The issue of Ram Setu came up for a discussion in Lok Sabha on Thursday where the Centre assured the lawmakers that it will not be dismantled and the government will explore others alternatives suggested by various expert committees.
Speaking in Lok Sabha, Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said, “We won’t break Rram Setu. The matter is sub-judice so I won’t speak on it but four alternatives have been suggested.”
The Ram Setu issue has in past led to acrimonious exchanges between lawmakers and and consequent adjournment of the House whenever it was discussed.
The BJP had in past fought with Congress, accusing it of playing politics and not having faith in God.
The Congress government had in past given an affidavit in court on its decision to dismantle the ancient structure. Meanwhile, the Pachauri expert committee had suggested for a different alignment without dismantling the original Ram Setu structure, to which the then Congress government disagreed.
Ram Sethu is a continuous stretch of limestone shoals that runs from Pamban Island near Rameshwaram in South India to Mannar Island off the northern coast of Sri Lanka. Encyclopaedia Britannica says that geological evidence suggests that in the Ice Age, the stretch used to be a land connection between India and Sri Lanka.
There are different geological theories behind the origin of the ridge, one of which even says that Sri Lanka was a part of Indian landmass and that the calcareous rectangular blocks are testimony of Lanka breaking away from the mainland about 1,25,000 years ago.
Hindu believers hold it as the structure that Lord Rama and his army of apes and monkeys built to reach demon king Ravana’s Lanka.
The depth of the sea along the 30-km-long stretch varies between 3 feet and 30 feet, thus making navigation by sea-worthy vessels impossible in this stretch. Today, ships bound for India’s eastern coast have to circle around the entire island of Sri Lanka to reach Tuticorin, Chennai, Vizag, Paradip and other ports.