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Sethusamudram Project Facts Vs. Myth

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Sethusamudram Project Facts Vs. Myth
#17
[quote=narayanan,Mar 10 2007, 09:20 PM] The commentator is semi-literate, but has edited out the "cr*p" designation with all due apologies. I have been trying to point out patiently for a very long time that opposing public policy should be done with due care to avoid hype, because otherwise it destroys our credibility.

Apologies not accepted because I find there is NO intention to see the other point of view with objectivity. This concerns the lives of a community. IT is good to remember that over 200,000 lives were lost by a tsunami and pay silent homage with 2 minutes of silence praying for these aatman. It ain't no ordinary event; it is a human tragedy and cannot be reduced to back-of-the-envelope type of adhoc questioning to promote some kattamaraan traffic. The project should be viewed in its entirety. There is no reason recorded by PMO as to why the final alignment was approved in preference to the earlier alignments discussed including the one recommended by a Steering Committee and there is no reason recorded by PMO if these alignments were revisited by competent scientific/technological agencies, in the context of the tsunami. Tsunami radically altered the geophysical and bathymetry parameters of the project. I am not even talking at this stage about sealane security in a geostrategic context between Straits of Hormuz and Straits of Malacca -- sealanes which are the very lifetime of modern maritime activities.

It is amusing indeed, to see the commentator's concern for credibility. A few individuals' credibility is not the issue here. One does not have to care for reputations damaged by irresponsible comments later offering due apologies (which mean nothing), given the tone and tenor backed by the inability to see the project details objectively and see how an alignment can be chosen which takes into account impact of a tsunami (a variable which was NOT taken into account in earlier studies). After the PMO brought this up, the minimum that should have been done is to ask NEERI and NIOT to go back to the drawing board and return with their views. This was NOT done. This is an act of criminal negligence on the part of the GOI and other authorities managing the project. It is shocking that the commentator should be backing such criminality of gigantic proportions endangering the lives of present and future generations.

The fact is startk and simple. After the tsunami of Dec. 26, 2004, the entire project should have been re-evaluated because the seabed had been shown to have risen by upto 200 meters in some places. Such was the impact of the 9.0 plate tectonic with epicenter in Aceh.

It is unfortunate that comments are being made in plenty without first checking out allt the feasibility studies and computer simulations related to tsunami. I find it reprehensible that reputations are sought to be smeared. I am sure Dr. Tad S. Murthy will be able to defend himself in any scientific forum, as he did in an international conference held on the subject of tsunami. I will anyday go by the guidance of someone who has studied tsunami for over 20 years.

Tsunami computer simulation (powerpoint show)
http://sarasvati95.googlepages.com/tsunami.pps

Because shoaling effects are what make the Tsunamis extreme, detailed information of the coastline is essential…
The same gif image is available in video format at http://www.dhisoftware.com/general/News/Ts...hd01A2_DivX.avi (Can be played using Windows Media Player).
Details are provided in a technical paper presented in an international symposium. http://www.dhisoftware.com/mike21/download...amiPaper_v5.pdf

http://www.dhisoftware.com/general/News/.../index.htm

Frame from a computer animation of the December 26, 2004, Indian Ocean tsunami (animation can be viewed at URL http://staff.aist.go.jp/kenji.satake/animation.gif ). Frame shows the tsunami 10 minutes after it was triggered by the earthquake. Red represents a positive wave (crest arrives first), and blue represents a negative wave (trough arrives first—drawdown warns of approaching crest of tsunami wave). Deeper colors represent larger wave heights. (Note: This model shows a longer wave front than the oblique-perspective model, because the modeler assumed a longer fault rupture as the tsunami trigger. Seismologists are still sifting through the evidence to determine the length of the deep rupture that caused the earthquake and subsequent tsunami.)

Post-Tsunami Field Surveys
By December 31, 2004, six international teams (including Japanese and American teams) had been formed to document the magnitude and effects of the tsunami before the evidence is destroyed. Typically, such teams arrive in the affected areas about one to three weeks after the tsunami occurs. Because this was the largest tsunami in more than 40 years and the area affected is very large, there could be as many as a dozen international teams investigating the tsunami. USGS oceanographer Bruce Jaffe and USGS geologist Bob Morton traveled to Sri Lanka from January 7 to 16 with an international team funded by the National Science Foundation and the USGS to examine inundation areas, estimate wave heights, determine the tsunami's precise arrival time, scour the area for geologic evidence and sedimentary deposits, and examine structural damage. As of this writing, the USGS had also been invited to have scientists participate in post-tsunami surveys in India, Thailand, and Sumatra.
Ideally, post-tsunami surveys will include both a quick response focusing on ephemeral evidence and a later response (possibly in February or March) focusing on tsunami sedimentation and erosion. The quick response will include measurements of water levels, inundation distances (horizontal distance from the shoreline to the farthest inland reach of the tsunami), and indicators of the tsunami's flow direction and flow velocity. The later response will focus on the sediment deposited by the tsunami: whether it has characteristics that reflect those of the tsunami itself, such as its height, power, and extent; how much of the sediment is likely to be preserved in the geologic record; and how much is likely to be eroded away. The more we learn about sedimentary deposits from modern tsunamis, the more accurately we can identify and decipher sedimentary deposits from ancient tsunamis. Because scientists cannot yet predict when a tsunami will occur, learning to read a geologic record of past tsunamis may be one of the only ways to assess future risk.
USGS scientists have conducted such studies of sediment deposited by recent tsunamis in Papua New Guinea (tsunami of 1998, see Preliminary Analysis of Sedimentary Deposits from the 1998 PNG Tsunami) and Peru (tsunami of 2001, see Preliminary Analysis of Sedimentary Deposits from the June 23, 2001 Peru Tsunami ). They are working to determine how sediment layers deposited by tsunamis differ from those deposited by large storms, such as hurricanes, to aid identification of tsunami deposits in the geologic record (see Sound Waves article "Group Aims to Distinguish Tsunami Deposits from Large-Storm Deposits in the Geologic Record").
Tsunami Information on the Web
Many Web sites have information about the Indian Ocean tsunami and tsunamis in general. Here are a few particularly useful ones:
• USGS Northern Sumatra Earthquake event page: http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqcenter/eqin...04/usslav/
• USGS site, with basic tsunami information: http://walrus.wr.usgs.gov/tsunami/basics.html
• Pacific Marine Environmental Lab (PMEL): http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/tsunami/home.html
• Russian Tsunami Laboratory: http://tsun.sscc.ru/tsulab/20041226.htm
• UNESCO site, with animation and links to additional news stories: http://ioc.unesco.org/itsu/
• International Research Institute for Climate Prediction site, with scientific background on the Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami: http://iri.columbia.edu/~lareef/tsunami/
• USGS Circular 1187, "Surviving a Tsunami—Lessons from Chile, Hawaii, and Japan" (also available in Spanish): http://pubs.usgs.gov/circ/c1187/
• USGS site addressing the question "Can it happen here in the United States?": http://earthquake.usgs.gov/eqcenter/eqinth...slav/canit.html (summarized in article "Could It Happen Here?," this issue)
The sixteen detailed queries raised by PMO (Prime Minister’s Office) on 8 March 2005 and the observations provided (30 June 2005, that is the date the information was posted on the government website) by Tuticorin Port Trust) are cited at the following URL in the official website of Sethusamudram Corporation:

http://sethusamudram.gov.in/Prime.asp

This is attached as Annex 1.

Prof. Tad S. Murthy of Canada raised serious concerns on the devastation of Kerala through the proposed canal which will suck in the next tsunami waves if the present alignment is retained. The responses, again provided by Tuticorin Port Trust are attached in Annex 2. (This Annex is reproduced from URL http://sethusamudram.gov.in/TedArticle.asp

This note deals with the following issues:

1. Questions raised by Prime Minister’s Office
2. Questions raised by Tamilnadu Pollution Control Board
3. Questions raised by tsunami expert Prof Tad S Murthy
4. Questions related to impact on aquatic environment of Gulf of Mannar
5. Questions related to social impact on livelihoods of coastal people (not covered by impact analyses)
6. Impact on sentiments of the people based on tradition of Ramar bridge

1. Questions raised by Prime Minister’s Office

The timing of the response by Tuticorin Port Trust is significant. After two days, the SSCP (Sethusamudram Canal Project) was inaugurated at Madurai.

There is no indication if NEERI was asked to review its 2004 environmental impact analysis.

There is also no indication if NEERI was asked to respond to PMO’s observations of 8 March 2005.

It is strange that Tuticorin Port Trust was asked to respond to PMO’s queries. The correct agency should have been NEERI under the agreement entered into between Govt. of India and NEERI. See the terms of agreement with NEERI at http://sethusamudram.gov.in/Terms.asp

The answers of the Tuticorin Port Trust which formed the basis for inaugurating the project on July 2, 2005 are apparently prepared by a private company, Dr.P.Chandramohan of Indomer Hydraulics Pvt.Ltd., Chennai. The possible conflict of interests in engaging a potential contractor/consultant in making such an evaluation is a matter of concern impacting on the impartiality and objectivity of the answers provided. On such a serious concern raised by PMO, the evaluation of the impact of a tsunami on the canal project has been irresponsibly and haphazardly managed. All the PMO’s concerns should have been referred to NEERI and the NEERI should have been asked to re-evaluate the two principal issues: 1. impact of another tsunami on the canal as aligned; 2. impact on the ocean currents by the choice of dumping areas for the dredged materials. These two issues were NOT evaluated by NEERI because the final alignment was not known to NEERI and tsunami struck on 26 December 2004, an event which was taken into account in the earlier evaluation report of NEERI.

The haste with which Tuticorn Port Trust was asked to respond to PMO’s queries raises serious questions on the violation of the process instituted by the Government in conducting an unbiased and objective evalution by a competent agency. The competence of Tuticorin Port Trust in answering all the 14 queries raised by PMO is unclear. This violation of due process raises serious questions on the viability of the entire project.

2. Questions raised by Tamilnadu Pollution Control Board

An Expert Committee appointed by Tamilnadu Pollution Control Board had pointed out shortcomings in the National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) Report. http://sethunews.blogspot.com/

3. Questions raised by Prof. Tad S. Murthy

Similarly the concerned raised by the tsunami expert Prof Tad S Murthy should have been referred to NEERI for review and response.

In a recent response, Prof. Murthy of Canada has further mentioned that he mentioned about his concerns to the Chairman of SSCP, Mr. Raghupathy and assumed that as a senior IAS officer Mr. Raghupathy would have taken his concerns into account. There is no indication if Mr. Raghupathy reported these issues to the authorities concerned and organized for a scientific technical re-evaluation of the entire project and in particular, its alignment in view of the serious nature of the observation of Prof. Murthy that the next tsunami will devastate Kerala coastline if the canal is not re-aligned to avoid sucking in the next tsunami waves.

The possibility of a next tsunami are very real. There is a high probability that plate tectonic events (subduction of Indian plate under Burmese plate) will continue resulting in another tsunami. This has been confirmed by scientific simulation models. In Japan and Hawaii, tsunami are regular events and Japan has taken measures by raising high protection walls along the coastline. In a situation where the Sethu bridge (Adam’s bridge) served as a natural protective wall during the last tsunami of Dec. 26, 2004, it will be a serious breach of trust and an impending disaster to the coastline of Bharatam. A re-evaluation of the project should be undertaken immediately and the work on SSCP should be suspended until such evaluation is carried out through world’s reputed experts.

Another serious area of concern is the fact that while Panama and Suez canals are canals dug out of land areas, the SSCP is proposed to be constructed within the sea. There is no experience anywhere in the world for such a canal within the sea. It is submitted that Tuticorin Port Trust is NOT the competent authority to provide answers to PMO’s queries. Expert opinions should be obtained on the implications of building a canal within the sea, particularly in a region where the seabed has been raised by half because of the continuous accumulation of shoals brought in the ocean currents.

The impact on the flow of the ocean currents which have an effect on climate and monsoon cycles by the creation of a canal should also be evaluated. There is no indication that NEERI has undertaken such an impact analysis. There are not enough studies on the ocean currents in the region and their effects on the monsoon systems created by the inter-tropical convergence zone around Taiwan which results in regular storms and cyclones all along the Bay of Bengal coastline with repeated damages caused in the coastline of Andhra Pradesh and Orissa..

4. Impact of the project on aquatic environment

A rapid assessment on corals of Gulf of Mannar after the tsunami was made by Dr. JK Patterson Edward. This is available at http://sethusamudram.gov.in/PeterArticle.asp This report concludes that the tsunami did NOT significantly impact the corals.

But this report does not provide any analysis of the impact of the project on aquatic environment with particular reference to the conch-shell diving industry which is the major industry in the Keezhakkarai group of 7 islands.

5.Questions related to social impact of SSCP not covered by impact analyses

What impact the SSCP will have on the livelihood of the shell-divers is unclear from the reports made available so far. Similar impact analysis on the livelihood of fisher folk and other people dependent upon the marine resources has NOT been included in the impact analyses.

This leads to the imperative of the evaluating the sociological impact and impact on the livelihoods of the coastal people dependent on the coastline and the marine resources. What impact the SSCP will have on the area available for fishing and other aquatic industries is not clearly indicated in the impact analyses reports.

6.Impact on sentiments of the people based on tradition of Ramar bridge

In a 1747 map prepared by Netherlands, Ramancoil was shown near Dhanushkodi island. In a 1788 map prepared by Joseph Banks (available in Saraswati Mahal Library, Tanjavur), Rama temple and Ramar Bridge were shown. In a 1804 map produced by Rennel (First Surveyor General of India), the name Ramar Bridge was changed to Adam’s Bridge.

The fact which is clear from these historical maps is that there was a bridge and that this was associated with Sri Rama according to the Bharatiya tradition since place names are normally assigned by the local people. The maps are based on such information gathered from local people about place and monument names.

The NASA images clearly establish a land bridge between Dhanushkodi island (Rameshwaram side) and Talaimannar island (Srilanka side). This bridge is composed of a series of islands and shoals (sand accumulations created by ocean currents). Thus, the entire bridge right from the sea-bed to the surface sea level is a bridge formation which has been recognized as a land bridge linking the two regions: Bharatam and Srilanka. To what extent there was manual intervention in connecting the gaps between the shoals and islands during the pre-historic periods as detailed in the ancient texts such as Ramayanam is a matter for detailed marine archaeological and geological evaluation. The reports of submergence of Kumarikandam, Poompuhar, Dwaraka along the coastline and the formation of the Gulf of Khamba about 10000 years ago (confirmed by scientists of National Institute of Ocean Technology) point to the possibility that the recent historical record of submergence of Dhanushkodi island should provide for a pause and re-evaluation of the impact of the ocean currents and changes in sea-level on the coastline and also on the SSCP. Such a multi-disciplinary archaeological-geological-aquatic environment study should be undertaken respecting the sentiments of the people who has looked upon the bridge as a land-link between Bharatam and Srilanka. The fact that India is described in Government logo as Aasetu himachala paryantam, the fact that the project itself is called Sethusamudram canal project (Sethu means bridge), confirms the tradition related to the bridge. Hurting the sentiments of the people who revere Sri Rama as a divinity and personification of dharma will be a serious breach of trust and utter disdain for peoples’ sentiments. In fact, the SSCP should be reconsidered and the pros-and-cons of reactivating the land bridge between Srilanka and Bharatam should be considered afresh. A bridge may be more beneficial for both countries than a canal. The canal has limited draught and will NOT provide for the movement of large-sized tankers of the carrying capacity of, say, 2 million tones of fuel oils from the Persian Gulf region. The canal may have only a limited use for very small naval vessels. The impact on coast guard to secure the sea-lanes has also to be evaluated. The most serious concern is that this is an experimental project for constructing a canal within the ocean, and will be unprecedented in the history of navigation. Should Bharatam undertake such a high risk project with questionable value to both Bharatam and Srilanka. The authorities should set up a high-level, multi-disciplinary panel including representatives from the people of the region to re-evaluate the project, remembering that the British regime chose NOT to construct this project and instead used the railways to carry bulk commodities from the coal and iron-ore belts to the coastal cities like Chennai, Mumbai and Tuticorin. Even the Tuticorin projects will get their sulphur-free-coal imported from Australia and the canal will not carry naval vessels carrying such imports and certainly not the fuels imported from the Gulf region.

Above all this is the imperative of compassion, respect for tradition. IT is as important a variable in decision-making as the mathematical gimmicks of tsunami wave spans.

k


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Sethusamudram Project Facts Vs. Myth - by Guest - 03-10-2007, 09:02 PM
Sethusamudram Project Facts Vs. Myth - by Guest - 03-11-2007, 01:00 AM
Sethusamudram Project Facts Vs. Myth - by Guest - 03-11-2007, 01:43 AM
Sethusamudram Project Facts Vs. Myth - by Guest - 03-11-2007, 02:31 AM
Sethusamudram Project Facts Vs. Myth - by Guest - 03-11-2007, 07:31 AM
Sethusamudram Project Facts Vs. Myth - by Guest - 03-11-2007, 08:59 AM
Sethusamudram Project Facts Vs. Myth - by Guest - 03-11-2007, 10:02 AM
Sethusamudram Project Facts Vs. Myth - by Guest - 03-11-2007, 01:25 PM
Sethusamudram Project Facts Vs. Myth - by Guest - 03-11-2007, 03:27 PM
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Sethusamudram Project Facts Vs. Myth - by Guest - 03-12-2007, 01:24 AM
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Sethusamudram Project Facts Vs. Myth - by Guest - 03-13-2007, 10:37 AM
Sethusamudram Project Facts Vs. Myth - by Guest - 03-15-2007, 12:34 AM
Sethusamudram Project Facts Vs. Myth - by Guest - 03-22-2007, 07:59 AM

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