New Delhi, Jan 28 : The Supreme Court has asked former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa to approach competent authorities for declaring the Ram Sethu 'a monument of national heritage'.
Jayalalithaa, in her petition, had sought the court's direction to authorities to take alternative routes for completing the project without demolishing the Ram Sethu.
A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices Tarun Chatterjee and R V Raveendran said it was not the job of this court to decide about the status of a monument.
Hindu groups have called on the government to stop the Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project, saying it will demolish the mythical bridge linking India and Sri Lanka, believed to have been built by King Ram of Ayodhya.
Opposing the 560 million dollars project, the Hindu groups claim it would destroy the 48- kilometre chain of limestone shoals that once linked Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu to Mannar in Sri Lanka.
The Sethusamudram Project will dredge a channel along a narrow strip of sea between India and Sri Lanka, reducing distances and cutting costs for freight traffic.
According to the Central Government, the sand shoals were created by sedimentation.
Dredging for the project began in 2005 and the channel -- 12 metres deep, 300 metres wide and almost 90 km long -- will provide a crucial link between the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar.