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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2345

Technical issues related to Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project

[b]Technical issues related to Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project [/b]

D.S.B.Hettiarachchi - Port Engineer ( Retired)

[b]Introduction[/b]

India has embarked on a development project to open up a shipping channel to connect up Bay of Bengal and Gulf of Mannar across Palk Bay. The channel is divided into a few segments. At the 1st phase, the channel segments identified as Palk Strait and Adams Bridge are being cut to a depth of 12.0 meters, with no dredging being planned in Palk Bay. Dredging of Palk Strait is in progress with 2 million cuM of dredged material already dumped offshore in Bay of Bengal at a depth of about 25-30 m. This dredged material will be lost in the high seas for ever. Dredging Works of the segments of Adams Bridge are reported to be at the tender stage.

[b]History[/b]

Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project (SSCP) has a long history dating back to last century. In all earlier proposals presented for SSCP implementation, the channel was to connect up Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar, with deepening of Pamban Pass at the south-western end, or with a land cut canal across Pamban Island. All such canal traces have been identified to give environmental problems in coastal areas of South Indian states bordering Gulf of Mannar. Therefore, in the current project now at implementation stage, the channel trace is shifted to make the connection, across Adams Bridge, the shifting sand banks in a naturally stable environment. Amidst many discussions on the related environmental issues, security issues and economic issues etc. the project is now launched by Indian Authorities. The technical issues related to the project, discussed by the port engineers of Sri Lanka, appear to be ignored as matter of no substance.

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