The Hindu , 15 June 2006

Sethusamudram project as per schedule: Baalu

NAGAPATTINAM: The Sethusamudram project is progressing as per schedule and the work will be completed within the stipulated time, said T.R. Baalu, Union Minister for Shipping, Surface Transport and Highways, here on Tuesday.

Talking to mediapersons after inspecting the development works at the Nagapattinam port being carried out with Rs.50 crores provided by the Asian Development Bank for tsunami rehabilitation, Mr. Baalu instructed the authorities to speed up the development works. The Minister, who also inspected desilting and dredging at the Kaduvaiyar estuary near the Nagapattinam port, said that the estuary had to be dredged for a stretch of 1,000 metres to enable fishermen to operate their mechanised boats easily.

Mr. Baalu pointed out that nearly 54.30 lakh cubic metres of silt had so far been dredged in the Sethusamudram project and pointed out that nearly 40 per cent of the work was over in the first phase and the second phase of work would be taken up in October.

Panchayatdars and representatives of fishermen associations pleaded to the Minister to speed up desilting of the Kaduvaiyar estuary and pointed out that the fishermen were incurring a loss of more than Rs.15 lakhs per annum as their mechanised boats get damaged because of the formation of huge silt at the Kaduvaiyar estuary due to the tsunami. M.P. Saminathan, Minister for Highways and Ports, K. P. P. Sami, Minister for Fisheries, A.K.S. Vijayan, MP, Tenkasi S. Jawahar, Nagapattinam Collector, and top officials accompanied the Minister.