The Ministry of Shipping has nominated the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), the Goa-based constituent laboratory of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), to carry out the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for a new alignment of the Sethusamudram Channel between the southern tip of India and the northern tip of Sri Lanka.

The Expert Committee — chaired by Dr. R.K. Pachauri — established by the Supreme Court to advise on the alignment recommended NIO for this task. The NIO has tied up with two other institutions to carry out the EIA. The National Environmental Engineering Institute, Nagpur, another CSIR laboratory, will conduct the EIA over land through which the proposed channel passes. The Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore will carry out cost-benefit analysis.

The project, costing Rs.9.45 crore (over $2 million) and scheduled to be completed in 18 months, is being led by Dr. Sanil Kumar of NIO, Goa. The Regional Centre of NIO at Kochi will be associated with the project.

The project involves extensive year-round environmental data collection in the Gulf of Mannar, Palk Bay, Adam’s Bridge and surrounding areas. It is expected that the project will lead to significant improvement in understanding the oceanography of this little-studied region, besides determining feasibility of the Sethusamudram Canal from the point of view of environment and economics, said sources in the NIO here.

Involves extensive year-round environmental data collection in Gulf of Mannar, Palk Bay

To determine feasibility of Sethusamudram canal from viewpoint of environment, economics