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The Supreme Court has fixed April 15 to hear a bunch of petitions challenging government’s controversial Sethusamudram project. The apex court granted time to the petitioners opposing the project to file their replies on Centre’s recent affidavit on the project.

A bench comprising Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan, Justice RV Raveendran and Justice JM Panchal adjourned the case till April 15 on the plea of petitioners.

Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy, who is one of the petitioners, mentioned the matter seeking time to furnish his reply to Centre’s new affidavit on the project.

The Centre on February 29 had filed the affidavit seeking apex court’s clearance to go ahead with the Sethusamudram project as per the planned alignment saying issues of faith cannot be resolved through scientific evidence.

The Centre had said that a committee of eminent persons appointed on October 5, 2007 re-examined the entire Sethusamudram canal project, including the six possible alignments, to conclude that alignment No-6 (Rama Sethu) was the “best alternative.”

Altering the channel alignment at this stage would be “infeasible” as it would lead to huge loses to the public exchequer.

The alignment No-6 (Rama Sethu) is backed by sound environmental, navigational, engineering and trans-boundary considerations.

“Therefore, the assertion that the alignment has been arbitrarily resorted to and other viable alternatives have been deliberately left out for malafide reasons is wrong and baseless,” the affidavit said seeking vacation of the apex court’s interim orders directing not to damage the ‘Rama Sethu’.

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