Political dredging

 
Published: Sunday 31 July 2005

Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa has flayed the Union ministry of shipping, road transport and highways for showing undue haste and irresponsibility in launching the Sethusamudram Canal Project (scp). In a statement issued on June 25, 2005, she said while the project is definitely important, tremendous caution has to be exercised in implementing it, as it involves addressing several environmental and livelihood issues. But due to the haste of Union minister of shipping, road transport and highways, T R Baalu, the environmental clearance process has been "abused", she alleged.

Jayalalithaa said an expert committee appointed by Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board had recently submitted its report, which says several studies must be undertaken before going ahead with the project. scp aims to provide a shorter route for ships going to and leaving India's southern parts. Sri Lanka has also been opposing it, citing environmental concerns (see Down To Earth, 'Strait hit', June 30, 2005).

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