Exploring alternative route for Sethusamudram project: Govt

PTI New Delhi | Updated on November 27, 2014

A file photo of dredging taking place in the Palk Straits as a part of Sethusamudram Channel work.

Government is exploring the possibility of an alternative route for Sethusamudram ship channel project through Pamban pass without affecting the Ram Sethu or Adam’s bridge.

Minister of State for Shipping Pon Radhakrishnan told Lok Sabha that Rail India Technical and Economic Service (RITES) has carried out pre-feasibility study and submitted its report this month.

The alternative route for Sethusamudram ship channel project through Pamban pass as suggested by RITES is subject to environment clearance and concurrence of Tamil Nadu government under whose jurisdiction Pamban channel falls, he said during the Question Hour.

The key findings of the pre-feasibility study report of the RITES are:

The major constraint in the Pamban channel is the narrow and shallow channel between the two coral reef island of Pullivasal and Krusadai. This narrow channel is silted up due to trap of long shore sediment transport between Gulf of Mannar and Palk Strait.

The channel’s width at this location is about 125 mt and the depth 2.13 mt. Only during high tide this critical channel can be negotiated.

If the channel is dredged for 12 mt, vessels of about 30,000 dead weight tonnes size can navigate the Pamban channel with the restriction of 21 mt air draft due to road over bridge across the Pamban pass.

The Pamban channel alignment will have navigational length of 136 km out of which 54 km fall in Palk Strait. This 54 km channel has already been dredged substantially under the original Sethusamudram ship channel project and would require around 1 meter additional dredging.

The alignment includes 43 km in Pamban channel which require substantial dredging to achieve 12 meter depth. The balance length of the channel would not require dredging as natural depth is available for navigation of 30,000 dead weight tons vessels, the RITES report said.

Published on November 27, 2014

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