India to go Ahead with 'Blasphemous' Sea Lane

September 17, 2007

Author: Staff Writer

Source: AFP

The Indian government said Monday it will go ahead with a controversial plan to build a sea lane in the Bay of Bengal despite a storm of protest from Hindus who say it will destroy a sacred site.

India's Premier Manmohan Singh had put a hold on the half-billion-dollar project to dredge the sandy shoals, which Hindus believe were created by the god Ram, following accusations of blasphemy.

But Shipping Minister T. R. Baalu said the government would go to the Supreme Court for permission to continue and was "confident of completing the project at the earliest."

"Work on the dream project was inaugurated by the prime minister on July 2, 2005 and it is under implementation since then," he added.

The project would allow ships to navigate the southern tip of India instead of skirting around Sri Lanka, cutting the journey between the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal by more than 30 hours.