Why in News?
Archaeological Survey of India(ASI) has approved an underwater research project to ascertain the origins of the Ram Setu.
- About the study: The study will be conducted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) Goa.
- Focus of the study:
- To study the process behind Ram Setu’s formation. It will also look for any submerged habitations around the structure.
- Ram Setu’s age will also be ascertained through the study of fossils and sedimentation. It is to see if it correlates with the Ramayana period.
- Research Vessel: The indigenous research vessel named Sindhu Sadhana will be deployed. It will collect samples of sediment from 35-40 meters below the water level. The vessel can stay underwater for up to 45 days.
- Ram Sethu is also known as Adam’s Bridge or Nala Sethu. It is a 48 km chain of limestone shoals between Pamban Island known as Rameswaram Island on the coast of Tamil Nadu, India, and Mannar Island on the coast of Sri Lanka.
- The bridge separates the Gulf of Mannar (south-west) from the Palk Strait (northeast).
- The bridge holds religious significance. A bridge is mentioned in Ramayana, that Lord Ram and his army built to reach Lanka. The location of the Lanka of the Ramayana has been widely interpreted as being current day Sri Lanka and bridge as Ram Sethu.
Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project:
- It is a shipping canal project proposed by the UPA government in 2005. The project aims to link the Arabian Sea with the Bay of Bengal. For this, a channel passing through the limestone shoals of Ram Setu was to be dredged in the Sethusamudram sea between Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka.
- However, the project was not implemented after opposition by environmental groups as well as by the BJP. They said that the project would damage the Ram Setu.
Source: Indian Express