New Delhi: Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari today asserted that Ram Sethu structure will not be demolished for the construction of Sethusamudram shipping canal project.
“There is no question of demolition of the Ram Sethu,” he said in a press conference to mark the NDA-led government's 100 days in office.
The central government has given RITES, a state-owned consultancy organisation in transport, infrastructure sectors, the task of preparing alternatives available to save the structure, which holds religious significance for Hindus. According to Hindu legends, the structure was built by Lord Rama and his army of apes and monkeys to reach Lanka.
“We had given the work to RITES (Rail India Technical and Economic Service) for providing us with the alternatives, we have received their suggestions and will take this matter to the Cabinet for its consideration in a month's time,” Gadkari said.
Last month, the minister had said in Parliament that his ministry would make efforts to see that the navigation system is put in place without damaging the structure.
The proposal to build the Sethusamudram shipping canal project for dredging was for navigation of large ships and creating fishing and shipping harbours in the coastal areas.
At present, India-bound ships from the eastern coast have to circle around the entire island of Sri Lanka to reach Tuticorin, Chennai, Vizag, Paradip and other ports.
Meanwhile, the central government is also planning a ‘Jalmarg Yojna' in the near future for better development of National Waterways, the minister said.
He added while the cost per kilometre on travelling in a water way is 50 paise, it is Re 1 by train and Rs 1.50 by road.