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Sethusamudram Corpn, Suez body sign pact

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(From left) Mr N.K. Raghupathy, Chairman & MD, Sethusamudram Corporation Ltd (SCL); Mr T.R. Baalu, Union Minister for Shipping; Mr Kheir Eldin A. Latif, Ambassador of Egypt to India; Mr A.K. Bhalla, Joint Secretary (Ports), Department of Shipping; and Mr Hussein Abdel Rahman Helmy, member of Board of Suez Canal Authority, at the signing of MoU between SCL and Suez Canal Authority in Chennai on Saturday. Bijoy Ghosh
(From left) Mr N.K. Raghupathy, Chairman & MD, Sethusamudram Corporation Ltd (SCL); Mr T.R. Baalu, Union Minister for Shipping; Mr Kheir Eldin A. Latif, Ambassador of Egypt to India; Mr A.K. Bhalla, Joint Secretary (Ports), Department of Shipping; and Mr Hussein Abdel Rahman Helmy, member of Board of Suez Canal Authority, at the signing of MoU between SCL and Suez Canal Authority in Chennai on Saturday. Bijoy Ghosh

Our Bureau

Chennai, Dec. 17

SETHUSAMUDRAM Corporation Ltd (SCL) on Saturday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Suez Canal Authority (SCA), Egypt, for cooperation in implementing the Rs 2,427-crore Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project (SSCP).

The SCL is a special purpose vehicle implementing the SSCP and SCA manages the Suez Canal, which links the Red Sea with the Mediterranean. By year-end, over 13,000 ships would have passed through the canal, according to an official of SCA.

Mr N.K. Raghupathy, Chairman and Managing Director, SCL, and Mr Hussein Abdel Rahman Helmy, Director, Dredging Department and Member of Board, Suez Canal Authority, signed the agreement in the presence of the Union Shipping Minister, Mr T.R. Baalu.

The agreement is an international cooperation to share views and avail of SCA's experience and technology. A similar agreement would also be signed with the Panama Canal Authority, said Mr Baalu.

According to a press release, the agreement would cover:

  • Exchange of information, expertise and technological advancements that will facilitate and promote construction, operation and management of SSCP.
  • Train personnel in construction, operation, maintenance and management of ship channel.
  • Develop programmes that will encourage technical cooperation between the two authorities.
  • Promote best practices through exchange of personnel.
  • Identify and promote cooperation in other areas of mutual interest, and
  • Set up a joint working group for the implementation of the MoU.
  • Later, talking to newspersons, Mr Baalu said the project would be completed on time or even earlier and the likely date of the canal's commissioning could be November 2008.

    The MoU would be valid for five years, and could be renewed for a similar period by mutual agreement between the two authorities. There was no consultation fee paid to SCA, he said.

    The SSCP envisages dredging a 167-km channel along the Palk Straits, the Palk Bay and Adam's Bridge between Sri Lanka and India to connect the Bay of Bengal and the Gulf of Mannar. This would enable ships to take a shorter route between the two countries instead of having to sail around Sri Lanka.

    (This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated December 18, 2005)
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