Broken spud of Sethusamudram project nightmare for fishermen

PTI Rameswaram (TN) | Updated on March 12, 2018

A broken spud (driller) which was used for the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project has become a nightmare for fishermen of this coastal town as 47 mechanised boats have sunk after ramming the jutting piece of machinery in the Palk Straits.

“So far 47 mechanised boats have hit the spud between fifth and sixth islets and sunk,” Fisheries Department officials and Mr N J Bose, president of the Fishermen’s association here said.

Mr Bose alleged that officials had so far not marked the area where the spud got stuck, to enable fishermen navigate safely and regretted that the Government could not rectify such a ’small problem’, leading to heavy loss for the fishermen. Fishermen have also sought the help of the Coast Guard to mark the area.

Officials said all efforts to pull out the spud had failed and that a dredger used in the past for the purpose had to undergo repairs after it was damaged. They were now examining other methods by which it could be removed.

The Spud broke from the main ship in December 2006 when dredging work was on and got stuck in a precarious position.

Assistant Director of Fisheries Mr Markandeyan said all complaints of fishermen had been forwarded to the centre and it was for the Shipping Ministry to remove it.

Fishermen are opposed to the SSCP project, fearing that it will affect their livelihood, though the government has assured them they will get better revenue from fishing even after its implementaton.

The SSCP proposes linking the Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar between India and Sri Lanka by creating a shipping channel through the shallow sea and through the island chain of Adam’s Bridge, also known as Ram Sethu.

The project involves digging a 44.9 nautical mile (83 km) long deepwater channel linking the shallow water of the Palk Strait with the Gulf of Mannar.

Published on February 19, 2011

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