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Tamil Nadu Assembly adopts resolution to revive Sethusamudram project

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Tamil Nadu Assembly on Thursday unanimously adopted a resolution nudging the Union Government to revive the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal project that envisages connecting the Gulf of Mannar and Palk Strait to create a continuous navigable channel around the India peninsula without having to circumnavigate Sri Lanka.  

The project, which was originally conceived in the 19th century by the then British regime, got wrangled in a controversy following apprehensions that it would damage Ram Setu, a bridge that connects India with Sri Lanka as per Ramayana. A case in connection with the project is currently pending before the Supreme Court.

The then Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi had also added fuel to the fire by asking whether Lord Ram was an “engineer” to have built a bridge between the two countries.

Moving a government resolution in the Assembly, Chief Minister M K Stalin referred to a recent statement by Union Minister of State for Space Jitendra Singh that it was difficult to actually pinpoint the exact structure that existed (in the Rameswaram coast) to push for the multi-crore project’s revival. All parties, including AIADMK and BJP, supported the resolution, which was passed unanimously by the House.

Work on the project, permission for which was granted by the then A B Vajpayee government in 1998, commenced on July 2, 2005 after the then Manmohan Singh government allotted Rs 2,427 crore. However, the project, which was put on hold in 2007, never saw the light of the day due to opposition from various quarters, including from the BJP.

Terming the project as “essential to strengthen the economic development of Tamil Nadu and India”, Stalin accused the BJP of being a “stumbling block” in implementing the project by raising objections and also recalled that late chief minister J Jayalalithaa changed her stance on the project and moved the Supreme Court against the scheme.

“If political stumbling blocks weren’t raised, the project would have been implemented a decade ago, leading to development,” Stalin told the Assembly, and reminded the BJP of its promise that the project will be implemented with a different alignment.

But Jitendra Singh has told Parliament that it is difficult to actually pinpoint the exact structure that existed there, Stalin said, adding that the Union Government should come forward to implement the project, given its current stand.

“This House expresses concern that the continued delay in execution of this Project will be a stumbling block for the development and growth of Tamil Nadu. This august House is of the considered view that the attempts to further delay the implementation of this Project by certain forces is against the interest of our nation’s growth,” the resolution said.

The project aims at creating a shipping canal by linking the Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar between India and Sri Lanka. This will not just help reduce the navigation time between the east and west coasts of India, but also prevent ships from circumnavigating Sri Lanka.

“This project will help fishermen travel from Gulf of Mannar to Palk Straits and prevent transhipments of Indian goods at ports in Sri Lanka and other countries. Besides, the project will also strengthen India’s security, and provide jobs to 50,000 people,” Stalin said.

BJP floor leader Nainar Nagendran supported the resolution and said the project should be implemented in a way that does not affect Ram Setu in any manner. AIADMK member Pollachi V Jayaraman objected to references that Lord Ram was an imaginary character and there was no proof to show his existence.

(deccanherald.com)

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278 prison inmates to be pardoned

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Parliament suspended due to lack of quorum

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Parliament sessions were abruptly suspended until June 04 due to a lack of quorum. 

There were less than 20 member present during the time of suspension. 

MP Jagath Samarawickrama was at the Chair.

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Notice for students sitting for Grade 5 scholarships

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The Department of Examinations has announced that the 2024 Grade Five Scholarship Examination will be held on September 15 this year.

It adds that applications for the examination will be accepted online from May 27 – June 14, 2024 and acceptance of applications will not be extended beyond the announced period.

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