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Government close to solution for Sethusamudram issue: Nitin Gadkari

PTI 22 Nov 2014, 10:46:34 AM IST

New Delhi: Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari has hinted that government has almost firmed up a solution to implement the Sethusamudram shipping canal project without demolishing 'Ram Sethu'.

While addressing a gathering at the World Hindu Congress here on Friday, Gadkari said, "We have 4-5 alternatives available and we have made up our mind on what will be the solution. The matter is with the SC, therefore it won't be appropriate to speak much on the subject."

The Minister said there was no question of demolishing the Ram Sethu -- a mythical bridge built by Lord Rama to reach Lanka.

"There is no question of demolishing Ram Sethu while implementing Sethusamudram shipping canal project," he said.

The options have been studied keeping in mind the cost of the project, as suggested in a report submitted by RITES (earlier known as Rail India Technical and Economic Service), after government asked it to survey alternate alignment and possibilities for constructing the canal project.

The project, which envisages dredging a ship channel across Palk Strait and providing a shorter navigational route for ships from east and west coasts of the country instead of circumventing Sri Lanka, hit a roadblock after protests over the proposed demolition of Ram Sethu.

The Tamil Nadu government has opposed the project on the ground that it would affect the livelihood of fishermen.

The coastal movement due to this proposed project is likely to improve and there would be development in maritime trade.