Chennai: DMK leader and former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Muthuvel Karunanidhi has warned incumbent Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa that he will order the launching of a state-wide protest in connection with a row over constructing a bridge along or over a mythological bridge.

The bridge has been billed as the country's Suez Canal to create a channel between mainland India and neighbouring Sri Lanka.

The 560-million dollar Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project is expected to reduce ship journeys between India's western and eastern coasts by up to 36 hours, and is also seen as a major trigger for development of ports in the region. Currently, ships have to endure a long detour around Sri Lanka.

In April, the Tamil Nadu Government in its affidavit, had pointed out to the Supreme Court the futility of the project after it was concluded from a committee report that it was unlikely that public interest would be served if the project was implemented.

Karunanidhi, on the other felt otherwise. He demanded the immediate withdrawal of the state government's affidavit, failing which a state-wide agitation would be launched.

"The affidavit filed by the ruling AIADMK in the Supreme Court must be taken back without any further delay and the project should start immediately. We would impress the same upon the Union Government and undertake a state wide rally on July 8," said Karunanidhi.

The case relating to the Sethusamudram or Ram Sethu came under judicial inspection due to the several petitions, which were filed in the Supreme Court. There was view that its implementation could damage the mythological bridge created by Lord Ram and his band of monkeys to reach Lanka to rescue his wife Sita from the clutches of demon king Lord Ravana.

Work on the project started in 2005, but was suspended after the order of the court.
As proof of that mythological bridge existing, many Hindus point to a ridge of rock and sand in a shallow stretch of sea between southern India and Sri Lanka.

The Indian Government claims it was moulded by ocean tides.
The shipping channel, a 100-km long, 300-metre wide watery groove, will have to be dredged through that ridge.


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