I was about six years old when my father embarked on the project . Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project, when completed, will transform. EIA Full Report of Neeri on Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project - Free ebook download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read book online for free. 16 Risk modeling and analysis done for Sethusamudram . 16 Contingency Plan envisaged in the Sethusamudram project 17

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The Sethusamudram Shipping. Canal Project (SSCP) is an off- shore shipping canal project in the Palk Bay. It plans to cut short the distance navigated by ships . Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project was initiated by ministry of system/files/ Sethusamudram Ship Channel is proposed to be constructed connecting the Bay of This project is a km long shipping canal, and envisages the creation.

There is a Bay formation immediately on the northern side of Valinokkam. No beach is present especially during high tide Kilakarai. A narrow and flat beach is noticed near Sethukarai with the abundance of algae along the coastline.

Loveson and Rajamanickam , have identified a spit growth near Pariyapattinam. They described well-developed hooked nature spit extending southeast and connecting the main land in southwest direction. This formation of spit extending southeast and connecting the main land in southwest direction indicated seaward progradation of the coast between Tuticorin and Mandapam.

Wave cut cliff is seen at places like Valinokkam, Sethukarai and Mandapam. Very low and narrow sandy beach is noticed between Kalimangundu and Vedalai loveson, Sea is found to be very calm in this region. Wave cut platform is once again noticed along the coast of Vedalai. A patch of rocks is observed along the coast between Mandapam camp and Mandapam tip.

Agrawal observed that the area between Mandapam tip and Pamban Island is attributed to a sand spit later emerging as a high water land. The coastline between Mukkaiyur and Mandapam is totally protected from northeast monsoon waves.

Chandrasekar et al.

The presence of three offshore islands viz. The stretch of shoreline around Rameswaram Island exhibits distinct variation Loveson, The central zone of the northern part of Rameswaram is made up of undulatory sandy bodies with a relief upto 21 m above Mean Sea Level MSL. This area is partially covered with huge dunes. Northern part of Rameswaram Island is occupied by raised coral plain.

Characteristically, this zone is flat with dead corals and numerous minor circular depressions. These depressions are liable to get filled with water during rainy season and is entirely devoid of vegetation. Huge sand dues of medium grain and white sands are found in the central part of the island.

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Dune patterns are well developed by the active Aeolian processes, resulting in the migration of dunes with frequent changes in their shapes and patterns from time to time but generally trends due east to west. The sand sheet covers the southwestern zone of the island.

Within this unit, on the western part, localized sand mound of about 19 m height is noted Loveson, The beach zones in this area are broader with wide inter tidal zones. The tail portion of Rameswaram occupying the southeastern part of the island has coral swampy plain, which is considered to be of recent in age. This vast flat and low-lying plain, which is considered to be of recent in age. This vast flat and low lying plain is essentially composed of thin sheet of silt and clay materials in which coral fragments are impregnated.

Invariably, this zone is often inundated by seawater during high tides, monsoons and storm seasons. At east, a long sand spit of about 20 km length is formed up to Arimunai and it tends to grow longer and wider. The width of this sand spit which is about 2 km near Uthalai, reduced to Arimunai and it tends to grow longer and wider.

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The width of this sand spit which is about 2 km near Uthalai, reduced to m at Mukkuperiyar, at Dhanushkodi and m at just east of Arimunai and coverages on tip at Arimunai.

The beach berm is found to be highly elevated along the sand spit bordering Gulf of Mannar, but very low and flat along the side bordering Palk Bay.

There is a marked depression in the sand spit level between Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar between Dhanushkodi and Arimunai. Due to such level difference, the water overflows during spring tide particularly from Bay carrying the fine sediment to the backshore regions. Coral reefs also contribute by recycling the tremendous amount of scarce nutrients of the waters, besides reducing the CO 2.

While it might have taken thousands of years to form the sustained system of coral reefs in the Sethusamudram region, sadly it would hardly take any time to kill the live coral systems with an oil spill. There is a vast and diverse range of expert opinions on the exact nature of impact upon the Coral reefs from an oil spill.

There are many studies available that have analyzed the impacts. One of the best or rather worst examples of such spills comes from the Bahia Las Minas crude oil spill in Panama. Guzman et al. Study observes that at the oiled reefs, total coral cover decreased by 56 to 76 percent of original, species Acropora palmata nearly disappeared, and the size and diversity of the coral colony itself was significantly decreased.

Research performed in many areas have documented coral mortality, decreased fecundity and recruitment failure in the response to chronic oil pollution.

The EAI has precisely one and fairly simplistic explanation to offer: that the chosen configuration is a few KMs away from the reefs. However, what EAI completely chooses to ignore is that even if the Sethusamudram passage itself might be removed from the reefs, the spill would have a very large probability of being carried by the monsoon currents towards the location of the reefs. As a matter of fact, the EAI itself presents in the report elsewhere the data about the nature of ocean currents, which shows that the dominant water currents in this vicinity predominantly tend to be westerly during the Southwest and Northeast monsoons, which is where the corals are located.

This clearly implies that an oil spillage would in all possibilities get carried to the coral areas under such conditions, and the long term potential impact on the reefs would be profound.

Once again, like the case of corals, EAI of Sethusamudram is disappointingly silent about the impact of oil spills upon the sea turtles. This observation indicates that the proposed canal project may not have any significant adverse impact on the migration and mass nesting of turtles.

Turtles are probably the toughest marine species against any physical impact. No wonder, in the Pauranic narrative of Samudra-Manthana sea-churning , Lord Vishnu takes form of a large Sea Turtle to provide the physical foundation for the act of sea-churning. Indeed, the turtles are surprisingly robust when faced with any physical damage, such as shark attacks or ship strikes etc.

However when it comes to the chemical insults such as oil exposure, sea turtles are known to be extremely sensitive.

They are vulnerable to the effects of oil at all life stages - eggs, post- hatchlings, juveniles, and adults. Several aspects of sea turtle biology and behavior place them at particular risk, including a lack of oil avoidance behavior, indiscriminate feeding in the sea grass beds in vicinity to the proposed channel, and large pre-dive respiratory inhalation needs.

Oil effects on turtles have been observed worldwide to include fatal egg mortality and developmental defects, direct mortality due to oiling in hatchlings, juveniles, and adults; and hazardous impacts to the skin, blood, digestive and immune systems, and salt glands — often leading to slow death.

He notes that masking olfactory cues may not harm a turtle outright, but impairing its ability to properly orient itself can result in a population impact as significant as direct toxicity, perhaps even greater.

Marine turtles are mainly omnivorous and often consume sea grasses and algae. As is the nature of oil spills, if oil sticks to and contaminates the sea grasses or algae, it would greatly impact the turtles.

A oil spill off Panama, for example, trapped oil in sediments of intertidal beds of turtle grass Thalassia testudinum , eventually contaminating and killing the seagrass. As a result, many invertebrates were reported killed over time and many others declined in numbers.

All of these are classified as highly endangered species under the Wildlife Protection Act of Sea cow dugongs are a long living and less reproductive animals, and are severely endangered globally. They are fully herbivorous and feed on sea grass beds. Sethusamudram region has some of the largest feeding grounds for these animals. Since oil spill would almost certainly contaminate the sea grasses, this would lead to the loss of their largest feeding grounds, besides potentially poisoning them through contaminated sea grass feeding.

They have smooth skins but coarse hairs around their mouths which serve as sensors as they search for edible sea grasses.

If surfacing near oil slicks with the head out to breathe, dugongs may foul these sensory hairs and also get oil in their eyes. This could cause inflammation and infections, and in long term could severely affect their ability to feed and breed. Dugongs may also suffer from long term chronic effects such as liver problems if they consume oil droplets or oil- affected sea grasses.

Depending upon the amount and composition of the ingested oil, the effects could range from acute, to subtle, to progressive organ damage.

Aromatics and other low molecular weight hydrocarbons can be absorbed from the intestine and transported via the bloodstream to various target organs within the dugong.

Baleen whales are particularly vulnerable to oil while feeding. They plunge, take in huge quantities of water, and then filter out their feed of plankton and krill. While doing so, oil may stick to the baleen while they "filter feed" near oil slicks. Researchers have also indicated that inhalation of oil droplets, vapours and fumes is a possibility if whales surface near slicks to breathe.

Exposure to oil in this way could damage mucous membranes, damage airways or even cause death. This is because the oil spills invariably result in the death of a large number of sea birds, which are very sensitive to both internal and external effects of oil.

Sea birds have a huge risk of contact to spilled oil because of the amount of time they spend on or near the surface of the sea and on oil affected foreshores.

Sea birds are affected by oil in several ways.

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Contact with oils causes feathers to collapse and matt and change the insulation properties of feathers and down. Matting of feathers severely hampers the ability of birds to fly. Oiled feathers also make the seabirds lose buoyancy, and as a result they sink and drown. Due to this, many also become easy prey to the predators. A breakdown in the water-proofing and thermal insulation provided by the feathers also often causes hypothermia.

Many species are susceptible to the toxic effects of inhaled oil vapors. They also get poisoned or intoxicated through the ingestion of oil via their prey since their food chain would become almost certainly contaminated. Scientists have also observed developmental effects in bird embryos that were exposed to oil. Long-term reproductive problems have been shown in some studies in animals that have been exposed to oil. Out of this, about , fisher-folk from 23, families live in about 70 fishing villages in the direct neighborhood of the Sethusamudram project area.

The fish production has been reported to be gradually increasing year on year, and a production of about 2,05, tons was recorded in There is also a sizeable population that depends upon Sacred Shankha related livelihood.

It must be noted that Shankha of these seas fetch many times more price than from any other place in the Indian Ocean. Oil spills would result in the most obvious tainting of fish, resulting in complete contamination of the food chain upon which the fisher-folk depend. In most cases, loss of sales would also result because even if the fish are clean, they would be presumed to be tainted by the market, if spill happens anywhere in the region.

Their access to the waters might be completely or partly restricted for weeks, when the containment efforts in response to spill would happen, leading to loss of income. It is also very common for fishing to be banned for some time in the entire neighboring region of a spill, so as to regain the market confidence. Oil spills are known to also damage the fishing nets and gear too, with varying scale.

In longer economic cycle, the variation of income of the fishermen is largely tied to the reproduction of the fishes in the region. Unfortunately oil spills have a very severe impact upon the reproduction of the fish.

Although fish are at risk in all life stages, but the eggs, larvae and young fish are very sensitive to oil. There are at least commercially important fish species reported in these waters, of varying breeding behaviour as well as habitats like the open sea, near-shores, coral reefs, estuaries or mangroves.

Since these habitats function as essential nursery breeding grounds for many fish species, their exposure to oil spills would result in lower productivity of fisheries, and therefore impact the income. In all, an oil spill would be devastating to fisher-folk, an already impoverished and most marginalized community of Tamil Nadu, and even that is an understatement. The goals of biodiversity conservation and livelihood security of the local people need to be placed at the centre of all decision making, pertaining to development or economic considerations of revenue generation.

In a country like India, where a large number of people are dependent on natural resources for their survival, social dimensions of livelihood and ecological security ought to be incorporated.

In case of an Oil spill, it would be very possible for the spillage to cross over to the Sri Lankan waters, and expose Sethusamudram authority to international responsibility, liability, and litigations. An oil spill of large proportions would also certainly evoke a major diplomatic response from the neighbouring nation, and pose the risks of negative impacts upon bilateral relations. Response to contain the spill should invariably involve joint Indo-Sri Lankan coordination and monitoring, although the project reports do not propose any of such measures, shocking as it seems.

These overheads and concerns have been totally overlooked in the project specifications. Planning for the response to oil spill disasters must practically start in the very beginning of the planning for a shipping channel, strait, port or passage. In all the right senses, it must be one of the critical criteria to evaluate the very viability of any such proposal.

Disaster management must begin with a systematic assessment and modeling of the oil spill risk profile of the proposed project, and followed by building preventive measures; Laying out the contingency response strategy; Response infrastructure preparation and establishment of operational control.

With these emerging methodologies, it has become possible for the planners of shipping infrastructure to be able to predict and statistically determine the oil spill risks involved.

He also presented the case studies of applying the methodology for oil spill risk profiling of shipping passages at Cretan Sea in Greece and at Gulf of Mexico. Considering the grave potential consequences to the unique ecology of Sethusamudram, it is natural to expect that the SSCP authorities must have employed a thorough systematic methodology of oil spill risk profiling, like the one just described. However, going through the Environmental Impact Assessment EIA report of the proposed project, it becomes astonishingly and disappointingly evident, that none of such risk modeling or determination techniques have been considered or discussed, much less employed.

Page During the operation phase of the channel, the potential sources of marine pollution are spillage of oil and grease […] from the sea-borne vessels hence impacts due to such wastes are to be assessed.

EIA Full Report of Neeri on Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project

Page The Naval Staff of the Coast Guard Station at Mandapam are of the view that the implementation of the project will increase the potential for oil spill in the navigation canal.

They also suggested that the above problem could be overcome by enanting sic a low sic by which any ship navigating through the canal and causing oil spill would not be allowed to use the canal in future. Page Spillage of oil and grease, rust and metallic wastes due to wear and tear, marine litter, float, including plastic bags, discarded articles would be the major pollutants.

Unfortunately, it fails to present any quantitative or qualitative discussion on oil spill risk specifications at all. No methodological, statistical, systematic risk modeling; no consequence assessment; no probability determination; no spill size, type, or frequency prediction; no simulation modeling of spillage trajectory or speed etc.

Clearly, EAI does not consider the oil spill risks and consequences as something that must be assessed as a prerequisite to determining the ecological viability of the Channel. To the contrary, EAI seems to have considered the channel as a fait accompli, and is only concerned half- heartedly as we shall note subsequently about discussing what can now be done about spills that might eventually take place anyways.

EAI even fails to put on record the fact that this very region has been classified by NOS-DCP as one of the 10 priority areas of Indian coastline for oil spill disaster management and control. What really amazes one are the glaring pieces of typing mistakes in the EAI e. EAI, which is the very foundation of the project viability, is supposed to be an extremely serious document for the policy makers, and expected to have been submitted only after careful rounds of grilling reviews and due diligence.

One naturally wonders: has anyone in authority, worth the mention, ever reviewed the four-hundred-and-twenty-seven pages of this document since it was first drafted? However, if EAI failed to present any oil spill risk profiling of the proposed channel, the efforts of drawing a contingency plan are equally absent.

EAI says: 7. This means that the oil spill contingency plan did not exist when EAI was presented and based upon which the project was approved by the Cabinet.

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The oil spill contingency plan in operation at TPT will be extended to navigation in new channel. The uncertainty about the contingency plan alone should be alarming enough. There are two serious flaws in this boastful presumption. First, it lays bare that the authors of EAI have not done enough research into the nature of the oil spills.

If they would have done it, they would know that rather than the oil ships, the most damaging oil spill accidents in the recent years have involved cargo vessels.

We quote researchers Meche Lu and Mark Chernaik on this subject [32]: Although spills of oil from tankers garner intense media coverage, spills of fuel oil from cargo vessels, which are more frequent, accounts for a large portion of the environmental damage resulting from accidental oil spills involving mechanized shipping. In the past 10 years, some of the most environmentally damaging accidental oil spills have involved cargo vessels, not oil tankers. Secondly, EAI proposes that the spill management required for a port would be sufficient for a channel.

This is an ill-founded and disastrous assumption, because a channel involves entirely different scale of oil spill risks, nature of response operation and tactics, and therefore needs substantially different response capabilities from that at a port. Indian polity revised ed. New Delhi: Lotus Press. Google Scholar John, J. Sethusamudram canal: An expensive voyage?

Economic and Political Weekly, July 21, — Google Scholar Lankanewspapers. LTTE wants to halt Sethu or recognition as defacto state [online]. Evaluation of environmental impact assessment for the proposed Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project. Eugene: Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide. Google Scholar Nakhandala, S. Sethusamudram project — Sri Lankan perceptions. In: E. Suryanarayan Eds. Kozhikode: University of Calicut. Google Scholar Paleri, P.

Sethusamudram ship canal project: An appraisal. Google Scholar Ramesh, R. Sethusamudram shipping canal project. Current Science, 88 4 , 25 Februari, — Google Scholar Rodrigues, V. The communist parties in India. Google Scholar Rodrigues, S. Review of the environmental and economic aspects of the Sethusamudram ship canal project.One of our goals is to ensure our ebooks stay up-to-date with the best reading experience technology can provide.

They plunge, take in huge quantities of water, and then filter out their feed of plankton and krill. The project envisaged a high-level or a swinging bridge at the crossing point to enable the traffic to go through. Its diversity is considered globally significant.

With their suicide squads, it is not beyond LTTE to hold a ship - and effectively the channel itself - hostage and push for demands.