Ram Sethu drama due to BJP's machinations: Shaktisinh Gohil

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Ahmedabad, Sep 19 (UNI) The BJP and Chief Minister Narendra Modi were using the feigned uproar over the Ram Sethu issue to fool the people, Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee (GPCC) spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil said today.

Addressing mediapersons here, Mr Gohil said when Mr Vajpayee was the prime minister the Sethusamudram Project was approved on December 20, 2001. A technical panel was formed to advise the government under the direction of then shipping minister Mr Goyal. Several meetings were held under his supervision.

In that panel, Prof R V Rama Rao had represented National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) and National Ship Design and Research Centre (NSDRC). After these meetings the NDA regime approved the recommendations of the panel, and even okayed the alignment recommendations. For the pre-feasibility report, the NDA government had sanctioned Rs 1 crore, he said, adding Mr Vajpayee took it as a national project.

The shipping minister had made file notings that strongly recommended the Sethusamudram Project. One of the notings read that the project was an urgent need as it would save the distance and time for the ships, saving the distance by 400 nautical miles and 24 hours time.

Now, the Congress had taken up the NDA plan ''without changing even an inch,'' Mr Gohil remarked.

It was UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi who cancelled the offensive affidavit and mooted action against the concerned officials of the Archaelogical Survey of India (ASI) once it became clear.

He alleged that the offensive affidavit was the handiwork of the BJP and if narco tests were carried out on the ASI officials, the names of BJP leaders will come out.

UNI

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