The Supreme Court on Monday granted six weeks more to the government to apprise it of its stand on the controversial Sethusamudram project about which a high level committee has said that an alternative alignment, other than the one through mythological Ram Sethu, is not economically and ecologically feasible.
A bench of justices H.L. Dattu and C.K. Prasad gave more time to the government to disclose its stand on the project on Solicitor General Rohinton Nariman plea for it.
Nariman said the Union Cabinet is yet to consider and take a decision on the report and sought eight weeks more for the government, but the bench granted it six weeks.
The apex court on July 2 had granted two months to the government to come out with its stand after analysing the committee’s 37-page report.
The case relating to Ram Sethu had come under judicial scrutiny due to a batch of petitions filed in the apex court against the ambitious Sethusamudram project, whose execution allegedly could damage the mythological bridge.
Sethusamudram project is aimed at constructing a shorter navigational route around India’s southern tip by breaching the Ram Sethu, said to have been built by Lord Rama’s army of monkeys and bears to Ravana’s kingdom Lanka.
As per the Sethusamudram project, the shipping channel is proposed to be 30 metres wide, 12 metres deep and 167 kms long.
The Prime Minister had appointed the committee after the apex court had asked the government to explore an alternate alignment for the shipping channel to prevent damage to the mythological bridge.
The committee, in its report, had raised questions on the alternative alignment after taking into account various aspects including it’s economic and ecological assessment.
Appointed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the panel, headed by eminent environmentalist R K Pachauri, had analysed various aspects and said the alternate route aimed to protect Ram Sethu, also called Adams Bridge, was not an acceptable option and not in public interest.