TAMIL NADU

The Sethu project

Sir, _ The Sethu Samudram Project is in the spotlight, with the announcement that the National Environment and Engineering Research institute is conducting an environment impact assessment and economic viability study under the Tuticorin Port Trust.

The Union Cabinet's decision to implement the project within a year (Oct. 17) is laudable.

Eminent personalities such as Sir A. Ramaswamy Mudaliar and T.T. Krishnamachari were in favour of the project and 20 high-level committees have made massive studies escalating the cost to Rs. 2,000 crores against the Rs. 50 lakhs estimated by A.D. Taylor in 1860.

Besides creating an alternative waterway to all Indian ports, it will ease the saturated road/rail traffic, facilitate ships to sail between the East and West coasts, saving the detour around Sri Lanka, save fuel, 36 hours shipping timing, and foreign exchange and reduce the distance by 402 nautical miles. It will also provide employment to thousands.

Called the sub-continent's Panama and Suez, the project rekindles the hopes and aspirations of the people's decade-old dreams.

The time is ripe now for politicians to sink their differences and work for this project without delay.

S. Gopalan,

Chennai

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