Chief Minister Jayalalithaa has urged the Centre to declare the Ram Setu, through which the proposed alignment of the Sethusamudram channel is planned, a national monument, without further delay.

In a communication to Prime Minister Manmohn Singh, she stated that based on strong opposition to the earlier alignment 6 cutting across the structure, popularly known as Ram Setu owing to its “immeasurable historical, archaeological and heritage value,” a number of writ petitions had been filed in the Madras High Court and the Supreme Court.

She had also filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court in 2007 praying for a direction to the Tuticorin Port Trust and the Union of India, Ministry of Culture, to declare Adam's Bridge\Ram Setu as a national monument and take over, preserve and maintain it.

Besides, it was appealed to the court to prevent the Union of India, Ministry of Shipping\Surface Transport and Sethusamudram Corporation Ltd from destroying\damaging the Ram Setu in the process of the execution of the project.

In the meantime, an expert committee under R.K. Pachauri was appointed by the Union government in 2008 based on the directions from the Supreme Court. A summary of the panel's report had been forwarded to the State government for its remarks.

“I have had the report of the expert committee examined by the departments concerned of my government and a letter is being sent separately to the Ministry of Shipping communicating the views of the State government.”

Ms. Jayalalithaa said that the case came up for hearing before the Supreme Court on Tuesday (March 27) and the judges directed the Additional Solicitor General to obtain the remarks of the Centre before March 29 on declaring the site as a national monument.

“In view of the strong objection raised to the earlier alignment… I request you to take necessary action to communicate the view of the Government of India to the Supreme Court that it will take immediate steps for declaring the site as a national monument without further delay. The State government will separately be filing a counter to express its stand.”

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