Chennai: More than a decade after the dredging work on an ambitious Sethu Samudram Canal Project (SSCP) — seeking a sea route connectivity between Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka — was suspended amid concerns over threats to the Ram Setu, the State Legislative Assembly on Thursday unanimously adopted a resolution urging the Union Government to implement the project without further delay.
The resolution, which said the State would cooperate in the implementation of the project, was backed by all political parties including the AIADMK and the BJP.
Work on the project, a long-pending demand of Tamil Nadu, had commenced during the erstwhile Congress-led UPA regime at the Centre when the DMK’s TR Baalu was the Union Minister for Shipping. However, it ran into trouble soon after and even the AIADMK’s then leader J Jayalalithaa had called for its suspension.
However, now the AIADMK and the BJP backed the project but said the Government must study the pros and cons of its implementation as it was a shallow area and required constant dredging.
“The Sethu Samudram Canal Project is needed to strengthen the economic development of Tamil Nadu and India. This august House is of the considered view that the attempt to further delay the project by certain forces is against the interest of our national growth,” Chief Minister MK Stalin said moving the resolution.
“I deem it as a historical responsibility to move the resolution which seeks to implement the 150-year-old dream project. It is a dream project of Arignar Anna (CN Annadurai). It is the project which our late leader Kalaignar (M Karunanidhi) struggled hard to implement,” he said.
During the proceedings, a controversy erupted when a CPI(M) member sought to convey that Lord Ram – credited with building the Ram Setu (Adam’s Bridge), was a “fictional character” by citing certain comments made by Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Rajaji.
Objecting to this, AIADMK senior functionary Pollachi V Jayaraman, rose to say the comments of the Left party member was an “affront to 100 crore Hindus in the world. Ram was an Avatar Purush,” he felt.
BJP floor leader Nainar Nagendran said the remarks should be expunged because Ram was worshipped as God.
However, the Chief Minister said no one had criticised God or people’s faith but had only pointed out that faith was used to prevent the implementation of the SSCP.