Jayalalithaa hits out at Baalu over Sethu project
Chennai, (PTI): Criticising Union Shipping Minister, T R Baalu, for his strong reactions to observations made by the Naval Chief on the Sethusamudhram project, AIAMDK supremo J Jayalalithaa on Saturday wondered whether the minister himself "is a marine engineer".
Naval Chief, Admiral Sureesh Mehta, had observed in Chennai last week that the project was "useful only for small ships, and not for the big ships plying on international routes."
Citing media reports on Baalu lodging his protest with Defence Minister A K Antony over this issue, Jayalalithaa said Baalu had "no authority to question technical opinion of the country's Naval chief."
"People are now wondering whether Baalu is a marine engineer. From which college did he pass out marine engineering? Or is he a member in any of the Indian or foreign naval schools or is he a naval engineer," she said in a statement here.
According to media reports, Baalu, in his letter to Antony, had termed Mehta's remarks as "unfortunate".
"Baalu is not the Defence Minister of the country. Only the Cabinet or the Prime Minister can intervene in such issues especially where national security is concerned," she said.
She re-iterated her stand against the Sethusamudram Canal Project (SSCP), saying it would affect the livelihood of fishermen and the project was an effort to destroy a heritage structure.
"It is a useless project for the future," she added.
Earlier, Chief Minister Karunanidhi, a few months ago, had asked whether the Lord Rama was an engineer or obtained an engineering degree from any college when those opposed to dredging of Ramsethu had claimed that the bridge was built by Lord Rama.