New Delhi, Dec 1: The government is exploring the possibility of an alternate route for the Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project, Parliament was informed today.
"The government is keen to explore the possibility of alternate route for Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project through Pamban Pass by avoiding the Ram Sethu area and RITES has been entrusted with the work of undertaking prefeasibility study on that area," Minister of State for Shipping Pon Radhakrishnan informed the Rajya Sabha in a written reply.
RITES (earlier known as Rail India Technical and Economic Service) has submitted the report, which stated that the major constraint in the Pamban channel is the narrow and shallow channel between the two Coral Reef Islands of Pullivasal and Krusadai. The replacement and increase of the railway bridge span will require stoppage of rail movement for a period of 24 months, the minister said quoting the report.
The cost estimates are only rough estimates and firm estimates would be available after the detailed techno-economical feasibility studies, RITES said. The alternate route for Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project through Pamban Pass as suggested by the RITES is subject to environment clearance and concurrence of Tamil Nadu government, as SSCP falls under the jurisdiction that state government, he added.
The SSCP project envisages dredging a ship channel across Palk Straits, providing a shorter navigational route for ships from east and west coasts of the country instead of circumventing Sri Lanka, has hit a block after protests over the proposed demolition of Ram Sethu (mythical bridge built by Lord Rama to reach Lanka).