Karunanidhi questions why the State government is trying to stall it

Spearheading a State-wide campaign in support of the Sethusamudram Project, DMK president M. Karunanidhi on Monday assailed the AIADMK government for seeking to stall the project by taking a stand against it in the Supreme Court.

Recalling that DMK founder C N Annadurai had envisioned the Sethusamudram canal project, Mr. Karunanidhi said: “The party that runs in Anna’s name has gone up to the Supreme Court against it.” He was leading a protest demonstration here as part of the DMK’s State-wide agitation in major cities and towns demanding that the sea canal project be implemented.

Mr. Karunanidhi noted that the demand for bringing to fruition the Sethusamudaram project was raised not just the DMK’s election manifesto, but also by the AIADMK. “It was endorsed by (AIADMK founder) MGR. By opposing the Sethusamudaram project, the AIADMK leader has rejected MGR,” Mr. Karunanidhi said. Hitting out at the government, he wondered how a State government could work overtime to stall a project that would bring economic prosperity to the State.

“When a development activity is initiated in a small panchayat, the panchayat leaders come together to make it a success. But here we have a State government that steps up its opposition,” he said, alluding to the State government’s stand in the Supreme Court. The DMK leader vowed in the name of Tamil poet Maraimalai Adigal, who was born in Nagapattinam, to get the project executed in his lifetime. The demand for a sea canal was not self-seeking, but one from which future generations will benefit, especially due to the wealth and opportunities created by it. The project would trigger maritime trade, Mr. Karunanidhi said.

VCK leader Thol. Thirumavalavan said those claiming to act in the name of Rama were the people, who had brought dishonour to his name. Referring to the claim that the Adam’s Bridge or Ram Sethu should not be destroyed as it was associated with Lord Ram and religious faith, he said: “There was no greater terrorism than demolishing the Babri Masjid, leading to communal violence and bloodshed – all in the name of Rama. Now, it is those forces that are opposing the project.”

At the same time, the VCK leader requested Mr. Karunanidhi to prevail upon the Centre to hold a debate to allay the fears of coastal communities and environmentalists.

While he supported the project, the concerns of coastal communities should also be addressed, he said.

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