CCPA to take a final decision on Setusamudram affidavit

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New Delhi, Feb 28 : The Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs (CCPA) is likely to meet today to take a final decision on an affidavit that the Government will file before the Supreme Court on the Setusamudram issue.

"The Government is taking the views of everybody. Whatever will be filed, will be the collective view of the Government," Union Tourism and Culture Minister Ambika Soni told reporters here on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, CCPA discussed a draft affidavit of the Sethusamudram project, which aims to address the concerns of the Dravida Munnettra Kazhagam (DMK) without hurting the Hindu sentiments.

According to sources, the new affidavit will have "secular" content.

The Ministry of Shipping wants to go ahead with the project, but Soni said the Government would undertake a detailed archaeological survey as per international norms before going ahead.

The Bharatiya Janata Party and other 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.

Opposing the 560 million dollar 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.

The Central Governmentis of the view that the sand shoals were created through 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.

ANI

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