India is a democratic country with huge and beautiful histories and stories like Ramayan, Mahabharata etc. Some say these are fictional and others try to prove its reality by showing the evidence. But what happens when mythological beliefs collide with the 21st century development or globalisation. It creates tension among the general public as well as the political sector. One of the event which shows SCIENCE Vs FAITH is Sethusamudram Project.
In an affidavit filed with Supreme Court, the UPA government stated that Ramayana and its characters are subjects of mythology and have no basis in reality. In legal documents, the government denied the existence of Lord Rama and considered him as mythical hero.
The critics of Sethusamudram Shipping Canal will destroy the centuries old Rama Sethu, the bridge Rama constructed by his devoted followers, connecting Rameshvaram and Sri Lanka.
The Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project is the single largest project ever undertaken in the Indian port sector. The project was launched by Prime Minister in June 2005, ever since it was first announced in 1995, the project has been in controversy.
The project intends to link the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait by creating a shipping canal cutting through Rameshwaram Island. This would create a continuous navigable route between the east and west coast of India. Presently ships have to circumnavigate around the island of Sri Lanka to reach either coast.
The existing water channel is shallow and not enough in terms of depth and width to allow the smooth passage of ships. The main reason for this is the Ram Sethu or Adam’s Bridge. The proposed Sethusamudram channel will cut across area.
The project is estimated to cost rupees 2,427 crore. To raise funds and implement the project through Tuticorin Port Trust, the Central Government has floated a Special Purpose Vehicle, Sethusamudram Corporation Limited.
Some benefits of this project are:
The project will, for the first time, provide a continuous route within Indian waters.
Once the project is complete, it would reduce the distance between two coasts, therefore reducing the time taken across the entire stretch by little over 30 hours.
This would also lead to considerable savings in fuel cost.
The project would boost maritime trade, which in turn would increase the revenue of the numerous ports – major medium, and minor – that coastline.
Defence analysts say that the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project would provide a vital base for India to become the Indian Ocean’s predominant naval power. They believe that the project would help India strengthen its naval presence in the Indian Ocean rim. Also it will help India to safeguard the merchant shipping lines in an area that is close to one of the most dangerous merchant shipping channels, notorious for its pirates.