Currently the ships coming from west coast and countries like Pakistan, Dubai and other western countries with the destination in east coast and also other countries like Bangladesh, China and also the ships of Indian navy and Coast guards have to navigate around Srilankan Coast resulting in increase of travel distance, time and also the cost. This is due to the presence of shallow region known as Adam’s bridge, located southeast of Rameshwaram which connects the Talimannar Coast of Srilanka.
A number of proposals were considered from 1860 to 2001 to cut a ship canal called Sethusamudram Canal through the Rameshwaram connecting the Gulf of Mannar with the Palk Bay. This project will develop a continuous navigable route around the Indian coast within its territorial region. The project will brief the efficiency, benefits, impacts and drawbacks of Sethusamudram Canal and its usefulness to the hinterlands. PROPOSALS OF SETHUSAMUDRAM CANAL PROJECT PROPOSALS OF SETHUSAMUDRAM CANAL PROJECT Sethusamudram canal is a 150 year dream of Tamil peoples since from the British colonial days.
The Sethusamudram canal project has a chequered history. The technical and environmental studies were done before independence from the first proposal of Taylor in 1860 to Sir Robert Bristow’s proposal in 1922; nine proposals were considered for digging the canal. After independence six committees recommended for the Sethusamudram canal project from 1956 to 1998 which includes Ramaswami Mudaliar Committee (1956), Nagendra Singh Committee (1967), Venkateeswaran Committee (1966), Lakshminarayanan Committee (1981), Pallavan Transport Consultancy Services
Report (1996) and National Environmental Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur (1998). The committees analysed the cost and benefits of the project and they pointed out the feasibility and viability of the canal. The government verified and analysed the various proposals and reports of the project and finally announced the inauguration of the project. The alignment of the canal proposed by NEERI and Technical Feasibility Report (TFR) state that the project is feasible technically and has the potential to operate without any environmental hazard.
These two reports are the one from which the current SSCP proposal draws its legitimacy. Suggested Alignments by various committees: Year| Report Name| Suggested Alignment Route| 1860| Townshend proposal| Deepen Pampan pass| 1862| Parliamentary committee proposal| Two miles east of Pamban across Rameshwaram Island| 1863| William Dennison proposal| One mile east of Parliamentary proposal across Rameshwaram Island| 1871| Stoddart’s Proposal| Almost same place as Parliamentary proposal across Rameshwaram Island| 1872| Robertson proposal| One mile from Pamban| 884| John code proposal| Across Rameshwaram Island| 1903| Railway engineer proposal| Across Rameshwaram Island| 1922| Robert Bristo proposal| Across Rameshwaram Island| 1956| Ramaswami mudaliar committee| Mainland at Mandapam island| 1967| Nagendra committee report| Across Rameshwaram Island| 1981| Lakshminarayan committee report| Across Dhanuskodi Island 1 Km west of Ramar Temple| 1996| Pallavan transport consultancy repor| Revalidated Lakshminaryan committee report.
New alignment not suggested| 1996| Tuticorin port trust report| Across Pamban island East of Ramar temple| 1998| National Environmental Research Institute (NEERI)| Mid ocean passage across Adam’s bridge| Various Alignments of Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project: The entire coastal traffic from the east coast of thecountry to the west and vice-versa has to go around Sri Lanka entailing an additionaldistance of more than 254-424 nautical miles and 21-36 hours of sailing time.
The Gulf of Mannar, an inlet to the Indian Ocean between south-eastern India and western Sri Lanka, is bounded on the north-east by the island of Rameswaram, Adam’s Bridge and Mannar. The Gulf is about 130-275 km wide and 160 km in length. The Palk Bay on the north of Gulf of Mannar is about 64-137 km wide and 137 km long and includes many islands of Sri Lanka. Furthermore, Adam’s Bridge located between India and Sri Lanka separating Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar. It is about 30 km long and the sea across this portion is shallow with a depth of about 3-3. m only during high tides. Various committees that have observed that a shorter route through the Palk Bay is an important necessity to save time and foreign exchange spent on import of fuel for Indian ships, also the country can stand to gain revenue in foreign currency due to toll collections from International ships. THE DREAM PROJECT IN REALITY THE PROJECT Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project envisages dredging of a ship channel across the Palk straits between India and Sri Lanka.
The project will allow ships sailing between the east and west costs of India to have a straight passage through India’s territorial waters, instead of having to circumvent Sri Lanka. This will lead to a saving of up to 424 nautical miles (780 Km) and up to 30 hours in sailing time. Two channels will be created by dredging for the total of 20 km: * Adam’s Bridge part which is of 35km, * The Bay of Bengal (BOB) part which is of length 54. 2 km, * Apart from these two legs it also will have one more leg in the Palk Bay of length 78 km where dredging is not required (as this area has a depth of 12 m).
The channel is originating from Tuticorin harbour; extend north-east up to south of Pamban Island, cut through Adams Bridge and proceeds parallel to medial line of fishing between Sri Lanka and India before joining the Bay of Bengal channel. The width of channel will vary between 200 and 500 m and will require dredging to arrive at desired depth in the Adams Bridge and Palk Bay area. The area engulfing the Adam’s Bridge known as ‘Sethusamudram’ has been derived from the Kings of Jaffna who were called as protectors of Adam’s Bridge and the Southern sea that surrounds the region.
The Alignment of the Proposed Channel: The proposed channel on commissioning is assumed to bring plenty of prosperity and industrial growth in the Indian hinterland lying along the proposed ship channel and it is argued that the very presence of the short route would increase the turn-arounds of the coastal and international vessels. SALIENT FEATURES OF THE CANAL THE SALIENT FEATURES OF THE SSCP Table 1 – Details of the project| Item| Detail| Remarks| Length| 167 Km| | Width| 300 M| Two way channel| Depth of canal| 12 M| For ships drawing up to 9. 5 M -10 M. Capacity of ships that can use the canal| 30,000 DWT| Naval experts feel 23,000 DWT would be more realistic. | Estimated cost of project| Rs 2,233 crores| Escalation of cost likely. | Nodal agency for project| Tutcorin Port Trust| | Project authority| Sethusamudram Corporation Ltd (SCL)| Headquarters Chennai. | Authorised capital of project| Rs 80 crores| 1. Debt: Equity –1:1. 52. Participants: The Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), Tuticorin Port Trust (TPT), Dredger Corporation of India (DCI) etc. | Maintenance| SCL| Requires regular dredging to keep it fit for traffic. Advantages of the project| 1. It provides a direct route between the east and west coasts of India. 2. Reduces ships sailing time by 24 to 36 hours and the distance by 400 nautical miles to Tuticorin on the East Coast. 3. Help economic development of 3 coastal districts. Provide employment opportunities& help allied industrial development. 4. Help development of 15 minor ports (13 in Tamil Nadu)| 1. Avoids going round Sri Lanka as at present. 2. Requires pilotage during sailing through canal. Thus speed will be reduced increasing sailing time. 3.
Provides option of fishing grounds in both Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar to fishermen on either side. Better marketing options for them. 4. These have not come up. However, fishing ports will help fishermen. | Ecological & environmental watch| Separate agencies to monitor environment and marine life. | | PROGRESS and design OF THE PROJECT PROGRESS OF THE PROJECT For contractual purposes the entire dredging work of the canal has been divided into four sections. Details of civil works of the project and progress made so far are given in the following table: Details of civil work of the project|
A- Dredging of the canal| Detail| Location| Length| Dredging quantity| Contractor| Section A| Adam’s Bridge| 11 Km| 22. 74mn CuM| | Section B| Adam’s Bridge| 24. 05 Km| 25. 31mn CuM| | Section C| Palk Strait| 40. 68 Km| 20. 95mn CuM| | Section D| Palk Strait| 13. 5 Km| 13. 55mn CuM*| Dredging Corpn India Ltd (DCI)| Progress of dredging operations so far| Palk Strait (Section D)| -| -| DCI has completed up to Feb 2, 2006, dredging of 2. 47mn CuM (24. 14%) of the section| | | | | | | | | | | | THE PROCESS OF DESIGN FOR THE SSCP PRELIMINARY DESIGN
FOR THE CHANNEL, STABILITY OF THE DREDGED SEDIMENT & THE AUXILIARY STRUCTURES WIND, WAVE, TIDE AND CURRENT WAVE FORCE ANALYSIS POSITION & DIRECTION CRITICAL WAVE LOAD CONDITIONS: 1. MAXIMUM OPERATION LOADS+ EXTREME ENVIRONMENTAL LOADS 2. MINIMUM OPERATIONAL LOADS + EXTREME ENVIRONMENTAL LOADS ROUTINE SEDIMENT LOAD & MOVEMENT MODIFICATIONS EARTHQUAKE SPECTRA, VOLCANISM, TSUNAMI WIND SPEED EXCEEDENCE DATA ROUTINE SEDIMENT LOAD & MOVEMENT DREDGED SEDIMENT/DUMP LOAD & MOVEMENT PROBABILISTIC STABILITY ANALYSIS DREDGED SEDIMENT/DUMP
LOAD & MOVEMENT WAVE HEIGHT SPECTRA, STORM SURGE, RAIN, FLOOD MODIFICATIONS? FINAL DESIGN FOR THE CHANNEL, DREDGE STABILITY & AUXILLARY STRUCTURES ECONOMIC EXPECTATIONS ECONOMIC EXPECTATIONS The total estimated cost of the Sethusamudram canal project is Rs. 2,233 Crores. The cost includes: S. No| Description Works| Amount(Rs. in Crores)| 1| Preliminary Expenses| 100| 2| Administrative costs| 5| 3| Dredging| 1719. 6| 4| Navigational Aids| 10. 9| 5| Supply of tugs and crafts| 157. 6| 6| VTMS and equipments| 65. 9| 7| Civil works| 144| | Consultancy and supervision| 20| 9| Contingency| 100| The project will be a profit-earner and that it will have a cumulative surplus of Rs. 3,138 crores, 25 years after it is opened to traffic. About 2,000 ships a year (six to nine a day) will use the canal and they will totally save Rs. 107 crores in fuel. The time saved will vary between 25 hours and 40 hours, depending on the source of the ship. The time saved will be 25 hours if the ships ply at 12 knots an hour and the average saving in distance will be 300 nautical miles.
Based on Net Present Value (NPV) method, Internal Rate of Return would be 10% to 17% on the project amount considering an interest rate of 9% per annum on the capital. The surplus will be generated after the 17 years of operation of the canal and it was estimated to be 1600 crores and 3000 crores in its 30th year of operation . They have given a mean value of about 2,858 ships meant to use the canal in the first year of operation and by the year 2025, they expect it to go to in excess of 5,883 ships. COST BENEFIT ANALYSIS: The surveys and studies pointed out that the canal will handle the traffic of 5000 ships in the year 2025.
The draught of ship should be 12m. So it is clear that the mother vessels could not able to navigate through the canal. For example consider 1,000 ships using the Sethusamudram canal in first year of operation, Rs 204 crore is taken as an annual repayment, per ship cost works out to Rs 19 lakhs pilotage charge to obtain a breakeven point. The ships consume 1 metric tonne of fuel per hour, which costs Rs 24,000. For the Sethusamudram canal, you have to add the pilotage cost too. In effect, if a ship goes through the canal, a shipping company loses Rs 19 lakh per voyage.
It is more cost effective to circumnavigate Sri Lanka from the point of view of the shipping industry. So, there is absolutely no advantage to the ships and the shipping industry. ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF SSCP ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF SSCP IMPACTS OF DREDGING-ECOLOGICAL IMBALANCE: The dredging is estimated to be 2 million cubic metres in the first year reducing to 1. 4 million in 5 years and remaining will be constant thereafter. About 8 million cubic metres is proposed to be used for degraded areas in pamban island, it is proposed to be dumped offshore in Bay of
Bengal at about 25 to 30m depth. The dredged material from Adam’s bridge area is proposed to be dumped offshore into the sea in the Gulf of mannar at location which is assessed to be 25-30km away from Adam’s bridge. The SCL Claims that the locations of dredged materials had been identified after scientific modelling and studies in such a way that turbidity generated by dumping is confined to sea bed levels and dumped material will not enter into the channel area. But Environmentalists fear that there are two ways in which the plying of ships could endanger the ecology.
Dredged spoil dumped in the vicinity of the islands could cause mass turbidity and suspended sedimentation. The canal would cause a change in the magnitude and direction of currents in the Gulf of Mannar because it will be 300 metres wide, and the changed currents will flow towards the 21 islands. The Gulf of mannar and Palk bay provides shelter to numerous flora and fauna some of them very rare to find, which is undisturbed by ship traffic due to its shallow water. The region provides livelihood to the lakhs of fisherman families in 140 coastal villages in Ramanathapuram and Tuticorin districts of Tamil Nadu.
The coral reefs are the seat of biological diversity. Sea grass meadows and seaweeds form an ecosystem which supports a variety of commercially important fish. These fauna and flora helps in controlling the coastal erosion. The Environmental Impacts Assessment has failed to assess the impacts of dredging in the marine species. Any damage to the lower trophic level would reflect into higher trophic including fish. Higher silt load in seawater prevents penetration of sunlight in water body and ultimately affect primary productivity.
Dredging causes disturbance to benthic organisms and fish due suspended sediments, which causes disruption of migration of fish. The conditions created during the dredging operations will potentially cause: * Smothering of benthic animals and plants due to resettlement of suspended sediments * Disturbance of marine animals from the potential variations in the concentration dissolved oxygen * The Whole life cycle of the marine animals gets effected directly or indirectly * Reduction of biologic species like coral reefs and mangroves. * Translocation of species and removal of habitat.
METEROLOGICAL ISSUES: Sethusamudram Canal and Navigation channels of ports of the east coast have been facing three major and persistent problems. They are: * Problems due to sedimentation, * Problems due to tropical cyclonic disturbances, * Issues related to dumping of the dredged material. Sethusamudram The meteorologist elaborated that the Coastal regions of Kerala and some of the coastal regions of Tamil Nadu like Rameshwaram, Tuticorin were not affected by Tsunami because of the Adam’s bridge and dredging the bridge and disposal of dredged material may results in the harmful effects.
Indian Meteorological Department considers the coastal stretch between Nagapattinam and Pamban as a high risk zones to the tropical cyclones. This may results in the damage of canal and also risk to the ships to pass through at the time of cyclones. RELIGIOUS ISSUES: The Sethusamudram Canal project is also facing the religious issues. The political parties and other groups are arguing that the Adam’s bridge was built by Lord Rama and they were protested against the project.
The Government of India and other institutes clearly pointed out that the bridge was not a man made bridge, but the issue becomes an important political issue nowadays. SECURITY ISSUES: Now the ships of Indian Navy and coastal guards are navigating around the Sri Lanka to move from west coast to east coast or vice versa. The project holds good for the security purposes. The coastal security of Tamil Nadu gets enhanced and the Navy ships can able to navigate in the Indian territory water itself. The opening of canal may leads to the security threats because of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam as like the Somalian pirates.
TECHNICAL ISSUES: The SSCP requires the advanced cranes and other materials to dredge the bridge. Also it requires barge and other materials to handle the dredged material. The advanced disposal system should be employed. There is a need for skilled labours for the successful completion of the project. SSCP-A COMPARISON WITH SUEZ CANAL AND PANAMA CANAL SSCP-A COMPARISON WITH SUEZ CANAL AND PANAMA CANAL The Sethusamudram canal is the first offshore project in the world where the Suez canal and Panama canal were the onshore projects.
The Suez canal and panama canal are manmade canals which reduces the navigation distance and time. The features of the canals are: Canal| Sethu Canal| Suez Canal| Panama Canal| Length| 89km| 192km| 80km| Location| Bay of Bengal| Connects Medittaranean Sea and Red Sea| Connects atlantic ocean and pacific ocean| Country/Continent| India| Links Asia and Europe| Links South America and North America| Toll collected by| Project in progress by India| Egypt| Panama| Draught| 10. 4m| 16. 1m| 15m| Speed limit| 11-16km/hr| 8km/hr| 15km/hr|
Average transit time| 4hours| 14hours| 8 to 10hours| Locks| No| No| 3locks| Length of the vessel| 215m| 68m above water level| 427m| Opened to traffic on| Process in progress| 1869| 1914| BENEFITS AND ITS USEFULNESS TO THE HINDERLANDS BENEFITS AND ITS USEFULNESS TO THE HINTERLANDS The benefits of the Sethusamudram Canal are: * There is a continuous navigation between the west coast and east coast within the Indian territory, * The navigation time and the distance gets reduced, * Ships turnaround time increases the revenue, Lead to substantial savings with reduction in maritime transportation cost, * The coastal security gets enhanced in the coastal districts of Tamil Nadu, * Coal from North India to Tamil Nadu Electricity board takes sea route, * Salt, Fish, Caustic soda now using rail which incures high cost can take sea route, * Domestic consumers will be benefited wit cheaper goods with the reduced import costs, * Coastal movement of domestic goods, * Direct and indirect employment opportunities, * Leads to the infra structure development. Usefulness to the Hinterland: The project leads to the development of 15 new non major ports at Cuddalore, Puducherry, Karaikal, Rameshwaram. * The backward districts of Tamil Nadu Thirunelveli, Tuticorin, Ramanathapuram will gets economically developed, * Rich resources of fish and shrimps in the area can be exported to Japan and USA through Rameshwaram port which will gets strengthened once the canal comes into existence. * Chances for new industries in the regions of Rameshwaram, Thirunelveli, Cuddalore,etc. , Developments in Tuticorin port: * Emerge as a hub port for container traffic * Enhance its share in coastal cargo traffic Augment its revenue by renderin service to the ships transiting through the channel THE SSCP-TODAY! The Sethusamudram Corporation Limited has stopped dredging works in the Adam’s bridge because of the order of Supreme Court of India. The political parties and other organisation protested against the project and they were arguing that the Adam’s bridge was built by Lord Rama. They filed case against the project. The Supreme Court had ordered the Indian Government to find the alternative route for the canal. The Supreme Court had suggested that an alternative alignment between Dhanushkodi and Lands End in
Rameshwaram Island be examined for creating the channel. The Government of India constituted an expert committee under the chairmanship of R K Pachauri in July 2008 to examine the feasibility of the alternative alignment keeping in view the technical aspects, cost benefit analysis, socio-cultural and environmental impact and law and order matters. Earlier, the project was to be developed at an estimated cost of Rs 2,400 crore. But now the Ministry of Shipping is revising the cost estimates, part of which would be requested for immediately to clear dues pending to the Dredging Corporation of India (DCI).
The new estimates, which would soon be sent for approval to the Public Investment Board, were likely to be revised further, depending on the alignment suggested for dredging the channel in the Pachauri Committee report. The ambitious project was planned to be funded on a debt-equity ratio of 1:1. 5. CONCLUSION CONCLUSION The Sethusamudram Canal is said to be the economic prosperity of the country. It is perceived that the development of the canal would results in the prosperity of the coastal districts of Tamil Nadu. The project enhances the coastal security of India.
But the Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Projects paid the way for issues like environmental issues, ecological imbalance, Religious issues, security threats, and imbalanced economy of scale. The major drawback is that the draught resistance in the canal is 10. 4m. The reports of National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) and Environmental Impacts Assessment reports were failed to analyse the ecological imbalance, cyclonic disturbances and also there was no clear study and survey about the location for disposing the dredged material. The reports failed to examine the precise Environmental Plan.
There is a need for the concise study and survey about the project’s location and its need. The dredging methods and disposal of the dredged materials should be clearly stated. The other factors like cyclonic disturbances, marine species, turbidity, sedimentation etc. , should be clearly analysed. The project should be economically sound and viable. If it is not feasible, the same amount should be invested in the other onshore projects which could give faster return on capital and development. BIBLIOGRAPHY WEBSITE LINKS: http://Sethusamudram/sethu%20m3. htmfile http://en. wikipedia. rg/wiki/Sethusamudram_Shipping_Canal_Project http://www. southasiaanalysis. org/%5Cpapers18%5Cpaper1713. html http://www. suezcanal. gov. eg/sc. aspx? show=2 http://www. pancanal. com/eng/history/index. html http://www. thehindubusinessline. com/nic/113/index. htm http://www. indiandefencereview. com/2009/02/the-sethusamudram-ship-canal-project. html http://www. nilacharal. com/news/rajan/raj176. html? domains=nilacharal. com&q=economic+impacts+of+sethusamudram+canal&sa=Search&sitesearch=YOUR+DOMAIN+NAME&client=pub-8260041701340977&forid=1&channel=6429766983 BOOKS & REPORTS: The geography of Transport Systems” by Jean-Paul Rodrigue, Claude Comtois and Brain Slack. “Souvenir” The Sethusamudram Shipping canal Project by Tuticorin Port trust. “Environmental Impact Assessment for Proposed Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project” by National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, Nagpur. “Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project and the unconsidered high risk factors: Can it withstand them? ” by Dr. R. Ramesh M. B. ,B. S. , Doctors for Safer Environment,Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.