This is in reference to the much-hyped and recently-turned-controversial Sethusamudram project. Fellow blogger
Ladybug Lazybug seems to think that it is a one-off political drama; one that inevitably occurs with an infallible frequency between the powers-that-be. I tried to picturize the nuances within but sadly, failed miserably! For one, this project was conceived as far back in time as the 1860’s and the last-known feasibility study was carried out only in 1955. So the timeline seems to indicate that it would be operational by the year 2125 only! I’m sure as anyone else that the warring parties (even their re-incarnations, if we tend to be more imaginative!) wouldn’t have a fig’s chance of seeing it come into being…so why the hullabaloo!
Secondly, the necessity of this project has to be gauged from a non-political, non-jingoistic, non-religious, non-parochial (enough of negativity!) point-of-view. Geographically speaking, the Sethusamudram project envisages a canal off the Gulf of Mannar, passing between the Indian Mainland and Sri Lanka. This canal would not only reduce the distance traversed for the vessels sailing from the West Coast of India to the East Coast but also would aim at creating a strategic advantage for the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard. Up until today, the project was lying in the planning stage so as to say; but recent turn of events have given it a needless political as well as religious hue! There was an affidavit filed by the ASI – negating the existence of the Ram Setu or the bridge that followers of Lord Rama had built to cross-over to Lanka – thus purportedly hurting religious sentiments and this was just the opportunity zealous politicos were waiting for and before one could say Sethusamudram, allegations, counter-allegations, ruminations and accusations were flying thick and fast all around! In all this hullabaloo, the basic premise – that of simplification of a trade route for the country and in-effect, a flourish in the economic growth – was so easily overlooked! In the larger canvas of political fiefdom and religious fervor, the common man’s gains were given the cold shoulder! Cynics may argue what has the common man has to gain by it? But as I see it, reduction in the distance between the eastern and western ports means an increase in the frequency of trade thus creating a viable movement of essential commodities and other goods which in-turn would boost the economic growth and if that helps in reducing the prices, inflation and other laggardly aspects of the Indian economy, I am all for it! The existence (or non-existence for that matter) of a bridge won’t in any way aid the quick transport (say) Jute from Kolkata to Mumbai!!!