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Sethusamudram project dredging cost will go up, says scientist

Special Correspondent

Re-survey of the depth and the nature of sediments is emphasised by Rajamanickam If the pre-tsunami dredgers approach this now, they would find a quite contrasting change in the nature of the present sediment.

THANJAVUR: Geomorphologist and mineralogist . Victor Rajamanickam has said that the post- tsunami situation should be taken into account while planning dredging for the Sethusamudram project.

He told The Hindu here on Friday that the dredging level would go high because at least half to one metre of sediment must have been deposited at the Palk Strait by the tsunami.

"When you cross the Palk Strait, the previous bathymetry of 10 metres would only be nine now. So to reach a maximum of 12 metres bathymetry, you would have to remove one more metre of the sediment. This would definitely lead to cost escalation of the project. The total quantum of sediment to be removed now would only be more than the pre-tsunami estimates," he explained.

He is the Head of the Department of Disaster Management, Shanmugha Arts Science Technology and Research Academy (SASTRA)-Deemed University. Prof. Rajamanickam emphasised that a resurvey of the present depth and also the nature of the sediments that the tsunami had brought in was a must. Tsunami had brought in a new stratum of sediments.

If the pre-tsunami dredgers approach this now, they would find a quite contrasting change in the nature of the present sediment.

"Hence it is always advisable for having a quick look of the seabed now existing after the tsunami."

It was also a must to assess the expenditure column and the time it was going to take for dredging in this changed scenario, he added.

The scientist is also of the opinion that churning (of the seabed by the tsunami) must have happened. .

"It should be remembered here that the Palk Bay seabed is only a temporary seabed— I mean not a consolidated one. It is a seabed made up of dumped sediments. So the entire dumped sediments to the tune of nearly about six to seven metres should have been churned up by the refracted tsunami waves. This I feel will take a longer time to settle down in Palk bay particularly," he said. He also cautioned that one should be careful in choosing the dumping sites.

The presently chosen depths of 30 to 40 metres as the dumping sites, any monsoon will be able to disturb, leave alone cyclones or tsunami. So dumping sites should be taken deep into the sea.

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