Shipping minister shields Sethusamudram Project
Union Minister for Shipping T R Baalu rebutted AIADMK chief Jayalalitha’s charge of Sethusamudram project on Monday for being unfeasible at the 12-metre depth of this canal as it caters only to small ships and replied most of the ships visiting Indian ports carries goods weigh less than 50,000 tonnes.
So according to AIADMK, all such ports should be sealed for the ships if weigh lower than 50,000 tonnes. He cited in evidence around 79 per cent of ships visiting Indian ports were small ones weighing less than 50,000 tonnes during 2006-07.
Last year 20,864 ships visited 12 Indian ports and out of these 16,442 ships weighed less than 50,000 tonnes, Baalu said in Chennai in his statement in response to Naval Chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta’s recent comment that the port was suitable only for small ships.
He said after the completion of the project all these ships would pass through the canal resulting into the shortening of distance by 424 nautical miles and thus would save time and fuel.
He said he did not break the protocol when wrote to Defence Minister A K Antony, against the Sureesh Mehta’s comments on the Sethusamudram project.
The Shipping Minister refuted Jayalalitha’s claim of his action as undemocratic and said she was perhaps not aware of what the protocol means in an interaction between Minister and officers of the armed forces or sometimes when the circumstances demanding officers to advise Ministers.
Admiral Mehta had last week pointed out that only small ships could sail at the 12-metre depth of the Sethusamudram Canal.
The Minister said ''let her get back to her acting career, which she is well versed with. That is the only good she can do to Tamils and Tamil Nadu,'' in response to AIADMK chief’s demand for his dismissal from the Union Cabinet for allegedly seeking withdrawal of Mehta’s comments.
Jayalalithaa had said earlier that no minister had the authority to write directly to a fellow minister about an officer in the department and said again only the cabinet or the prime minister had the authority to intervene in such issues.
She repeatedly had saying the Sethusamudram project would affect the livelihood of fishermen and the project was an effort to destroy a heritage structure. "It is a useless project for the future," she said.
T R Baalu responded in profound voice against AIADMK’s chief for questioning him whether he was an engineer to talk about the technicality of the project and on Ram Sethu. He asked her if expertise was the only yardstick for a person to head a Ministry, then former actor Ms Jayalalithaa, should only go back to acting.
He said it had become a practice for Ms Jayalalithaa to demand the dismissal of the DMK Government in Tamil Nadu and resignation of Ministers against the principles of democracy.
Few months ago Chief Minister Karunanidhi had asked, the people opposing to dredging of Ramsethu and claiming the bridge was built by Lord Rama, whether the Lord Rama was an engineer or had obtained an engineering degree from any college.
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