Sethusamudram Project

Topics: Palk Strait, Adam's Bridge, Gulf of Mannar Pages: 14 (3818 words) Published: September 3, 2010
Need for Sethusamudram Project By Thirunavukkarasu.P MBA

India has a peninsular coast of about 7,517km length stretches from the state of Gujarat in West Coast to the state of West Bengal in East Coast and it also includes Andaman and Nicobar islands. India has 12 major ports which include Khandla, Mumbai, JNPT, Mormugao, New Mangalore, Cochin in West Coast and Tuticorin, Chennai, Ennore, Visakhapatnam, Paradeep and Kolkata and also about 183 non major ports. Coast of India does not have a continuous navigation channel connecting the east and west coasts. Currently the ships coming from west coast and countries like Pakistan, Dubai and other western countries with the destination in east coast and also other countries like Bangladesh, China and also the ships of Indian navy and Coast guards have to navigate around Srilankan Coast resulting in increase of travel distance, time and also the cost. This is due to the presence of shallow region known as Adam’s bridge, located southeast of Rameshwaram which connects the Talimannar Coast of Srilanka. A number of proposals were considered from 1860 to 2001 to cut a ship canal called Sethusamudram Canal through the Rameshwaram connecting the Gulf of Mannar with the Palk Bay. This project will develop a continuous navigable route around the Indian coast within its territorial region. The project will brief the efficiency, benefits, impacts and drawbacks of Sethusamudram Canal and its usefulness to the hinterlands.


Sethusamudram canal is a 150 year dream of Tamil peoples since from the British colonial days. The Sethusamudram canal project has a chequered history. The technical and environmental studies were done before independence from the first proposal of Taylor in 1860 to Sir Robert Bristow's proposal in 1922; nine proposals were considered for digging the canal. After independence six committees recommended for the Sethusamudram canal project from 1956 to 1998 which includes Ramaswami Mudaliar Committee (1956), Nagendra Singh Committee (1967), Venkateeswaran Committee (1966), Lakshminarayanan Committee (1981), Pallavan Transport Consultancy Services Report (1996) and National Environmental Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur (1998).

The committees analysed the cost and benefits of the project and they pointed out the feasibility and viability of the canal. The government verified and analysed the various proposals and reports of the project and finally announced the inauguration of the project. The alignment of the canal proposed by NEERI and Technical Feasibility Report (TFR) state that the project is feasible technically and has the potential to operate without any environmental hazard. These two reports are the one from which the current SSCP proposal draws its legitimacy.

Suggested Alignments by various committees:
Year| Report Name| Suggested Alignment Route|
1860| Townshend proposal| Deepen Pampan pass|
1862| Parliamentary committee proposal| Two miles east of Pamban across Rameshwaram Island| 1863| William Dennison proposal| One mile east of Parliamentary proposal across Rameshwaram Island| 1871| Stoddart's Proposal| Almost same place as Parliamentary proposal across Rameshwaram Island| 1872| Robertson proposal| One mile from Pamban|

1884| John code proposal| Across Rameshwaram Island|
1903| Railway engineer proposal| Across Rameshwaram Island| 1922| Robert Bristo proposal| Across Rameshwaram Island| 1956| Ramaswami mudaliar committee| Mainland at Mandapam island| 1967| Nagendra committee report| Across Rameshwaram Island| 1981| Lakshminarayan committee report| Across Dhanuskodi Island 1 Km west of Ramar Temple| 1996| Pallavan transport consultancy repor| Revalidated Lakshminaryan committee report. New alignment not suggested| 1996| Tuticorin port trust report| Across Pamban island East of Ramar temple|...
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