.80 h SAILING TIME- KOLKATA TO TUITICORIN VIA SSCP 13. Kolkata to Palk Straits (A) @ 12 knots speed =969/12 = 80.75 h (B) @ 15 knots speed = 969/15 = 64.60 h 14. SSCP (A) @ 6 knots speed = 84/6 = 14 h (B) @ 8 knots speed = 84/8 = 10.50 h 15. SSCP to Tuiticorin ( A) @ 12 knots speed = 45/12 = 3.75 h (B) @ 15 knots speed = 45/15 = 3.00 h 16. Total time taken (A) @ 12 knots and 6 knots = 80.75+14+3.75 = 98.5 h (B) @ 12 knots and 8 knots = 80.75+10.50+3.75 = 95.0 h (C) @ 15 knots and 6 knots = 64.60+14+3.00 = 81.60 h (D) @ 15 knots and 8 knots = 64.60+10.50+3.00 = 78.10h SAILING TIME- CHENNAI TO TUITICORIN- AROUND SRI LANKA AND VIA SSCP 17. In a similar manner, the passage times from Chennai to Tuiticorin, around Sri Lanka and via the SSCP at speeds and combinations thereof, indicated above, the times taken are indicated below. 18. Around Sri Lanka (A) @ 12 knots speed = 750/12 = 62.50h (B) @ 15 knots speed = 750/15 = 50.00 h 19. Via the SSCP (A) @ 12 and 6 knots combination = 15.0+14.0+3.75 = 32.75 h (B) @ 12 and 8 knots combination = 15.0+10.5+3.75 = 29.25 h (C) @ 15 and 6 knots combination = 12.0+14.0+3.00 = 29.00 h (D) @ 15 and 8 knots combination = 12.0+10.5+3.00 = 25.50 h (N.B. The foregoing distances at paras 3 to 19 above have been derived from actual plotting on navigational charts.) 20. Additional Time For Passage Planning For purposes of embarkation/disembarkation of ‘Pilot’, manoeuvering of engines in the SSCP, as also for any delays in embarkation of ‘Pilot’- ADD = 2 hours (at the minimum) to all the passage times indicated above. DEDUCTIONS 21. From the foregoing calculations, the following deductions can be arrived at: 247
    • (A) The difference in time taken to reach Tuiticorin from Kolkata, circumnavigating Sri Lanka and navigating through the SSCP at speeds of 12 and 6 knots is = 1.75 h (B) The difference in time taken to reach Tuiticorin from Kolkata, circumnavigating Sri Lanka and navigating through the SSCP at speeds of 12 and 8 knots is = 5.25 h (C) The difference in time taken to reach Tuiticorin from Kolkata, circumnavigating Sri Lanka and navigating through the SSCP at speeds of 15 and 6 knots is = 18.6 h (D) The difference in time taken to reach Tuiticorin from Kolkata, circumnavigating Sri Lanka and navigating through the SSCP at speeds of 15 and 8 knots is = 22.15 h (E) The difference in time taken to reach Tuiticorin from Chennai circumnavigating Sri Lanka and navigating through the SSCP at speeds of 12 and 6 knots is = 27.75 h (F) The difference in time taken to reach Tuiticorin from Chennai circumnavigating Sri Lanka and navigating through the SSCP at speeds of 15 and 8 knots is = 22.50 h (G) Comment: The Indian Flag coal carrying bulk-carriers plying the coastal route to Chennai/ Tuiticorin transit at speeds of 12 to 13 knots. Therefore, time differences between circumnavigating Sri Lanka and transiting through the Sethusamdram Canal are NOT going to be very marked. (H) While there is savings in distance navigating through the SSCP, this does not automatically translate into commensurate savings in time, on account of the ‘slow speeds’ required to navigate through the SSCP. This is on account of a phenomenon termed ‘SHALLOW WATER EFFECT’, or, ‘SQUAT EFFECT, where the ship’s propellers tend to seek the sea bottom while proceeding at High Speeds in shallow waters. The SSCP is to have a dredged depth of 12 meters and can be used by ships having a draught of upto 10.7 meters. Thus the difference between the ship’s keel and the sea bottom will be 12.0-10.7=1.3 metres. This explains the necessity for ‘slow speeds’ through the SSCP. (I) It is mandatory for ships using the SSCP to embark a ‘pilot’. In the calculations above, at a conservative estimate, a time 2 hours has been added to passage time calculations. Under actual conditions, this time may be more than the 2 hours. All the major ports of India suffer from a shortage of ‘pilots’. Therefore, the SSCP is also likely to suffer from this prevailing malaise. It is therefore appreciated that vessels arriving at the ‘pilot boarding grounds’ at the SSCP may have to anchor and await ‘pilot boarding’. In this light, it would further tend reduce the difference in time between circumnavigating Sri Lanka and using the SSCP. (J) The ‘pilotage rates’ that are going to be charged for availing of the Sethusamudram Canal are not known at present. However, this is the only recourse available to recover the ‘capital costs’ involved in the making of the ‘Sethusamudrm Canal’. It is therefore appreciated that the ‘pilotage rates’ for navigating through the Sethsamudram Canal might not prove to be competitive for the shipping industry. (K) Navigating through the Sethusamudram Canal, does reduce the distances between Kolkata/Cennai and Tuiticorin. This will reduce fuel costs. However, this advantage will be offset by anticipated ‘high pilotage rates’ and ‘time delays’ in embarking ‘pilot’. 248
    • CONCLUSION 22. The foregoing calculations, from first principles, clearly highlight the non- viability of the SSCP, from the shipping standpoint. Part 3: SETHUSAMUDRAM CANAL PROJECT COST BENEFIT ANALYSIS INTRODUCTION 1. The official project paper of the SSCP states that the estimated investment of Rs. 2400 crores will “ earn an operating profit from its very FIRST YEAR of operation and that the capital will be recovered with 9% interest WITHIN THE FIRST 25 YEARS after which THERE WILL BE A MAMOTH PROFIT GENERATION in the next 25 years”. (REF: THE HINDU- OPEN PAGE- 21 DEC 2004- “SETHUSAMUDRAM- WILL THE HIPS USE IT”- MR. K.S. Ramakrishnan, Former Dy. Chairman, Chennai Port Trust and Former M.D. Poompuhar Shipping Corporation, Chennai). 2. The Capital cost of constructing the SSC is Rs. 2330 crores. The equity component of the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) is Rs. 971 crores. The debt portion has been pegged at Rs. 1456.40 crores. (REF: BUSINESSLINE- 19 MAY 2005- “CCEA CLEARS SETHUSAMUDRAM PROJECT AT RS. 2427 CRORES”) 3. For the debt portion of Rs. 1456.40 crores, assuming an interest burden of 10%, it works out to Rs. 145.64 crores per annum. Assuming a repayment period of 25 years, the annual installments work out to Rs. 58.25 crores. 4. Thus, the total annual financial repayment for servicing the debt would be Rs.145.64 + Rs. 58.25 crores = Rs. 203.89 crores OR Rs. 204 crores (approx). 5. The major contributor to the earnings of the SSCP will be the ships that navigate through the canal. 6. This paper analyses the cost benefit that accrues to the ships that navigate through the Sethusamudram Canal. ESTIMATE OF SHIPS THAT WILL ANVIGATE THROUGH THE SETHUSAMUDRAM CANAL 7. According to the consultants for the SSCP, the number of ships that are expected to navigate through the SSC is 3055 in 2008 and 7141 in 2025. 8. Coal Ships One can predict with a reasonable accuracy the number of coal carrying bulk-carriers that will navigate through the SSC. These vessels carry thermal coal from Haldia/Paradeep/Vizag to Chennai/Tuiticorin to cater to the requirements of the Thermal Power Plants located at these ports. 9. Annual Requirement of Coal Ships for Tuitcorin (a) Installed capacity of the Tuiticorin Thermal Power plant = 1050 MW 249
    • (b) Annual requirement of coal = 1050 X 6144.8 Tonnes = 6452040 Tonnes ( NOTE: The figure 6144.8 Tonnes is the annual requirement of coal to generate 1 MW of power. TNEB website refers) (c ) Deadweight Tonnage of a bulk-carrier = 30,000 DWT (d) Thus, number of vessels required annually =6452040/30,000 = 215 ships. 10. Other Vessels To cater to the requirement of petroleum products for Tuiticorin and nearby areas, at a very optimistic rate = 200 vessels. 11. At the most, it may be possible that 1000 vessels use the SSC annually, though this figure may not be realized, and is nowhere near the projected 3055 vessels in 2008. This is on account of the fact that global shipping trends are towards larger vessels of 60,000 DWT and above, and the SSC being restricted to vessels of 30,000 DWT- 34,000 DWT, with a draught limitation of 10.7 Metres. COST RECOVERY 12. (a) The annual financial repayment burden on the SSCP vide Para 4 above =204 crores. (b) Maximum number of ships expected to use the SSC = 1000 ships (c ) Thus, cost per ship to be levied through pilotage/allied rates = Rs. 204/1000= Rs. 0.2 crores OR RUPEES TWENTY LAKHS AND FORTY THOUSAND ( at a very conservative estimate ) FUEL COSTS FOR VOYAGES KOLKATA/CHENNAI TO TUITICORIN AROUND SRI LANKA/ SSCP 13. Vessels use Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO). The cost of 1 Metric Tonne (MT) of HFO as per I.O.C. pricing as on 01 MAY 2007, with 12.5% VAT works out = Rs 24,020 14. Kolkata to Tuiticorin (a) Distance Kolkata-Tuiticorin around Sri Lanka = 1227 nm (b) Distance Kolkata- Tuiticorin via SSCP = 1098 nm (c )Time taken at 12 knots for (a) above = 102.25 h (d) Time taken at 15 knots for (a) above = 81.80 h 250
    • (e) Time taken at 12 and 6 knots for (b) above = 98.5 h (f) Time taken at 12 and 8 knots for (b) above = 95.0 h (g) Time taken at 15 and 6 knots for (b) above = 81.6 h (h) Time taken at 15 and 8 knots for (b) above = 78.1 h 15. Fuel consumption rate for these vessels is = 1 MT/h 16. Thus, total voyage fuel consumption will be as follows: (a) For Para 14 (c) = 102.25 MT (b) For Para 14 (d) = 81.80 MT (C ) For Para 14 (e) = 98.5 MT (d) For Para 14 (f) = 95.0 MT (e) For Para 14 (g) = 81.6 MT (f) For Para 14 (h) = 78.1 MT 17. Total voyage fuel costs (a) Para 16 (a) above = Rs. 24,020 X 102.5 = Rs. 24,56,045.00 (b) Para 16 (b) above = Rs. 24,020 X 81.80 = Rs. 19,64,836.00 (c) Para 16 (c ) above =Rs. 24,020 X 98.50 = Rs. 23,65,970.00 (d) Para 16 (d) above = Rs. 24,020 X 95.00 = Rs. 22,81,900.00 (e) Para 16 (e) above = Rs. 24,020 X 81.60 = Rs. 19,60,032.00 (f) Para 16 (f) above = Rs. 24,020 X 78.10 = Rs. 18,75,962.00 18. Total voyage costs including pilotage and allied costs. In addition to the foregoing, pilotage and other allied charges as at Para 12 (c ) above have to be added to the values at Paras 17 (c ) to 17 (f). Thus the total costs will work out as follows: (a) Rs. 23,65,970.00 + Rs. 20,40,000.00 = Rs. 44,05,970.00 (b) Rs. 22,81,900.00 + Rs. 20,40,000.00 = Rs. 43,21,900.00 (c) Rs. 19,60,032.00 + Rs. 20,40,000.00 = Rs. 40,00,032.00 ( d) Rs. 18,75,962.00 + Rs. 20,40,000.00 = Rs. 39,15,962.00 19. Chennai to Tuiticorin (a) Distance Chennai to Tuticorin around Sri Lanka=750 nm 251
    • (b) Distance Chennai to Tuticorin via SSCP =310 nm (c) Time taken at 12 knots for (a) =62.5h (d) Time taken at 15 knots for (a) =50.0h (e) Time taken at 12 and 6 knots for (b) =32.75h (f) Time taken at 12 and 8 knots for (b) =29.25h (g) Time taken at 15 and 6 knots for (b) =29.0h (h) Time taken at 15 and 8 knots for (b) =25.5h 20. Thus, total fuel consumption for the voyage will be as follows: (a) For 19 (c ) above =62.5 MT (b) For 19 (d) above =50.0 MT (c )For 19 (e) above =32.75 MT (d) For 19 (f) above =29.25 MT (e) For 19 (g) above =29.0 MT (f) For 19 (h) above =25.5 MT 21 Total Voyage Fuel Costs. (a) For Para 20 (a) above = Rs.24,020 X 62.5 = Rs.15,01,250 (b) For Para 20 (b) above = Rs.24,020 X 50.0 = Rs. 12,01,000 (c) For Para 20 (c )above = Rs. 24,020 X 32.75=Rs. 7,86,655 (d) For Para 20 (d) above = Rs. 24,020 X 29.25=Rs. 7,02,585 (e) For Para 20 (e) above = Rs.24,020 X 29.00 =Rs. 6,96,580 (f) For Para 20 (f) above = Rs. 24,020 X 25.50 =RS. 6,12,510 22. Total Voyage Costs Including Plotage and Allied Costs. The total voyage costs work out as follows: (a) Rs. 7,86,655.00 + Rs. 20,40,000.00 = Rs. 28,26,655.00 (b) Rs. 7,02,585.00 + Rs. 20,40,000.00 = Rs. 27,42,585.00 (c) Rs. 6,96,580.00 + Rs. 20,40,000.00 = Rs. 27,36,580.00 (d) Rs. 6,12,510.00 + Rs. 20,40,000.00 = Rs. 26,52,510.00 252
    • (Note: Many ocean going vessels use a combination of HFO for the ocean passage, and Motor Diesel Oil (MDO) for manoeuvering engines in restricted waters, like the SSCP. The I.O.C. rate for MDO/MT as on 01 MAY 2007, with 25% VAT, works out to Rs. 40,53,745.00. This would further increase the ‘total voyage costs. For the purposes of this paper, only HFO is being taken as the basis for the calculations.) DEDUCTIONS 23. Kolkata to Tuticorin around Sri Lanka/ via SSCP. It is ‘MORE COST EFFECTIVE’ to CIRCUMNAVIGATE Sri Lanka than routing through the SSC by amounts ranging from Rs. 19,49,925.00 (Rupees NINETEEN LAKHS, FORTY NINE THOUSAND, NINE HUNDRED AND TWENT FIVE ONLY), [Para 18 (a) – Para 17 (a)], TO, Rs. 19,51,126.00 (Rupees NINETEEN LAKHS, FIFTY ONE THOUSAND, ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY SIX ONLY ), [ Para 18 (d) – Para 17 (b) ] 24. Chennai to Tuticorin around Sri Lanka / via SSCP. It is ‘MORE COST EFFECTIVE’ to CIRCUMNAVIGATE Sri Lanka than routing through the SSC by amounts ranging from Rs. 13,25,405.00 (Rupees THIRTEEN LAKHS, TWENTY FIVE THOUSAND, FOUR HUNDRED AND FIVE ONLY), [Para 22 (a) – Para 21 (a) ], TO, Rs. 14,51,260.00 (Rupees FOURTEEN LAKHS, FIFTYONE THOUSAND, TWO HUNDRED AND SIXTY ONLY), [ Para 22 (d) – Para 21 (b) ]. CONCLUSION 25. In the reference quoted at Para 1 above, Mr. K.S. Ramakrishnan, had made TWO insightful comments. Firstly, “the saving in sailing time for that ship will also be substantially less than the 36 hours projected by the SSCP because the ship cannot be towed at its normal speed through the canal, and time will also be lost in embarkation/disembarkation of pilots and other inspection procedures. The saving in sailing time of just about a day will not justify the incurring of over 8 times the cost of the saved fuel”. Secondly, “ the two statements that the ships using the Sethsamudram Canal will save money and that the SSCP will be a financially viable undertaking are therefore mutually contradictory and cannot have simultaneous validity”. His wise words of reason have been corroborated by the ‘Time and Space’ and ‘Voyage Costs’ calculations. 26. It is quite possible that Indian Flag flying ships maybe ‘coerced’ into using the SSC to justify its existence. However, no such compulsions exist in respect of foreign flag ships. 27. THE SETHUSAMUDRAM CANAL PROJECT JUST DOES NOT MAKE ‘NAUTICAL SENSE’. ACKNOWLEDGEMENT 28 . My profound gratitude is due to Dr. S.Kalyanaraman, Phd., former Executive Director, Asian Development Bank, Manila, Shri V.Sundaram, I.A.S. (retd) and, First Chairman, Tuiticorin Port Trust, and Shri Govindan Menon. But for their valuable and insightful inputs, this analysis would not have been possible. 253
    • Annex 25 Setu Channel passage: 34 Lankan experts call it eco disaster; possibility of the issue being taken to Intl. Court of Justice Sunday Times, Colombo, May 20, 2007 Sethusamudram project: Verdict of experts handed over to Cabinet The report of an expert group set up by the Government to study the implications of the Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project (SSCP), was handed over to the Cabinet last Wednesday. The inter-ministerial committee which appointed the expert group will now study the report and decide on how best to address Sri lanka's concern regarding the project, Science and Technology Minister Tisssa Vitarana who is a member of the ministerial committee said. The expert committee headed by the Secretary to the Ministry of Education Ariyaratna Hewage handed over its report to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs late last month and it was presented to Cabinet on Wednesday. The expert committee consisted of people drawn from various areas relating to marine science as well as a representative of the Sri Lanka Navy. One of the main concerns of the committee was the adverse environment impact the project could have on Sri lanka. The Sethusamuduram project involved linking the Palk Strait and the Gulf of Mannar to the east coast of India by creating a shipping canal through Rameswaram Island, providing a continuous navigable sea route around the Indian peninsula within India's territorial waters. The ministerial committee headed by the Foreign Minister includes the Ministers of Environment and Natural resources, Ports and Aviation, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, Defence and Science and Technology. http://www.sundaytimes.lk/070520/News/nws11.html Controversial Sethusamudram canal dredging project Lankan experts caution against eco disasters By Ravi Ladduwahetty http://www.nation.lk/2007/04/22/lankan.jpg An eminent 34- member advisory group of Sri Lankan professionals have cautioned that the Sethusamudram canal dredging project could have disastrous environment impacts, particularly, maritime environment, for Sri Lanka. 254
    • What is most disconcerting is the absence of any response from the Indian Government to the Lankan concerns. The Group, after a year's study, submitted their report to Foreign Secretary Dr. Palitha Kohona, earlier this month. The Experts Group comprised Secretary, Education Ministry Ariyaratne Hewage - Chairman, Peradeniya University Professor of Geography Shantha Hennayake - Deputy Chairman, Special Advisor, Technical Planning & Development, Sri Lanka Ports Authority, Prasanna Weerasinghe and Systems Advisor, Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project (SSCP), Tikiri Jayatilleke. The Advisory Group was supported by sub committees from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headed by Assistant Director Sugeesawara Gunatunga, on hydrodynamic modeling headed by Moratuwa University's Prof of Coastal Engineering Samantha Hettiarachchi, on Environmental Measures for Sustainability headed by the Director, Institute of Technological Studies, Dr Aziz Mubarak, including IUCN Ecologist Dr. Channa Bambaradeniya and Head of Oceanography, NARA, K. Arulananthan, on Fisheries Resources & Livelihood, headed by Head of Marine Biological Resources, NARA, Dr Champa Amarasiri and on Navigational Emergencies headed by Commander Y.N. Jayaratne, Sri Lanka Navy. The primary concern for Sri Lanka is that the initial dredging, the infinite maintenance dredging and subsequent shipping through the channel, could have negative impacts on Sri Lanka's maritime and environment resources, sources in the Advisory Group told The Nation yesterday. Another major Sri Lankan concern which also relates to environment resources, is that the Indian studies have not taken into account the single environment impact on the Sri Lankan side of the international boundary, they said. The Advisory Group is of the view that, despite the SSCP being located only one mile away from the Indian side of the maritime boundary, the impact is unlikely to remain only on the Indian side and that, Sri Lanka's concerns have become even more significant, in the light of insufficient attention paid to minimise the environmental aspects on the Lankan side of the boundary. The Advisory Group has also noted that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) carried out by India is inadequate for a number of reasons. The Nation in its edition of January 7, 2007, exclusively reported that, despite the Indian assertion (Commercial Counsellor, Indian High Commission, Colombo, Sanjay Sudhir refers) that it has shared the Ahamedabad based Indian National Environment & Ecological Research Institute (NEERI) report with Sri Lanka, is insufficient justification to prove that there will be no adverse impact on the environment. Simply because, the NEERI report by itself, was flawed and was sufficient legal justification to put the entire NEERI repot into scientific question. For example, the NEERI report is yet to explain the sedimentation issue, silting possibilities and underwater ocean currents, when the canal is constructed. According to Sudharshan Rodriguez, a Chennai based conservation analyst, the EIA report furnished by NEERI, has used secondary data going back to 1976. quot;Hence, 255
    • how can a project, which will pass through a biological hot spot, with so many likely impacts, be assessed on the basis of secondary data?quot; is the next most logical question. The Convenor, Indian Coastal Action Network, Ossie Fernandez has alleged that the NEERI EIA report is also a re-hash of the preliminary report and that, many activists and professionals are querying the data sources, including the bio diversity readings. Furthermore, there would be increased turbidity, which has never been studied by NEERI, which has neither studied the possibility of a tsunami through the canal water flow, due to the deep water channel linking the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal. The United Nations Law of the Sea mandates that neighbouring States need to be consulted and sufficient safeguards and guarantees provided. Fishery resources There is also concern of the lack of concern on the Indian side, of the unique, biologically rich resource areas linking two Marine Eco systems in the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Bay. Unless accurate forecasts are made of the mitigation effects, it could eventually destroy this fragile marine eco system. This is all the more significant in the light of the Northern and North western communities in Sri Lanka being heavily dependent on the fisheries resources of this area. The concerns that Sri Lanka has expressed are protecting the endangered species, protecting the fisheries resources, the coastal and maritime eco diversity system, integrity of the eco system in the seas around the island and immediate and long- term ecological stability. According to research done in Jaffna, by Sri Lanka born Monash University's Professor of Systems Ecology and UNDP Consultant Prof. Ranil Senanayake, fresh water fish such as Dandiya (Rasbora Daniconius), Tittaya (Amblypharygnodon Melenittus) and Amblypharygnodon Melenittus, migrate down towards underground caverns and chambers, during dry weather and surface when it rains. This also demonstrates the existence of massive underground freshwater caves off Jaffna, with which the salt water of the Palk Straits would mix, if the dredging continues. This is a shallow area which is highly productive, biologically. As a consequence to the dredging, rare species of mammals, dugongs and fish and invertebrates such as the guitar shark and cone shells would become extinct. One cone shell (Conus Zonatus and Conus Gloria Maris) is worth around US$ 3,500 apiece. Dredging will also reduce the photosynthetic rate, resulting in the collapse of the fishing industry. Ecological and archaeological concerns Among a host of serious problems, one major issue is that the canal is to be dug through vesicular limestone, which is a formation of limestone, consequent to the myocene sea encroaching upon parts of Northern Sri Lanka and Southern India. This entails Mannar and Jaffna on the Sri Lankan side and Tuticorin and Rameswaran on 256
    • the Indian side, which means that the groundwater on both sides of the channel, would be affected. It is also salient that no maritime archaeology has been conducted on this site. Scientific evidence, in a paper presented by Prof. Senanayake, indicates that 13,000- years ago, the area around the Kalpitiya lagoon, up to Mannar, was forested. Even today, stumps of old trees are found underwater. There are innumerable stories in Sinhala history, regarding noblemen and royalty living underwater. Navigational Emergencies Sri Lanka has proposed that a plan to ensure vessels that cause pollution and oil spillage are identified and necessary compensation mechanisms put in place, is established. Sri Lanka should, invariably, be involved in the preparation of contingency plans for oil spills, including modalities to work out the cost of marine pollution and other navigational emergencies and how they be met. Recommendations Sri Lanka has also proposed the sharing of information on existing studies and collaboration on further studies and assessments and the setting up of a common database. Also that a Joint Environment Management Plan for impact assessment and monitoring of the project area be established. Both Sri Lanka and India will be tremendously benefited if the recommendations are implemented to minimize the adverse environmental impacts of the SSCP, the Advisory Group has pointed out. http://www.nation.lk/2007/04/22/newsfe3.htm 257
    • Annex 26 Supreme Court of India Record of Proceedings 28 May 2007 ITEM NO.38 COURT NO.2 SECTION PIL SUPREME COURT OF INDIA RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS WRIT PETITION (CIVIL) NO(s). 272 OF 2007 DANDI SWAMI SRI VIDYANANDA B.JI MONK&ANR Petitioner(s) VERSUS UNION OF INDIA & ORS. Respondent(s) (With appln(s) for ex-Parte stay, exemption from filing O.T. and office report ) WITH W.P(C) NO. 286 of 2007 (FOR PREL. HEARING) (With appln. for ex-parte stay and office report) Date: 28/05/2007 These Petitions were called on for hearing today. CORAM : HON'BLE Dr. JUSTICE ARIJIT PASAYAT HON'BLE MR. JUSTICE D.K. JAIN (VACATION BENCH) For Petitioner(s) Mr. Krishnan Venugopal, Adv. Mr. Sushil Kumar Jain,Adv. Mr. Shiv Sagar Tiwari, Adv. For Respondent(s) Mr. R. Mohan, ASG Mr. M.A. Chinnasamy, Adv. UPON hearing counsel the Court made the following ORDER Learned counsel for the petitioners wants to withdraw the petitions stating that if so advised the petitioners may bring materials to the notice of the appropriate authorities about certain aspects which according to them have some relevance. We express no opinion in that regard. The writ petitions are dismissed as withdrawn. (R.K. DHAWAN) (VINOD KULVI) COURT MASTER COURT MASTER 258
    • Annex 27 Madras Presidency Manual 1903 refers to Rama’s Bridge as Rama Setu – same renamed as Adam’s Bridge Manual of the Administration of the Madras Presidency./C.D. Maclean. 1903, Madras, Superintendent, Government Press, Reprint: Asia Education Services, New Delhi, AES, 3 Vols., 2440 p. Contents: Vol. 1: Chapters 1-9 Containing: The Principal Articles of the Manual Arranged so as to Conform to the Order of Subjects in the Yearly Presidency Administration Report. Vol. 2: Appendices Containing: Articles and Statements, Supplementary of the Articles in Vol. 1 Arranged Under General Heads. Vol. 3: Glossary of the Madras Presidency: A Classification of Terminology, a Gazetteer and Economic Dictionary of the Province and Other Information, the Whole Arranged Alphabetically and Indexed. The title page and page from the Glossary (vol.3) referring to 'Adam' is attached. 259
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    • Annex 28 Prime Minister’s Office questions of March 2005 and Tuticorin Port Trust observations of June 2005 on Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project (SSCP) Source: http://sethusamudram.gov.in/Prime.asp PMO Note 1. Subsequent to the Tsunami calamity, certain urgent technical issues have arisen regarding the SSCP which have been noted with alarm in responsible sections of the scientific community of the country Tuticorin Port Trust Observations PMO Note is the summary of an article titled quot; Pre- and Post Tsunami – Is the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project Technically feasible ? quot; which appeared in the Economic and Political weekly dated January -22, 2005. The article is contributed by Dr. R. Ramesh, M.B., B.S., who is a medical professional. His expertise in the complex phenomenon of Tsunami and its impact is debatable. His readings on the subject of tsunami and the project region are limited as evident from the references cited by him. There have not been any observations made by any scientist on the basis of scientific evidence except for some statements in the media attributed to Dr. Ted Murty, NRI Scientist about the need for reorientation of the channel entrance in the Bay of Bengal. This is dealt with separately. PMO Note 2. The Tsunami waves which were generated on December 26, 2004 by an earthquake of 9 Richter magnitude off the west coast of north Sumatra traveled westwards and eastwards. The eastern wave was blocked by the Thai, Malaysian and Indonesian landmasses. A portion of the undissipated energy of this eastern wave was transferred to the western wave front traveling towards Sri Lanka and the Indian east Coast. Tuticorin Port Trust Observations Yes. This is also supported by animation models generated in India and also outside. PMO Note 3. Before touching Sri Lanka, the tsunami was traveling westward. When it struck Sri Lanka and the east coast of India, a clock wise wind was created with the Palk Bay as it hub. Had the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal been operational at the time of this 263
    • tsunami, the currents in the Palk Bay and the associated turbulence would have damaged the canal considerably and would have caused a wide disposal of the dredged material placed at sea. Tuticorin Port Trust Observations A slide from an animation model by M/s. Indomer Coastal Hydraulic (P) Ltd., Chennai in association with M/s. Alkyon Hydraulic Consultancy and Research by the Netherlands is enclosed (slide 1) . This clearly establishes that Palk Bay and Palk strait were comparatively free from the turbulence caused by the Tsunami in the Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean. This slide is also supported by the animation model of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology , Japan (Slide 2) In the case of tsunami, significant damages have been and will be seen only along the near shore beach areas because of resistance of near shore structures against the Tsunami passage. The very location of the Sethusamudram channel far away from the Indian or Sri Lankan coast pre-empts this possibility. Scientists have also expressed the view that the channel situated in mid sea can not show any resistance displayed by near shore structures except for the possibility of bed scouring which may have the impact of increasing the depth of the channel as witnessed in Chennai Port. Tuticorin Port, situated in the Gulf of Mannar and very close to the project region, did not experience any significant change in the bathymetry due to tsunami's impact. If a clockwise swirl had indeed been created in the region with the Palk Bay as its hub ( as stated in the note but not supported by the animation models), such clockwise swirl would have taken the dredged materials placed at sea, proposed to be dumped in depths of about 20-30 M in the Bay of Bengal away 3 from Palk Strait. A quantity of around 34.5 million M of dredged materials is proposed to be dumped in an area of about 25 Sq.KM, which will raise the sea-bed by an average of 1.4 M only. The clockwise swirl would have carried this deep into the Bay of Bengal, redistributing it over a very wide area making the impact of such redistribution, even if it would have taken place, insignificant in view of the wide area over which it would be redistributed and greater depths available North and Northeast of the proposed dumping location in Bay of Bengal Therefore, there is no scientific basis for the apprehension that the shipping channel , if it were in place during tsunami, would have been damaged by the currents and / or associated turbulence. `Wide dispersal of the dredged materials placed at sea' would have had insignificant effect. 264
    • PMO Note 4. The SSCP is an off shore shipping canal project in the Palk Bay. It aims to shorten the distance navigated by ships sailing form the west coast and bound for ports on the east coast by avoiding circum- navigation of Sri Lanka. On the completion of the SSCP, ships would navigate through the Gulf of Mannar and Palk Bay and enter the Bay of Bengal directly Tuticorin Port Trust Observations Yes. PMO Note 5. The total length of the canal in the Palk Bay is 152.2 Km. This is divided into three legs – the Southern leg in the Adam's Bridge area which is 20 KM, the northern leg in the Palk Strait area which is 54.2 Km and the central portion which is 78 Km in length. Dredging would have to be done in the southern and northern legs to dredge the shallow sea bed of the Palk Bay and Adam's Bridge to a depth of 12 metres in order to make navigation possible. The central leg does not require dredging as it lies the adequate depth of 12 metres. Tuticorin Port Trust Observations The statistics furnished in the Note are based on the Techno- Economic Feasibility Report prepared by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, Nagpur in July 2004. The Detailed Project Report since submitted to the Ministry of Shipping, RT & H, has suggested some minor changes in the channel alignment on navigational considerations. The length of the proposed channel now is 167.57 Km , with the southern leg at Adam's Bridge area having a length of 34.92 Km, the northern leg in Palk strait 54.33 Km, and the intervening stretches of Palk Bay, not requiring any dredging, having a length of 78.32 Km PMO Note 6. This is the first effort by the India to dredge a navigation channel, which is located 30-40 Kms off shore. It is also the longest sea bed dredging project undertaken by India. Tuticorin Port Trust Observations Yes. PMO Note 7. The problems that will be faced by SSCP are expected to be (i) problems due to sedimentation (ii) problems due to tropical cyclonic disturbances and (iii) issues related to dumping of the dredged materials Tuticorin Port Trust Observations Significant issues relating to the SSCP, which has a major dredging component, are :- i.Sedimentation in the Channel which will determine the stability of 265
    • the channel and maintenance dredging. ii.Identification of dumping locations for dredged materials disposal with the objectives of - a)minimising environmental impact to manageable levels and b)ensuring that the dumped spoils do not re-enter the dredged channel. Though the National environmental Engineering Research Institute had scientifically identified the dumping areas supported by modelling studies, further modelling studies were carried out by Tuticorin Port Trust during September 2004 – January 2005 with involvement of Alkyon Hydraulic Consultancy and Research bv the Netherlands for validation and verification of NEERI's findings, and for optimisation of distance to dumping locations. While validating NEERI's findings the studies have indicated the possibility of opitimising the lead distance. However, considering the environmental sensitivity of the project region, it has been decided to retain the dumping locations suggested by NEERI. PMO Note 8. In order to tackle these problems, detailed information and knowledge needs to be gathered regarding sedimentation and cyclone disturbances in the Palk Bay Tuticorin Port Trust Observations Tuticorin Port Trust has carried out detailed wave modeling studies, tide and current circulation modeling studies, nautical studies and sedimentation modeling studies inter-alia analysing in-depth the sedimentation regime along the entire channel length. As regards tropical cyclonic disturbances, quot; information on the normal wave conditions is required for further studies on sedimentation and erosion and to establish the limiting conditions for navigation through the channel. Information on the extreme wave conditions is required for the design of various structures, like groynes and bank protection,quot; (Report of Indomer Coastal Hydraulics (P) Ltd., Chennai on Hydradynamic modeling and ship Maneuvering studies for the SSCP). Wave modeling studies of international standards, involving an internationally acclaimed organisation, have been carried out to meet these requirements. The following findings of the modeling studies are relevant vis-a- vis sedimentation in the channel in Palk Bay / Palk Strait which the Note primarily deals with- quot;Based on the computed sediment transports, it can be concluded 3 that the incoming sediment volume (23,100 m ) is of the same order 266
    • of magnitude as the transported sediment along the channel (32,500 3 m ). This would imply the following - •At the shallow zone of Palk Strait, the channel depth will remain constant at CD (-) 12m (the incoming sediment volume from long shore transport approximately equals the outgoing sediment volume due to transports parallel to the ship channel). This implies that no maintenance dredging is required along this channel section (at Palk Strait). •East and west of shallow zone, however, the transported sediment volume will deposit due to reduced sediment transport capacities. The 3 deposited sediment volume equals to 32,500 m /y.quot; The relevance of the findings is two-fold: (i) Detailed field investigations/ modelling studies have been carried out in the project region. (ii) There will be very little sedimentation in the channel in Palk Strait, compared to other approach channels in the country. The general philosophy followed worldwide in designing an off shore structure is that predictions about the ocean environment have to be made first, ideally based on the history of the environment for 'hundreds of years of data' (A.K.Malhotra – quot;Ocean Science and Technologyquot; p 32, 1980)quot;. quot;In actual fact, the data for a particular location usually cover a much shorter period and, therefore, are a poor basis for predicting the future from the oceanographer – statistician's point of view. Despite this, valid operating and design values can be obtained by one of several methodsquot; (A.K.Malhotra). This is normally done through predictive modelling, as carried out by Tuticorin Port for SSCP. The issues relating to cyclonical disturbances are discussed in Section 12. PMO Note 9. Palk Bay is one of the major permanent sediment sinks of India. In a study entitled quot; Littoral Drift Sources and Sinks along the Indian Coastal by Chandramohan and others in 2001, the sea depth reduction due to sedimentation in the Palk Bay has been estimated to be 1 cm per year Marine and riverine sources contribute to these sediments. In a publication entitled quot; Rapid Land Building Activity along Vedaranyam Coast and its Possible Implicationsquot; brought out by Ramasamy and others in 1998, the sediment building activities due to sea currents in the Vedanarayanam-Jaffna peninsular stretch of Palk Bay has been estimated to be 29 metres per year. Similarly in another study on the Sethusamudram Canal published by Rajamanickem in 2004, the sedimentation rate has been estimated to be 24 cms per 267
    • year in the Manamelkudi area of Palk Bay Tuticorin Port Trust Observations The Note refers to findings reproduced in some research papers which are based on micro-regional studies or application of mathematical formulae. The study of Rajamanickam has been mentioned. Rajamanickam says in his paper – quot;Sethusamudram Canal: The life line of Tamilnaduquot; (National Seminar on Ecological balance and Sethusamudram Canal, 1- 3rd October, 2004, Department of Oceanography and Coastal Area Studies, Alagappa University), that quot;it is interesting to see that the maritime surveys conducted between 1960 and 1986 reveal the change of contour to the tune of 6m shallowness in the Palk Strait. That shows that around 24 cm per year is being silted off in the Strait.quot; The Note only quotes this part of his observation but fails to add that he has actively supported the construction of the navigation channel to remedy his natural phenomenon. In his paper, Rajamanickam visualizes quot;the merger of this two (spit from Thalaimannar side in Sri Lanka and spit from Manalmelkudi in India) within the next 50 years. Once these spits join, the Palk Strait will become into two lagoon of the north and south. The flushing of waters from Gulf of Mannar to Bay of Bengal will be stoppedquot;. He has further opined -quot;Because of such ocean circulation, Tamil Nadu is getting monsoonal rainfall. The day siltation initiated, one must have observed the drifting of cyclones and low depressions to Nellore and Orissa. Slowly the quantum of rainfall in Tamil Nadu and the order of cyclones in delta region have been in the decreasing order. If the flushing is completely stopped, the monsoonal winds and ocean circulations may not be directed through this Strait. If such action takes place, Tamil Nadu may not get proper rainfall and subsequently the granary of rice, the Cauvery deltas will become a desert by the turn of this century. The moment, Sethusamudram Canal is brought in force, that Canal may become the draining canal first for all the silts dumped along the coast of Palk in the past. There is every possibility to retrieve back the clear water and comparatively deeper shelf in many areas. Such increase of depth and clarity of water may enable the delicious fish varieties to get more populated and fishermen in this region can do the th fishing right in front of the hamlets as in the case of 19 century. The per capita income of the fishing community of nearly 40,000 people may go up many times. The delta region may get good rainfall and may plan to go for cultivation without the dependence of Mettur water. In the beginning, the Sethusamudram Canal may face frequent dredging due to the sliding of the silts dumped earlier. In few years this will be settled. The fear complex developed among the fishing community is baseless. Instead of loosing their fishing and trawling, they will get more catch due to the International navigation as in the case of Panama. 268
    • Therefore, scientific evidence is being cited against the project when the scientist who has produced such evidence goes on to say in the same research paper that the scientific evidence leads him to believe that an environmental and ecological disaster is waiting to happen unless the Sethusamudram Ship Channel is urgently created to provide a draining canal for the silt in Palk Bay/Palk Strait. For a dredging project involving creation of a navigation channel, sedimentation in the project setting and in the channel as a result of sedimentation regime in the area need to be studied. In the case of SSCP,, sedimentation transport rate along the channel and long shore sediment transport across the channel need estimation for computation of annual maintenance dredging requirements. Such estimation has been done in the past (earlier studies) through modelling and radio- active tracer analysis. Tuticorin Port Trust has carried out sedimentation modelling in the project area involving a world- renowned organisation which has clearly established that sedimentation transport rate along and across the channel is insignificant. PMO Note 10. Those findings indicate that there are specific regions in Palk Bay where the annual sea depth deduction is 25-75 times higher than the average value proposed by Chandramohan etc. for the entire Bay. The two legs of the SSCP where dredging is required happen to cross two such micro regions with high sedimentation rates. Tuticorin Port Trust Observations The legs of the SSCP where dredging will take place pass through two micro regions with high sedimentation rates – Adam's Bridge and Palk Strait. This prompted Tuticorin Port Trust to commission further modeling studies to verify and validate NEERI's findings. The modeling studies have led to reliable estimation of sediment transportation rate along and across the channel in these regions. PMO Note 11. The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project carried out by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) has not taken into account the sediment contribution from the rivers flowing into Palk Bay. This study does not pinpoint the sediment source for about 99.4 % of the total sedimentation volume. Tuticorin Port Trust Observations While undertaking the EIA Study NEERI have generated primary data in addition to relying upon secondary data. Primary data has also been used by them for validation of Secondary data. They had also carried out mathematical/ simulation studies. Tuticorin Port Trust, in its endeavour to verify and validate NEERI's findings, had 269
    • commissioned further modelling/ simulation studies. P.Chandramohan et al (Littoral drifts sources and sinks along the Indian Coast, Current Science, Vol.81, No.3, 10 August 2001) in their 10 3 study had estimated 0.3 x 10 m sediment deposition in Palk Bay region, in an area of 117 km x 105 km over a period of 51 years. M/s.Indomer Coastal Hydraulics (P) Ltd. (of which Dr.P.Chandramohan is the Managing Director) have estimated sediment deposit of 32, 500 3 m /y in Palk Strait part of SSCP, which will have a length of 54 kms. A comparison of the estimates is shown below: 1.Sedimentation capacity in the channel, proportionate to estimate to Chandramohan et at . 10 3 54x0.3x10 = 77,569 m 117x105x51 2.Sedimentation computed by TPT modelling study Along the channel- 3 Incoming sediment volume =23,100 m 3 Outgoing sediment volume =32,500 m Across the channel- 3 Deposited sediment volume =32,500 m -------------------------- Total =88,100m3 ================== Therefore, the findings from the modelling studies compare favourably with results of research studies available for the area. The imputation that the studies do not pin-point the sediment source for about 99.4% of the total sedimentation volume appears to be based on the following (i)Total sediment load computed: 63 58.8 x 10 m by Chandramohan et al for entire Palk Bay (117 x105 sq.km.) (ii)Less net annual sediment transport : 63 0.2657 x 10 m Computed by NEERI for Adam's Bridge area (which has a length of 17 kms) (iii) Less estimation made by Sanil Kumar et al for net littoral sediment transportation: 270
    • 0.095 x 106 m3 into Palk Bay from Nagapattinam coast. Unaccounted, according to the Note 58.4393 x 106m3 The primary source of the sediments deposited on the beaches is the weathering of the land; the sediments are then transported through rivers to the ocean' (Chandramohan et al, 2001). It is also estimated that 'The quantities of materials contributed by head land erosion and aeolian transport are both less than 2 per cent of river transport' (Chandramohan et al, 2001). Therefore, when the sedimentation due to littoral drift from the north (Nagapattinam) estimated by Sanil Kumar et al (2002) and the total sedimentation load for Palk Bay region computed by Chandramohan et al (2001 – Sanil Kumar was also part of this research group) are accepted as valid, the source of the difference is very clear-sediment contribution from the rivers. This is supported by the following excerpts- `Vaigai, Vaishali and Valryar rivers are the major sediment sources entering the palk bay region'. (Malik, T.C., Indian Journal of Marine Science, 1983-12,203-208). `Large amounts of sediments from the pediments are removed constantly by rainfall and carried by minor rivers and dumped into the Palk bay'.(Loveson et al, Sea Level Variation and its impact on Coastal Environment, ed Rajamanickam, 1990, PP159-178). Thestudies carried out by the Projectauthorities are for the purpose of delineating the project setting in order to identify the environmental consequences ofthe proposed project, assess theirimpact, evaluate the environmental viability of the project anddevise an Environmental Management Plan to minimise the environmental impacts.The findings of these studies aresubstantiated and supported by researchstudies of the region in which the project is situated. PMO Note 12. Out of the 61 cyclones that have crossed the Tamilnadu coast in the period 1891-1995, 6 have directly crossed the Palk Bay. The Met Department considers the coastal stretch between Nagapattinam and Pamban as a high risk zone for tropical cyclones. A study entitled quot; Identification of Costs Vulnerable for Severe Tropical Cyclones – Statistical Evaluationquot; published in 2004 has named this coastal stretch as the most vulnerable to severe tropical cyclones among the many coastal regions of the Bay of Bengal. Studies on the pattern of movement of sediments during the cyclonic storms are not available at present. However, it is known that these storms have a tendency to transport sediments into Palk Bay from the Nagapattinam coast and from Gulf of Mannar Tuticorin Port Trust Observations 271
    • 'The most damaging oceanographic episode that coastal residents can face is a cyclone with a combination of wind, waves, surge and rain' (Antonio Mascarenhas, Current Science, Vol.86, No.3, 10 February 2004). An important prerequisite for sustainable development, therefore, is resilience towards natural hazards and elimination of disasters. In terms of landfall, among the severe cyclones over a century, according to Mascarenhas, '55 crossed the coast of Tamilnadu, 69 hit Andhra Pradesh, 58 affected Orissa, 33 struck West Bengal.' Impacts of tropical cyclones have been and continue to be the most disruptive recurring events for the east coast of India. From available records, Mascarenhas concludes - (i) Andhra Coast is the most vulnerable to several tropical cyclones. About 32% of the cyclones forming in the Bay of Bengal make landfall along this coastal state every year. (ii) Orissa follows with 27%, Tamilnadu with 26% and West Bengal with 15%. (iii) The Andhra Coast has been subjected to storms, with a highly significant increase in the mean frequency of severe storms incident on Andhra Coast after 1975 as compared to earlier periods. (iv) Orissa is affected by the highest frequency of severe cyclones in October and November every year, with the highest probability (56%) of at least one cyclone crossing the coast and 1% probability of four cyclones crossing Orissa every year. (v) In terms of storm surges, the West Bengal coast is highly vulnerable to attack by storm surges with heights ranging from 2-12m. The coast of Orissa has witnessed maximum surge heights of 7 m. The Andhra Pradesh and Tamilnadu Coasts are vulnerable where observed surge heights are in the range of 1 to 6 m. (vi) Andhra and Orissa are the most vulnerable to coastal inundations. To summarise his findings, (a) In terms of incidence of severe tropical cyclones, Andhra and Orissa are more vulnerable than the Tamilnadu coast. 272
    • (b) In terms of storm surges, West Bengal and Orissa coasts are highly vulnerable, while the Tamilnadu Coast is vulnerable. (c) Andhra and Orissa are the most vulnerable to coastal inundations. Therefore, absolute figures relating to Tamilnadu Coast need to be compared with the rest of the east coast. The statistics furnished in para 11 of the Note that `against the incidence of 61 cyclones on the Tamilnadu coast during the period 1891-1995, only 6 had directly crossed the Palk Bay' is also relevant in this context as in simple arithmetical language it conveys that the Palk Bay is less vulnerable to incidence of cyclones than the rest of the Tamilnadu Coast. The Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project was originally conceived by the British as early as in 1860 with the objective of providing sheltered passage to merchant and navy ships, sparing them from the vagaries of nature and to provide safe anchorage during the tropical cyclones normally encountered off the Tamilnadu Coast during the North East monsoon (October – December). The Note cites the incidence of cyclones in the project area as the reason for reviewing the need for the project when the major ports of Visakhapatnam, Paradip and Haldia are situated in coastal areas more vulnerable to such incidence. So is Kakinada where a major port facility is coming up. PMO Note 13. There are two previous records of tsunami destruction in this area. The first record is of an earthquake, which originated at the Car Nicobar islands on December 31, 1881. It had generated a tsunami in the Bay of Bengal that had been felt at Pamban. The second record is of August 27, 1883 when the Karkathova volcano of Indonesia erupted and created a tsunami that reached Nagapattinam. Tuticorin Port Trust Observations The experience of 26 December, 2004 showed that Palk Bay faced less turbulence caused by the tsunami than in Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean. 'Tsunami is basically a transient and pressure wave due to compression of fluid by the energy released during the process of earthquake or subducting movement of tectonic plates of earth. This can be surmised as the reverse process of water hammer in the pipe flow. In case of tsunami, the damages can be seen only along the near shore beach areas because of resistance of near shore structures against the Tsunami passage, whereas Sethusamudram Shipping Canal can not show such resistance except for bed scouring (Dr.B.Nagendra Kumar, Scientist, NIOT). He also says that redistribution of bed sediments in Palk Bay due to turbulence, if any, generated by the loss of tsunami wave energy, was a possibility and adds - 'if shipping channel had been present, these sediments would also have been redistributed along the channel as a part of instantaneous process; 273
    • however, the subsequent over passage of tsunami at the Adam's Bridge and onslaught of higher tsunami energy must have generated high flushing flows along the shipping channel driving these redistributed sediments into Gulf of Mannar for next stage of redistribution at high speeds.' The implications of these expert views are two fold - (i) Only near shore areas and near shore structure are damaged by the tsunami wave energy ii) The worst case scenario is that had the canal been in place on 26 December, 2004, it would have experienced bed scouring. 'The Hindu' of 27-02-2005 reports that Seismologist Arun Bapat has scotched rumours about another large temblor or tsunami. According to him, quot;Another earthquake of such a magnitude and another tsunami is next to impossible for the next 70- 100 years.quot; The probability of occurrence of tsunami similar to that of 26-12-2004 may not be significant in the time scale of historical events. It is a moot point to consider whether the probability of occurrence of a rare event such as tsunami should affect development projects which normally have a life span of upto 50 years. In the DPR for SSCP an economic life of 30 years is taken into consideration for financial analysis. quot; The significance of a net work of canals and drains, in addition to tidal creaks, within the low lands of East Godavari District need to be noted. Such inter-linked drainage systems have alleviated the impacts of storms by receiving, accommodating and returning surge waters back into the seaquot; (Antonio Mascarenhas, 'Oceanographic validity of buffer zones for the east cost of India: A hydro-meteorological perspective,' Current Science, Vol. 86, 3, 10 February, 2004). On 26.12.2004 and also the succeeding days, it was reported that the River Cooum in Chennai accommodated the excess water from Marine incursions caused by the tsunami. By the same scientific evidence, the SSCP should prove to be a boon in the event of surges caused by severe cyclone and tsunami. The observation made by Rajamanickam (see para 9) that SSCP is urgently needed to provide a draining canal for Palk Bay is also relevant in this context. PMO Note 14. Finally, specific dump sites for dredged materials have been identified only for 8.5 to 9.5 per cent of the total dredged spoil. The exact dumping sites for 90.5 to 91.5 percent of the dredged material are not known. Similarly, information about the nature of the dredged spoil is also lacking. This information is available only for about 38.5 - 10.6 per cent of the total dredged spoil. Tuticorin Port Trust Observations Specific dumping sites have been identified and delineated in NEERI's EIA Report in Bay of Bengal, and in the Gulf of Mannar, for dumping of dredged materials from Palk strait and Adam's Bridge respectively, contrary to what is stated in the paragraph. NEERI had 274
    • also conducted modelling studies for predicting dispersal of deposited materials in the Gulf of Mannar. Tuticorin Port Trust has conducted further studies which have not only validated NEERI's proposals, but also suggested possible relocation of the dumping site in Gulf of Mannar nearer the dredging location, which has not been accepted by Tuticorin Port Trust in view of ecological sensitivity of the region. The option of reclamation of about 750 ha. of land in Dhanuskhodi island, lost during the 1964 cyclone, at an additional cost of Rs.100 cr. app. is retained. 3 The paragraph alludes to the estimated quantity of about 7 million.m required for reclamation of this area only, when it states that specific dump sites have been identified only for 8.5 to 9.5 % of the total dredged spoil Information about the nature of the dredged spoil has been furnished in NEERI's Report both for Adam's Bridge area and Palk Strait. Data from earlier reports, sub-bottom profiling and borehole data generated by NEERI etc. provided the basis of such information Tuticorin Port Trust has carried out, through the NIOT, more detailed and sophisticated sub-bottom profiling of the project area, vibro-coring in 44 locations and boreholes to further refine the project proposal. PMO Note 15. Thus, there are huge gaps in the current status of knowledge about the sedimentation regimes existing in the various micro regions of Palk Bay. Knowledge about the effects of tsunamis and cyclones on the dredged material and on the SSCP is also incomplete. The Environmental Impact Assessment and the Technical Feasibility Report prepared by NEERI have ignored these aspects. Yet, the SSCP authority has applied for a no objection certificate from the Ministry of Environment & Forest and the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board. Tuticorin Port Trust Observations (i) Sedimentation regime in Palk Bay/Palk Strait has been studied through field studies and modelling studies as adequate and relevant for the project setting and for reliable estimation of maintenance dredging requirements. (ii) Tsunami and tropical cyclones impact the coast through changes induced by them in wave regime, currents and winds. Modelling studies have produced more than adequate data to examine the impact of extreme conditions on the project, especially on the stability of the channel, net sedimentation, navigability and downtime etc. (iii) All necessary studies as per international requirements have been carried out by the project authorities to ascertain the environmental viability and technical feasibility of the project. PMO Note 16. Going ahead with the construction of this mega project without collecting information on the above aspects could lead to major economic, technical and human problems in future that could border on a disaster. It is, therefore, advisable that he project authority for 275
    • the SSCP should first look into these specific aspects and give their detailed comments thereon. If the project authority feels that these aspects have been adequately taken care of, they should provide convincing and substantial evidence to that effect that will withstand the scrutiny of the scientific community at large. Tuticorin Port Trust Observations (i) Sedimentation regime in Palk Bay/Palk Strait has been studied through field studies and modelling studies as adequate and relevant for the project setting and for reliable estimation of maintenance dredging requirements. (ii) Tsunami and tropical cyclones impact the coast through changes induced by them in wave regime, currents and winds. Modelling studies have produced more than adequate data to examine the impact of extreme conditions on the project, especially on the stability of the channel, net sedimentation, navigability and downtime etc. (iii) All necessary studies as per international requirements have been carried out by the project authorities to ascertain the environmental viability and technical feasibility of the project. 276
    • Annex 29 Rama Setu: geological and anthropological info. of about 2 million years ago That Rama Setu is a very ancient geological formation is clear from geological reports. (cf. Gopalakrishnan’s maps and articles). There is an anthropological question on the early origins of man in the region. The claim that Rama Setu is 17,50,000 years old is a subject for more detailed studies. Some indications exist that this time period cannot be ruled out for early human activity. Homo erectus originally migrated from Africa during the Early Pleistocene, possibly as a result of the operation of the Saharan pump, around 2.0 million years ago, and dispersed throughout most of the Old World, reaching as far as Southeast Asia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homo_erectus In geologic periods, miocene era extends from about 23.03 to 5.332 million years before the present. There are indications that the limestone rocks which form the bed of Rama Setu are of miocene age. quot;The Madras coastlands and Adam's Bridge area are mapped by the Geological Survey of India as `Recent, mainly dune sands and marine deposits.' No other rocks outcrop on the Mandapam peninsula or Rameswaram Island though, on the Ceylonese side, parts of Mannar Island and the Jaffna Peninsula limestones are of Miocene agequot; (D.R. Stoddart and C.S. Gopinadha Pillai, quot;Raised reefs of Ramathapuram, South India,quot; _Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers_, No. 56. [Jul., 1972], p. 115). quot;According to geological survey, it is apparent that Miocene Era limestone beds are under the Adam's Bridge which connects Jaffna peninsula in Sri Lanka and Rameswaram in Indiaquot; [ref: S.U. Deraniyagala, _The Prehistory of Sri Lanka_ Colombo 1992]. It is vital to note that the Jaffna Peninsula in Sri Lanka and Rameswaram in India are linked via Miocene era lime stone reefs. And if, for the purpose of the Project, these reefs are dredged, there is a fear that half of Jaffna peninsula & nearly 85 islands on the western and north western coast of Sri Lanka and half of Rameswaram in India will go under water. There is also a fear that a sizable section of the fishermen in North and North western part of Sri Lanka will also be adversely affected as well as the fishermen of the Republic of Maldives. In fact, a Memorandum on the likely destruction due to the proposed Project was submitted to the Indian High Commissioner H.E Smt Nirupama Rao, by National Movement against Setusamudram, an organistation consisting of 123 members. 277
    • No: 09, 1 st Lane, Wanatha Road, Gangodavila, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka e-mail: sscp@greensl.net Tel/Fax: 0112-817156 24-08-2005 H.E. Shri Nirupama Rao, High Commissioner for India, Indian High Commission, 36-38, Galle Road, Colombo 3 Your Excellency, People’s Memorandum on the Destruction due Proposed Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project (SSCP) We are presenting herewith the memorandum prepared, taking into the consideration the environmental and social issues of the above project on behalf of the Sri Lankan citizen. We strongly protest the construction of Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project (SSCP) without taking into consideration the environmental and social impacts of it. In compiling these impacts we are very much concerned with the social and environmental impacts on the Asian Region and beyond. We hope that your Excellency will forward the copies of this memorandum to all responsible Departments of the Indian Government. Thank you, Yours sincerely, On Behalf of, NATIONAL MOVEMENT AGAINST SETHUSAMUDRAM Suranjan Kodituwakku Chief organizer, GREEN MOVEMENT OF SRI LANKA Cc: 01. Hon. Prime Minister, Prime Minister's office, Temple Trees Galle Road , Colombo 03 , Sri Lanka 02. Hon. Minister, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Repubilc Building , Colombo 01, Sri Lanka 03. Hon. Minister, Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources, 82, Sampathpaya, Rajamalwatta Road , Bathharamulla , Sri Lanka 04. Hon. Minister, Ministry of Fisheries and Ocean Resources, P.O. Box 1707 , New Secretariat Maligawatta, Colombo 10, Sri Lanka Peoples Memorandum on the Adverse effects of the proposed Sethusamudram ship Canal project 278
    • This petition is served on behalf of the people of Sri Lanka, taking into consideration environmental and social factors relevant to them. Nevertheless we would like to emphasize that we do focus on the environmental and social impact of this project on India , the Asian region and elsewhere as well. All things in this world are connected. Nothing exists as a separate entity. All things, not just the biotic but the abiotic as well, are connected in extremely complex ways. Although Sri Lanka and India are two separate countries, they lie on the samegeological plate. All creatures big and small, wild and wonderful, in these two countries may live on separate territories, but they are, each and every one of them, important to the entire world. There are no identifiable boundaries when we talk about the existence and sustainability of this earth. Acts that willfully harm the environment are nothing but violation of the human rights of those who have for ages adapted theirlives and lifestyles to specific environmental conditions. The Sethusamudram Project is a mega naval development project on the Sri Lanka-India maritime border. It is being implemented according to the unilateral wish and will of the Indian government. It is nevertheless a project that ought to receive the attention and raise the concerns of Sri Lanka, the Asia-Pacific region as well as the entire world. The Sri Lankan government, for reasons of political expediency, has adopted a conciliatory position, while the Indian government seeks to achieve its commercial and national security related objectives. While the Indian people have had little or no say in the matter and are therefore helpless, Sri Lankan have either remained silence for petty reasons or have adopted an anti-Indian stance regarding the project. This situation does not bode well for either the respective peoples of these countries or for all the ecological systems. The Indian government has prepared an Environment Impact Assessment in relation to the project. Considering the dimensions and the character of the project, it is not possible for us to be satisfied with this Assessment. It remains an incomplete document and it is our view that it is such because of a deliberate strategy of concealing the true impact and damage potential of the project. The project itself has a 144 year old history. The environmental and societal cost of implementing the project has been the main reason why this has not got off the ground for so long. The current trace of the canal has beendeveloped after considering many options. Although the canal will lie on Indian waters, it is still extremely close to Sri Lanka’s border. As such it directly impacts Sri Lanka’s environment, economy and society and especially her cultural ethos and values. No study has been done on the effect this project would have on Sri Lanka in these terms. We therefore express our grave concerns and objections to the fact that the environmental and Social impact assessments carried out have not taken account the impact on our country. It is a serious oversight. Indeed it is an insult to the country and an open threat to our sovereignty. Many institutions and experts have pointed out the weaknesses and flaws of the project and the environmental impact assessment. They have pointed out that the project will have serious negative social, environmental, archaeological and economical impacts on Sri Lanka and the region. It has been strongly recommended in India itself that a comprehensive study be commissioned to assess the environmental and social aspects of the project. In particular the people of Tamilnadu have strongly protested this project. It is indeed regrettable that neither the Indian nor Sri Lankan officials have paid much heedto such arguments and protests. 279
    • The project seeks to deepen the shallow sections of the sea. The sand, mud and stones thus excavated are to be dumped in areas of the sea where it will cause further damage. The waste from the ships and the debris released consequent to accidents will cause the following: • Climatic changes The deep seas on both sides of Gulf-Mannar region and that beyond the Palk Straits are kept separate by the current physical formations. The project, if implemented, will connect these seas. One of the key determinants of climatic change is the action of ocean currents. The current system of currents is an important determinant of marine resources such as fish as well as benign climates. The environmental impact assessment is silent on the impact on climate. On the one hand, temporal changes in the climatic situation will impact the efficacy of the canal and also, the canal will cause a certain transformation in the action of waves, currents and tsunamis, thereby disturbing significantly the stability of the climate in the Asia-Pacific region. • Destroying biodiversity According to studies already carried out, there are over 3600 species in the region where the excavations are to take place. This area, which abounds in coral, mangroves and other sea plants, has been named a protected biodiversity site of the world. As such it is subject to both local and international laws pertaining to biodiversity preservation. As of now there is very little naval activity in this region. It is an area which is largely protected from natural calamity. It is a site of abundant food sources. Its geographical and physiological uniqueness has made it one of the most important biodiversity preserves. The proposed canal seems to have been pushed as close to the Sri Lankan border in order to protect the marine resources on the Indian side as far as possible. It is clear that the excavation, waste from ships and other effluents will considerably impact the biodiversity of the area, to the extent that it will impact not only the region but the entire earth as a whole. For example, the routes taken by migratory creatures that cross from Asia to the Pacific will be disrupted and their breeding, nesting and feeding grounds will be destroyed. In addition, the resultant climatic change will certainly cause damage to the corals, mangroves and sea weeds, impacting negatively the ecological balance of the coasts of both countries and the biodiversity therein. Sri Lanka has 917122.95ha of natural forest cover. This forest cover lies in a land mass surrounded by sea in the tropical zone. The country enjoys a weather pattern consisting of two monsoons and inter-monsoonal rains. Fresh water flows from the central hills to the coast along major 103 rivers. As a result there is a high density of biodiversity, difference and endemic fauna and flora. However this forest cover, fast dwindling, is barely sufficient to maintain the environmental balance of the island, in particular since the island is by no means insulated by the damage done to the environment globally. We are currently witnessing a serious erosion of our biodiversity. Even the slightest erasure of biodiversity caused by the project is cause for serious worry, we firmly believe. • Destroying of breeding grounds of fish There are two key breeding grounds in the project region. It is Sri Lanka that benefits mostly from the Pedro Bank breeding ground. While India also benefits from this, the entirety of the Wedge Bank breeding ground is at its disposal. In addition there are minor breeding grounds 280
    • associated with the coral reefs, mangroves and sea grass in both countries. The dumping from the excavation will occur by the two key breeding grounds. The water will be unnecessarily churned by the movement of sand and mud. This would no doubt impact the breeding grounds negatively. This of course is in addition to the impact on these breeding grounds due to probable climatic changes precipitated by the project. • Impacting the fisheries industry Destroying fish is naturally the end of the fisheries industry. This will affect both countries. There are 1337 fishing villages in Sri Lanka. There are 123,970 families (a population of 530,420) living in these villages who depend on the industry. This project will significantly impact their catch and therefore their income. The project will directly cause much disruption among the fishing villages in the districts of Mannar, Jaffna, Killinochchi and Mullaitivu. Sri Lanka produced 284,960 metric tons of fish in 2003. Of this, 40,190 metric tons were produced in the aforementioned districts. Sri Lanka earns Rs. 9,524.5 million annually by exporting 15,689.9 metric tons of fish. The project will directly impact those who are directly involved in the fisheries industry and/or those who indirectly benefit from it. The project will displace hundreds of thousands of fishing families and destroy the industry. It is estimated that 49 fishing villages in India will suffer from the project. Over 14,000 fishermen will be directly affected while 54,000 will lose their livelihoods indirectly. • Impact on agricultural production Around 3,115,076ha of Sri Lanka is utilized for agricultural activity. This is extremely important to the country’s food security and foreign exchange earnings through export. In addition agriculture is the direct and indirect source of income for millions of Sri Lankans. The significant impact on the environment and especially the climate changes will no doubt have a direct and serious impact on the lives of these people. In particularthe impact of the project on the monsoons could limit the rainfall. This is a condition that is common to India and the rest of the region as well. • Pollution of the ocean and its impact Even under normal conditions, ships cause pollution. There is also the possibility of accidents, in particular since the banks of the canals lie underwater. This would cause long term damage to the fisheries industry as well as the ecological systems on the coastline. Most important in this is the damage caused to the coral reefs and the breeding grounds for fish. The character of the coastline, crucial to the fisheries as well as the tourist industry, could also be altered. • Conflict among fisher-folk It is clear that there will be a drop in the harvest of fish. At the same time it is likely that Sri Lankan waters will be encroached upon by fishing vessels at a much higher rate. Already there is conflict between fishermen of the two countries and this can only be exacerbated by the project. In the end it is the local fishermen who will suffer in both countries. • Increased threat of natural disasters 281
    • It is impossible to predict when, where and in what intensity natural disaster may strike. The project spans an area of 10500 square kilometers between the coordinates 77.8 degrees and 79.3 degrees latitude. Two earthquakes have occurred close to this area, in 1938 and in 1993. There are also two dormant volcanoes near the project area. The project will result in the loss of protection from warm and cold currents and possible tsunamis. Most critically, it is likely that the project will enhance the rate of erosion of the coastline. • Damage to culture and archaeology Adam’s bridge, which has historically facilitated the cultural exchange and mutual-nourishment between Sri Lanka and India, will be destroyed by this project. We will lose many artifacts that are of social, cultural and archaeological import. • Impact on trade There were 4032 ships that docked in Sri Lanka in 2003. Of these 3838 arrived at the Colombo Port. Sri Lanka has already spent a lot of money in expanding the capacity of the Colombo Port. The project will render these improvements meaningless and lessen the importance of Colombo as a port city internationally. As a country whose economy is considerably dependent on international trade this project will cause a number of problems within Sri Lanka. One of the key roles played by the Colombo Port is that of a transshipment hub. The annual return of Rs. 10,291 million will considerably diminish if this project goes ahead. • Destruction of small Islands It is the islands that will have to bear the brunt of erosion. Although most of these islands are uninhabited, their location does have a geographical and ecological significance. They are the feeding grounds, nesting grounds and resting places of migratory birds and play an important role in controlling the impact of currents and tsunamis. There are some which are inhabited and some are seasonally used by fisherman from both countries. The damage that could be caused would be impossible to correct and it will have an international impact as well. The stand of Sri Lankan communities regarding the Sethusamudram Project and recommendations Terminate the Sethusamudram Project and search for alternatives Commission an independent and internationally acceptable comprehensive study of the project and its impacts on both countries and the region that covers the economic, social, cultural and environmental concerns detailed above, and recommends viable alternatives Make available all information pertaining to current activities and activities planned to the peoples of both countries with full fidelity to the ethic of transparency Provide adequate and just opportunity for state agencies and other groups working in both countries as well as internationally on issues of human rights and environmental concerns to express their opinions Provide opportunity for everyone to access such opinions, criticism and suggestions and especially provide this information to those peoples who are directly impacted in the language of their choice 282
    • Make adequate provisions to prevent the use of force or bribery in money or kind to obtain approval for the project. Members of National Movement Against Sethusamudram 1. All Ceylon Workers Association for Fishing Peoples 2. Earth Co- Habitants Development Foundation, Imaduwa 3. Human Development Forum, Matara 4. Help-O, Galle. 5. Arunalu Community Development Foundation, Tangalle 6. Sathvijaya Padanama, Ihalakeembiya. 7. Organization of Human Resource & Environmental Protection , Thissamaharama 8. Prajashakthi Sanwardhana Padanama 9. Social Economic Leadership Foundation, Weeraketiya 10. Janadiriya National Women Development, Weligathta. 11. Institute of Human Resource & Environment Development, Pannamgoda 12. Green Explores, Pelmadulla 13. Rathnapura District Organization of Indigenous seeds Produce’s - Opanayaka 14. Environment & Human Development Foundation, Kuruwita 15. Madara Planting Service, Eheliyagoda 16. Organization of Environment & Children Rights, Preservation 17. Veligepola Integrated Community Development Socity, Parakaduwa 18. Participatory Development Centre, Kalawana 19. Hunuwala Welfare Society, Opanayaka 20. Sakura Lanka Mithuro Solidarity Foundation, Buluthota 21. Samadhi Forum, Ruwanwella 22. Solidarity Development Foundation,Yatiyanthota 23. Warakapola Collective Development Organization 24. Malmaduwa Participatory Development, Rambukkana 25. Nirmanee Development Foundation, Hettimulla 26. Community Development Centre, Aranayaka 27. Peoples Development Foundation, Dehiowita 28. Galigamu Peoples Foundation, Galigamuwa 29. Sri Lanka Environment Exploration Socity, Polgahawela 30. Imso Development Foundation, Hettimulla 31. Human Resource Development Centre, Mavanella 32. Monaragala Kavdawa Navoda Isuru Samajaya, Monaragala 33. Isuru Community Development Foundation, Buttala. 34. Child Rights Protection Foundation, Monaragala. 35. Sahabagithwa Sanwardene sangamaya, Monaragala 36. Lawer Uva Development Centre, Bibile. 37. Wellassa Development Foundation, Bibile 38. Lawer Uva Women Development Foundation, Monaragala 39. Future In Our Hand, Badulla 40. Organization for Protection of Human Resources in Pahala Uva, Ethiwewa. 41. Women Development Foundation, Badulla. 42. Kinigama Vegetable & Fruit Producing Society, Bandarawela. 43. Centre for Protection of Community Resource, Monaragala. 44. Bio diversity Research Information & Training Institute, Badulla 45. Uva Govijana Kendraya, Bandarawela 46. Uva Sustainable Development Net, Badulla. 47. Sadaharitha Parisara Mithurange Sangamaya, Gampala. 48. Naula Grameeya Sanwardhana Maha Sangamaya , Na-Ula 49. Community Development Foundation of Kundasale, Katugasthota. 50. Environment & Natural Resources Development Centre, Kandy 51. Up Country community Development Forum, Matale 52. ARUNALU Drug Prevention & community 53. Up Country Environmental Forum Development Centre, Gampala. 54. Organization of Parisara Piyasa, Nawalapitiya. 55. Dumbara Mithuro Coordination Office , Naula 56. Sarala Sahana Seva, Gmpala 283
    • 57. Kandurata Sobadaham Sanraksana Samaja Arthika ,Matale 58. Isuru Jeevithodaya Padanama, Hanguranketha 59. Avadi lanka, Nuwara Eliya 60. Walapane Rural Solidarity Programme, Nildandahinna. 61. Sri Lanka centre of Sustainable Alternative Solution For Community Upliftment, Hatton 62. Panduka Organization, Anukkane 63. Rural Centre for Development, Nikaweratiya. 64. Wanni Community Development Foundation, Thanthirimale 65. Jathika Govi Damuluwa, Eppawala 66. Parisarikayo, Wellampitiya. 67. Arunodaya Parisarikayo, Mabodale 68. Committee For Environmental & Consumer Problem, Jaela 69. Kahapola Rejidel Wathta Surekeeme Sanvidanaya, Madapatha 70. Raddolugama Sumithuro, Raddolugama 71. Mihimavu Science Foundation, Nugegoda 72. Organization to Safeguard Life & Environment OSLEN), Nugegoda 73. Partners of Environment Protection, Bathtaramulla. 74. Institute Of Tropical Studies & Conservation Environmental Organization, Kosgama 75. SENEHASA, Thummodara 76. Community Oriented Resource Exchange (CORE), Meegahathenna. 77. Podujana Himikam Kamituva, Gurugoda,Horana 78. Mihithala Mithuro Environmental Development Foundation, Gonapala 79. Janasra Padanama, Bellana. 80. Community & Environmental Development Foundation, Morontuduwa 81. Panadura Dharmashakthi Foundation, Panadura 82. Integrated Social Development Foundation, Kalutara North 83. Saruketha Movement, Mathugama 84. Beacon of the East- Social Service Organization, Batticaloa. 85. Team of Youth for Development Understanding and Progress ( TYDUP) , Trincomalee 86. Nethra, Batticaloa. 87. Rural Economic & Community Development Organization ( RECDO) 88. Nesda, Batticaloa 89. WWDF, Batticaloa 90. Desmio, Batticaloa. 91. Sri Lanka Environment Exploration Society 92. MANITHAM-Sri Lanka 93. Rural Women Front 94. Young Zoologist Association 95. Samadhi Foundation - Galle 96. Kithudhana Pubuduwa – Prasansaramaya 97. Public Campaign for Environmental Development 98. Movement for Protection of Eppawala Phosphate Deposits 99. SEDEC - 100.SETIC 101.Ruk Rakaganno – Trees Protection Society 101. National Forum for Community Organization 102.Kirindioya Integrated Farmer Organization 103.Janawabodhaya 104.Environment Exploration and Conservation Association – Nuwara-eliya 105.Turtle Conservation Project 106.People’s Development Foundation 107.Centre for Participatory Development 108.Organization for Human and Environment Development 109.Centre for Environmental and Cultural Education 110.Development Education Center for Human and Natural Resource Management 111.Trade Union of Conservators of Forest 112.Village Development & Environmental Conservation Foundation 113.Thurunu Mihisaraniya – Green Brigade 114.Green Movement of Sri Lanka 115.Rural Centre for Development - SANGRAMA 116.Public Service United Nurse’s Association 117.Postal & Telecommunication Officers’ Association 118.Free Trade on Workers Union 284
    • 119.Union of Health Services of Republic of Sri Lanka 120.Lawyers Association for Human Rights and Development 121.United Trade Union Federation of the Irrigation Department for the Protection of Irrigation Resources & Farmers 122.Bank of Ceylon Workers Union 123.Movement for National Land & Agriculture Reform 285
    • Annex 30 Copper plate inscription of ca. 900 CE of Paranta Chola refers to ‘setu’ There is remarkable epigraphical and numismatic evidence authenticating the tradition of referring to Rameswaram as Setubandha Rameswaram, that is, as the place from where the Setu was built to link Bharatam and Srilanka in the days of Sri Rama. The earliest epigraphic reference to Murukan in Tamilnadu is found in the Tiruttani (Velanjeri) plates of Pallava Aparajitavarman (c. 900 Common Era). Subrahmanya who was probably the original mūlavar in the Tiruttani temple at the time of Aparājitavarman, but now kept in the prākāra of the main shrine (c. 9th cent. AD). This is 'early Chōla' according to L’Hernault F. (Nagaswamy R. 1979. Thiruttani and Velanjeri Copper Plates. State Dept. Of Archaeology, Tamilnadu. Madras. See: L’Hernault F. 1978. L’Iconographie de Subrahmanya au Tamilnad, Institut Francais d’ Indologie. Pondichery, p.111, ph. 63.) The copper plates indicate that Aparajitavarman went to Setutirtha. Translation of Section 14 of Velanjeri copper plate of Paraantaka Chola I issued in the 25th year (that is, about 930 Common Era) is as follows: “This ruler (Paraantaka) performed tulaabhaara with gold acquired by his valour, at the beautiful Sriraamatirtha, where the ablest of monkey flocks built the bridge; at the Kanyaatirtha which subdued the southern quarters, and at Srirangam beautiful by the areca groves, where Sri Vishnu reclines on his serpent couch.” Sanskrit text in grantha script of this section reads as follows: “ramie sriramatirthe kavivara nikaraih baddhasetu prabandhe kanyaatirthe jitaanaamadaritamapi dis’e mandane dakshinasyaah srirange caahis’alyaas’ayitamurabhidi s’yaamapoogaabhiraame hemnaaviryaancitena kshitipatikarot yastulaabhaarakarma” 286
    • Udayendiram plates of Cola king Parantaka I (AD 907-955) refer to his adoption of the title Samgramaraghava like Rama. 287
    • Annex 31 Geo-physical, geo-tectonic and geo- thermal overview of the Project area, implications for safety and integrity of the coastline to be reviewed afresh by multi-disciplinary team of experts Setusamudram Channel Project Overview 288
    • 289
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    • 291
    • It is clear from these views of GSI that sandstone layers do exist below the top zone of the Rama Setu area. There is no reason to conclude that these sandstones have been deposited by shallow wave currents. On the contrary, the views of Department of Earth Sciences indicate that because coral rocks are also found (which canot be indigenous to the Setu area), these stones have been brought from outside the bridge area, indicative of human activity. The reasons for the choice of Alignment 6 in preference to Alignment 4 which was considered the best choice are not valid. Alignment 6 in fact increases the distance by 39 nautical miles. While Alignment 6 is 20 kms. removed from the nearest 292
    • national marine park (Shingle island), Alignment 4 is 5 kms. away from the same park. Alignment 4 thus meets the requirement of being removed at an adequate distance from the nearest marine park. The disastrous aspects of Setusamudram Channel Project (SSCP) relate to the fact that tsunami effects were not taken into account and that no tsunami protection measures have been incorporated in the project. Another serious lapse in project design of SSCP is that Geological Survey of India (GSI) has NOT been consulted. GSI has a marine wing and is fully equipped to render technical and scientific guidance. It is shocking that such an agency was not involved to review the geo-tectonic and geo-thermal situation in the project area. This lapse alone should render the Govt. of India to stop further work on the project until the many concerns raised by earth scientists are properly considered and evaluated. 293
    • http://www.greensl.net/docs/Tectonic_Map.pdf Rama Setu region is as intense a geo-thermal region as the Himalayas with the thermal energy emanating from the inner core of the earth. The possible impact on the geo-thermal structures by the dredging activity should be carefully evaluated before embarking on the project. Geological Survey of India - one of the oldest surveys in the World is a premier organisation of Earth Science Studies in the sub-continent with a strength of 2100 geoscientists and technical professionals and is mandated as the nodal agency to clear development projects like SSCP. Geological Survey of India (GSI) The Department of Mines has jurisdiction over Geological Survey of India and Indian Bureau of Mines, both of which are subordinate offices…The GSI is the principal agency responsible for the assessment of geological and regional mineral resources of India. GSI was established in 1851 and is one of India’s oldest investigative agencies in the field of earth sciences. Its areas of operation encompass scientific surveys and research, for locating mineral resources. GSI operates through six regional offices and four specialized wings - marine, coal geophysics, airborne surveys and training. The GSI has to its credit geological mapping, covering an area of approximately 3.146 million sq.km, or 94 percent of the area of India. The maps are on a 1:63,360/ 1:50,000 scale, the data having been synthesized to produce 1:2000,000 scale geological maps of India, which have been correlated with the global set up as per international standards. The GSI is also actively involved in the research and development of mapping and exploration techniques. It has set up a chain of modern petrological paleontological, chemical, mineralogical, geochronological, geotechnical and geophysical laboratories in its different operational bases, and offers its facilities and services on payment. Geological maps and data are available with GSI on a commercial basis. http://www.indiacore.com/mining2.html Providing critical geoscientific inputs to developmental projects 5.20 The fields of activity under Engineering Geology has undergone sea changes in recent years with renewed emphasis on hydro power and river linking projects. Additional geotechnical 294
    • inputs are required for underground storage facilities for gas and crude oils.5.21 Geological Survey of India has been associated with almost all the major irrigation/water resource development, transport, power and miscellaneous civil engineering projects and is responsible for providing geotechnical input to various geological problems in preliminary, pre-construction, construction and post- construction stages of the projects. GSI works in close collaboration with the major executing bodies, like Central Water Commission, State Irrigation Department, State Electricity Board, Public Works Department, Defence Organisations, Public Health Engineering Departments, etc.The endorsement of the Survey has become a prerequisite for ultimate sanction of any project, particularly a multipurpose project. The advice rendered by GSI not only helped in successful completion of various projects, but also aided in saving of cost and time by avoiding unnecessary post- construction remedial measures. Source: Annual Report, 2006-2007, Ministry of Mines, Chapter 5. Geological Survey of India and Indian Bureau of Mines. http://mines.nic.in/anrep06-07/english/chapter5.pdf NT Bureau (News Today) Chennai, June 13: Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy …On Ram Sethu issue, he said the present canal alignment chosen by the UPA government in the Sethu Samudram Project which necessitated the destruction of Ram Sethu was not cleared by the Indian Navy. Hence, he demanded the Defence Ministry to review the present alignment. http://newstodaynet.com/13jun/ld6.htm 295
    • Annexure Pages Annex 1 Minister of Science and 1 Technology’s offer of samples for independent tests Annex 2. Submissions made since 2005 3 Annex 3. Impact of Tsunami on Setusamudram Shipping Channel and the 9 neighboring coastal areas Annex 4 Sethusamudram - Can it remain 13 safe and stable in its present form? 21 Annex 5 Will ships use canal at such costs? 23 Annex 6 Rama Setu through the ages: evidences from satellite images, cartography, epigraphy, sculptures, numismatics, historical and literary texts, logo of Survey of India (Aasetu Himachalam) Rama Setu is the southern boundary of Bharatam and hence a monument of national importance Annex 7 Scientific evidence for ancient 99 human activity in the project area Annex 8 Geological and Geophysical 101 Perspective of the Ramsetu Bridge 113 Annex 9 A Catalog of Tsunamis in the Indian Ocean Annex 10 Implications of damaging 124 Rama Setu under international Law of the Sea 142 Annex 11 In the High Court of Judicature at Madras WP 33528 of 2004 151 Annex 12 Flip side Annex 13 Assessing the Stability of the 154 Sethusamundram Shipping Canal Annex 14 Ancient monuments and 161 archaeological sites and remains act 1958 296
    • Annex 15 Project disaster 178 Annex 16 Ramayana in Sangam 189 literature Annexure 17 Ecological concerns related 191 to Sethusamudram Channel Project Annex 18 Excerpts from, Dr. S.M. Kamal, 1992, Sethupati mannar cheppe_d.ugal, 196 Ramanathapuram, Sharmila padippagam Annex 19 Significance and sacredness of 208 Rama Setu as described in Sri Skanda Purana Annex 20 US heritage body wants Ram 218 Setu preserved Annex 21 Sethusamudram Canal Project 220 and nation’s security 222 Annex 22 Ramanathapuram Information Gazetteer about Rama Setu and archaeological/cultural significance of the region Annex 23 Rama Setu in literature and 233 ancient texts (Hindi) Annex 24 Sethusamudram Shipping 244 Channel: it doesn’t make nautical sense Annex 25 Setu Channel passage: 34 Lankan experts call it eco disaster; 258 possibility of the issue being taken to Intl. Court of Justice Annex 26 Supreme Court of India Record 262 of Proceedings 28 May 2007 Annex 27 Madras Presidency Manual 1903 refers to Rama’s Bridge as Rama 263 Setu – same renamed as Adam’s Bridge Annex 28 Prime Minister’s Office 267 questions of March 2005 and Tuticorin Port Trust observations of June 2005 on Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project (SSCP) Annex 29 Rama Setu: geological and 277 297
    • anthropological info. of about 2 million years ago Annex 30 Copper plate inscription of ca. 286 900 CE of Paranta Chola refers to ‘setu’ Annex 31 Geo-physical, geo-tectonic and 288 geo-thermal overview of the Project area, implications for safety and integrity of the coastline to be reviewed afresh by multi-disciplinary team of experts 298