Geoheritage value of Ram Setu

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    In News

    Recently, the Supreme Court (SC) gave the Centre four weeks’ time to file a response clarifying its stand on a plea seeking national heritage status for the ‘Ram Setu’.

    About Ram Setu

    • Linear coral ridge also called Adam’s Bridge
    • Separates the shallow sea consisting of the Gulf of Mannar in the south and Palk Bay in the north.
    • Runs between Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu and Thalaimannar in Sri Lanka.

    Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project (SSCP) 

    • History: The British proposed creating a channel to link the Palk Strait with the Gulf of Mannar
    • Inaugurated in: 2005
    • The SSCP, if completed, is expected to considerably reduce the navigation time between the east and west coasts of India.
    • Concerns:
      • The central, eastern and north-eastern parts of the Palk Bay may be impacted by waves of higher energy. 
      • The area is also vulnerable to cyclonic storms
      • Finding safe places for dumping dredged material without harming terrestrial or marine ecosystems 
      • Threatened by discharge from thermal plants, brine run-off from salt pans, and illegal mining of corals. 

    Need for Protection

    • The coral reef platforms between Thoothukudi and Rameswaram in the Gulf of Mannar were notified as a marine biosphere reserve in 1989. 
    • More than 36,000 species of flora and fauna reportedly live there, flanked by mangroves and sandy shores which are considered conducive for turtles to nest. 
    • This is also a breeding ground for fish, lobsters, shrimps and crabs. 
    • Of the 600 recorded varieties of fish in the region, 70 are said to be commercially important. 

    Source: TH