Is this secularism? sign now

The Government of India and Mr. Karunanidhi and everyone supporting Sethusamudram project in its current alignment,

I would like to question your so called secularism, which all of you boast while slandering others who stand for their beliefs. And this so called secularism is never thought of when the matter belongs to Hindus and their beliefs. How can a government, which calls itself secular, question the existence of 'Rama' worshipped as God by every Hindu, while all that was required of them was to prove if the 'Adam bridge' or 'Ram sethu' as it is called by Hindus, was a man made structure or natural formation. How could even the scientists conclude that it is a natural formation without performing geological studies and research.

It is well known fact that marine geologists found remains of a city in Arabian sea off the coast near Dwaraka, which is nearly 2 mln years old. And this, when only normal research was done. Why couldn't the ASI conduct the same in the proposed site and then conclude if it a man made site or natural formation. And even if it is a natural formation, is it necessary to destroy a formation which nature has created over millions of years(1.25 as said by scientists) when better and profitable alternate alignments have been recommended by not one but every committee that has been setup since the day the project was first conceived in 1860. None of these committees as I would in detail later, has recommended the current alignment, rather all of them were land based and were less dangerous than the current alignment.

And when it comes to Mr.Karunanidhi, I don't think he is worth giving any respect at all. Immaterial of whether he being a politician or not being a CM of a state he had the audacity to call 'Rama' a drunkard and question where from which institute or university did 'Rama' study engineering. I have a similar question to you Mr.Karunanidhi, where did you learn about marine engineering and archeology that you support this project so vehemently. Where did you study political science that you consider yourselves capable of running a state. In which university did our ancestors learn farming. Where did they learn to create fire, to harness animals, to mine metals and craft them. You never seem to question these things?. And what about the language we speak. Where do you think our ancestors study a course in language?. While it is your own interest whether you believe in God or not, you have no damn business of hurting the sentiments of multitudes of Hindus, no matter who you are. I dare you to say something about any other religion. I am sure you don't have that much courage in you, for it would be difficult for you to protect yourselves. Call it a boon or bane, our culture and religion have taught us to accommodate every view whether they are for or against our belief.

And now coming to the so called rationalists who say religion should not hinder development. Yes they are perfectly right. Religion should never stand against development of a nation. But I appeal to you to go through the facts that I am providing with and then after thinking RATIONALLY decide on what ground they stand.

These are the facts:

Economic Issues:

1.Many naval hydrographers and experts suggest that the project is unlikely to be financially viable or serve ships in any significant way.

2.Mr.Balakrishnan who is associated with Indian Navy for 32 years claims that this canal does not make nautical sense. Depth envisaged for this canal is designed for ships with weight of 30000 tonnes and less. However current trend in shipping industry is to build ships with weight more than 60000 tonnes and tankers with weight above 150000 tonnes. Most of the new generation ships cannot make use of this canal. According to Mr.Balakrishnan new channel is expected to bring down nautical mile from 1298 nm to 1098nm for Kolkata to Tuticorn which is much lesser than government expectations.

3.The cost of debt financing has currently been factored in with an Indian rupee loan at 8 per cent and a US dollar loan at 4 per cent. While this might have been true at the time of writing the DPR, interest rates are today significantly higher than what was factored in the DPR. The prime lending rate for the US dollar is around 8 per cent, while the comparable benchmark in India is around 13 per cent. The cost of credit has been significantly underestimated and if current figures are used, the project is likely to constantly drain the Indian economy.

4.The saving as calculated by the DPR for a 20,000 DWT ship will give a canal tariff of around $ 8,981. On average, non-coastal ships, that constitute 70 per cent of the projected users, will lose $ 4,992.1 if they use the canal at the current tariff structure.

5. The study conducted for maintainance dredging was conducted on Indian side of coast only, the Sri lankan side of coast was completly ignored. This could increase the maintainance cost considerably.

For complete report visit

6.According to the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) website and records, the estimated reserves of thorium in India are 3,60,000 tonnes and represent the energy equivalent of generation of electricity at the rate of 400,000 MW for 387 years and use in thorium-based breeder reactors. Recent report from BARC also indicates that the nation's nuclear scientists are ready with a thorium-based reactor to generate electricity which can be made operational in the next 7 years, according to the statement of Dr. Baldev Raj of Atomic Energy Commission. And nearly 32\% of worlds known Thorium reserves are situated in just three villages south of Rama sethu(Aluva, Chavara in Kerala and Manavalakurichi in TN) The accumulation of thorium placer deposits is emphatically due to the existence of Rama Setu acting as a cyclotron against the clock-wise and counter-clock-wise ocean currents depositing Th-232 on the coastline lands.

7.Thorium is also found in ilmenite sands. These placer sands also contain the heaviest concentration of upto 4\% of thorium unprecendented in any heavy minerals areas anywhere in the world.

These are but only a few of the factors.

Environmental & other Issues:

1.The dredging of the Palk Strait and the Gulf of Mannar, by modifying habitats, could affect the ecology of the zone by changing currents. This could
a. Cause changes in temperature, salinity, turbidity and flow of nutrients

b. Cause oilspills from ship and other marine pollution to reach the coastal areas and specifically the sensitive ecosystems of the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park.

c. Lead to higher tides and to more energetic waves, and hence to coastal erosion.

d. Affect the local sea temperature and thereby alter the pattern of sea-breezes and hence affect rainfall patterns.

e. Dredging the canal would stir up sediment the dust and toxins that lie beneath the sea bed, smothering corals and affecting marine life.

f. The emptying of bilge water from ships travelling through the hitherto impassable areas could diperse invasive species through the ecosystems of the area.

g. These effects could endanger precious marine species and biodiversity. The Gulf of Mannar has 3,600 species of plants and animals and is India's biologically richest coastal region. Mammal species which abound in the area are sperm whales, dolphins and dugongs. The Gulf of Mannar is especially known for its corals: the portion in Indian territorial waters has 117 species of corals, belonging to 37 genera. Associated with these ecosystems are many varieties of fish and crustaceans. Marine life on the Sri Lankan side, which is better protected, is even richer. The Bar Reef off the Kalpitiya peninsular alone has 156 species of coral and 283 of fish; there are two other coral reef systems around Mannar and Jaffna. There are extensive banks of oysters, as well as Indian Chank and Sea Cucumbers, especially in the seas adjacent to Mannar. The pearl fisheries south of Mannar, which inspired Georges Bizet's opera Les Pкcheurs de Perles, have not been productive for many years, indicating the fragility of these ecosystems in the face of overfishing and of relatively minor changes in the habitat. Despite these concerns, official environmental clearance has been given for the project.

2. The Environmental Impact Assessment carried out by the Indian government was done by a body inexperienced in projects of this nature, was insufficiently detailed and did not consult with all the stakeholders, which included the government and people on the southern side of the proposed project.

3. No proper survey has been carried out of the sea bed to be dredged

4. No proper scientific modelling of the effects of the project has been carried out.

5.Tsunami protection walls as part of any canal project should be provided: example, tsunami wall in Japan. The project does NOT include such protection measures. In fact, NEERI report did not even taken into account past history of cyclones and tsunamis.

6.Suez canal uses special bollards every 200 ft. to salvage a grounded vessel. Such bollards are possible only if a land-based canal is used.

7.A volcanic canyon west of Rama Setu, 1 m to 3000 m slope
Abstract A paleoslump underlies the western toe of the East Comorin Slump at a depth of some 800 meters. To the south, an enlarging and deepening submarine canyon marks the area of slump coalescence. See William Vestal and Allen Lowrie, Geology and Geophysics Branch-Code 7220, U.S. Naval Oceanographic Office NSTL Station, 39522, MS /content/m602j3k746342lnl/

Heatflow in Rama Setu is around 100 to 180 milliwatt per sq. m., comparable to Himalayan hotsprings. Will dredging in the area activate these heat zones

After environmental objections were made in Sri Lanka, the Indian government decided to carry out modelling, but this had not been done before clearance had already been given for the project. A modelling exercise carried out by Sri Lanka's National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA) indicated that the project would increase the water flow from the Bay of Bengal to the Gulf of Mannar, disturbing the inland water balance as well as the ecosystems in the Gulf. There have also been judicial observations against this project.

Political Issues:

1.The underdeveloped region of Northern Srilanka, which forms the coast line of this project on the Srilankan side, is currently occupied by LTTE. Sethusamudram project could potentially allow economic benefits to this region. This can be a potential security issue.

2.According to the June 1974 Indira Gandhi Sirimavo Bandaranaike declaration, these waters were declared as Historic Waters, meaning, waters territorially shared between the two countries and hence, internal to these two countries. US Navy operational directive of June 23, 2005 sought to change this declaration. The directive refused to declare these as historic waters and to operationalise their assertion, sent their naval warships into these waters. This is a serious violation of national sovereignty which has gone unnoticed so far.

3.Why is America interested in these waters and why the desire to create an international waters channel? Clearly, the choice is to suit the convenience of the US Navy which wants to outsource to India, the coast-guarding of the sealane oil tanker traffic from Straits of Hormuz through Srilanka, through Straits of Malacca to the Westcoast of USA. The geopolitical perspective becomes apparent from the location of the US base in Diego Garcia south of Srilanka, of a very low frequency radio station (which uses ocean waves for transmission) at Trincomalee to listen to the submarine chatter and the US naval units in Singapore.

Committees & their reports:

There have been a total of 14 committees constituted so far for conducting a study on the project and recommending a proper algnment for implementation of the project. Of these 9 committees have been constituted before Independence and 5 after the independence. None of these committees suggested the current alignment and all were for a land based canal system. Sri A.R.Mudaliar Committee report expressly asked the government of the day to opt for land based alignment rather that sea based stating the following reasons, some of which are

a. Shifting of sand banks

b. No possibiltiy of constructing protective works, a definite navigational hazard.
In these circumstances we have no doubt, whatever that the junction between the two sea should be effected by a Canal; and the idea of cutting a passage in the sea through Adams Bridge should be abandoned.

Now the question in front of us is, why is the government so hell bent on implementing a project which is not beneficial economically(pls read the economic study), environmentally and is even a threat to national security. Even if they want to implement it, why choose an alignment that is not recommended by even a single committee. The panama as well as suez canals are land based projects. The Federal court of America in a case concerning to a Local Indian tribe regarrding a Mountain considered sacred by them ruled in their favour. The Judgment can be read in the following link.

I don't know if this petetion can change anything or not. But all I know is the silence of learned is more dangerous to a nation than the damage done by the ignorant. And this is only an attempt at this. Hence I appeal to not only Hindus but every person of every faith, as this is not an attack on a single faith or religion but disregard for such faith or belief. This may happen to any one. Support this by signing this petition.

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Rena RogersBy:
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The Govt of India


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