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Science, Lord Ram and Sethusamudram Project

Sethusamudram Project, which was earlier objected by fishermen and environmentalists, is now under attack from Hindu religious groups. To fulfill the project a submerged reef - Adam's Bridge – has to be dredged. Dredging of Ramar Sethu or Adam’s bridge was objected by environmentalists citing the damage it will do to the fragile marine ecology. They also believe fishing which is an important occupation of people around the region will be affected due to dredging.

This bridge is associated with Ramayana and many people believe that it was created by the Vanarasena (army of monkeys) led by Lord Hanuman and Sugriva to reach Lanka and to rescue Sita. So the bridge is directly associated with Lord Ram.

Sethusamudram is an ambitious project taken up by India to drastically reduce the time taken to travel between India’s east and west coast. Presently, ships from west to east and east to west have to sail around Sri Lanka. The project will save around 30 hours of sailing time.

A couple of years ago, NASA released a picture of a bridge connecting India and Sri Lanka. Today, many religious groups use this picture to claim and prove the authenticity of the bridge.

But NASA has distanced itself from the controversy
“The images may be ours, but the interpretation is certainly not ours. Remote sensing images or photographs from orbit cannot provide direct information about the origin or age of a chain of islands, and certainly cannot determine whether humans were involved in producing any of the patterns seen.”
The Ramayana angle is slowly gaining momentum and several people have approached the courts. To make matter worse two mishaps have already taken place at the project site and believers see this as a warning.

Slowly it is turning out to be a fight between development and religious belief. Sadly, the environmental part is being ignored.