statesman news service
Chennai, 8 July
DMK chief Mr M Karunanidhi launched a state-wide agitation today  demanding implementation of the multi-million rupee Sethusamudram Shipping Canal project.
Mr Karunanidhi led the agitation at Nagapattinam, while his son and DMK Treasurer Mr M K Stalin led the protests at Tuticorin. His daughter Ms Kanimozhi, and other senior party members led the protest at places like Cuddalore, Kanyakumari and Puthukottai.
However, Mr Alagiri, elder son of Mr Karunanidhi chose to stay away from participating in the protest. This was yet another occasion where a rift between Mr Alagiri and Mr Stalin was out in the open.
The party had adopted a resolution on 17 June to hold a series of protests against the ruling AIADMK’s demand to declare Ramasethu, which involves dredging as part of the project, as a national heritage, besides pressing for its immediate implementation.
The Sethusamudram project is aimed at constructing a shorter navigational route around India’s southern tip by breaching the mythological Ram Sethu bridging the southern tip of the country to Sri Lanka.
The project has been put on hold after petitions were filed in the Supreme Court opposing the demolition of Ram Sethu.
The Tamil Nadu government has pleaded with the Supreme Court that the project be scrapped as it would adversely affect marine biodiversity and the Centre be directed to declare Ram Sethu as a national monument.
Where on the one hand, DMK leaders were holding campaign in support of the project, fishermen came down heavily on the DMK stating that their proposed campaign is a mere political stunt for the upcoming Parliamentary elections and the shipping channel project will wipe out the livelihood of the fishermen besides causing ecological damages.