Making a strong pitch for the multi-million rupees Sethusamudram Shipping Canal project, DMK president M Karunanidhi on Monday said such mega size projects will ensure national development and that his cry for its implementation was not aimed at publicity.
Leading state-wide protests of his party from this coastal town demanding implementation of the project, Karunanidhi said the project had been supported by the likes of party founder C N Annadurai.
Even AIADMK founder and former Chief Minister M G Ramachandran had endorsed it but the party under his protégé and Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa was now opposed to it, he said, addressing the protest rally here.
"India is still lacking in many fronts (including sea) transport. Projects like the SSCP will usher in national development (and DMK's demand) for its implementation is not meant for seeking publicity for one party--whether it is me or (VCK founder) Thol.Thirumavalavan," he said.
Thirumavalavan was among those who attended the protest and was seated near the 90 year-old DMK patriarch.
Karunanidhi said the implementation of the project would ensure bigger ports and related activities in the existing facilities in Nagapattinam, Vedaranyam and Cuddalore and argued that it will benefit future generations of the state.
Narrating an anecdote, he said he was planting a seed today so that the future generation could enjoy its fruits and vowed to continue his struggle for the project to be implemented. Sethusamudram project is aimed at constructing a shorter navigational route around India's southern tip by breaching the Rama Sethu, built by Lord Rama to reach demon king Ravana's kingdom, Lanka.
The project has been put on hold after petitions were filed in the Supreme Court opposing demolition of Rama Sethu. Tamil Nadu Government had pleaded with the Supreme Court that the project be scrapped as it would adversely affect marine biodiversity and the Centre be directed to declare Rama Sethu as a national monument.
Meanwhile, fishermen in the coastal areas of Tuticorin held a demonstration against implementation of the project. If the project was implemented, it would affect their livelihood badly and only help big trawling companies, they alleged.