Of the 167-km length of the ship canal, dredging is required in a 34-km stretch in the Adam's Bridge area - designated blocks A and B - and a 54-km stretch in Palk Strait - blocks C and D.

Our Bureau

Chennai, Feb. 27

The Dredging Corporation of India could bag more chunks of dredging work in the Sethusamudram Canal, according to the Union Minister for Shipping, Mr T.R. Baalu.

Speaking to newspersons after inaugurating the office of the Sethusamudram Corporation today, he said that it is likely that the Dredging Corporation, which was now dredging a section of the Palk Strait area, would be awarded the entire section.

Of the 167-km length of the ship canal, dredging is required in a 34-km stretch in the Adam's Bridge area - designated blocks A and B - and a 54-km stretch in Palk Strait - blocks C and D.

The Dredging Corporation has so far dredged over 34 lakh cubic metres in the D block and there is "every chance that the dredging of C and D blocks will be handed over to Dredging Corporation," Mr Baalu said.

The award of tenders on the remaining areas has been rescheduled and the Sethusamudram Corporation has re-tendered the dredging work. The bids are likely to be awarded in September, he added.

In a separate conference following the Minister's meeting, Prof Dr S. Kannaiyan, Chairman of National Biodiversity Authority, said that the study of chemical and biological impact of dredging has indicated that there is no adverse impact "so far." Dr Kannaiyan leads the Environment Monitoring Committee overseeing the environmental compliance of the project.

The Centre for Advanced Studies in Marine Biology, Annamalai University was studying samples in two locations and there have been no adverse changes in chemical, heavy metal, and microbiological nature, and animal population of the area.

The committee was meeting monthly to keep track of developments, he said.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated February 28, 2006)
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