On April 11, the union cabinet gave the go-ahead to conservation authorities to sign an mou with international counterparts to protect the dugong and its habitat. Indian efforts to conserve this virtually-unknown sea creature will get international recognition as a result. But this initiative has probably come too late.

A Sin hala scholar's remark that Mahendra, son of Emperor Asoka, reached the island nation by land from South India has further substantiated the existence of Ram Sethu, the controversial structure in the Indian Ocean.

Accusing the US of having ill-inten tions of damaging India's rich thorium deposits and Union minister for shipping and roads T.R. Baalu of having personal interest in the Sethusamudram project, VHP supremo Ashok Singhal on Monday said, Ramsethu will be the "burning issue" in the coming general elections. He demanded that Centre should apologise to Hindus for its "humiliating affidavit" portraying Lord Ram as a fiction. Taking a dig at Mr Baalu's recent embroilment in a controversy, the VHP supremo said that Mr Baalu should start reading the "bad omen" that are happening with him.

Continuing his arguments in the Ramar Sethu case, Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy told the Supreme Court on Thursday that the Sethusamudram Shipping Channel Project would not be economically viable and the whole economic calculation was a "fraud.' Justice Raveendran intervened and said, "Even if it is a foolish project in terms of economics, we can't go into it. How much should be spent, in what manner it should be spent are all matters for the government to decide.' Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan said, "Our jurisdiction is very limited in such matters.'

The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Centre to explore the possibility of an alternative alignment or any other route for the Sethusamudram Shipping Channel Project without damaging Ramar Sethu and to consider whether an archaeological study could be conducted to declare Ramar Sethu a national monument. Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, heading a three-judge Bench, asked senior counsel Fali Nariman, appearing for the Centre, to consider an alternative alignment and said that by this the government could avoid the controversy (of damaging Ramar Sethu).

The Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Centre to consider conducting an archaeological survey to ascertain whether the Ram Sethu can be declared an ancient monument.

The Sethusamudram Shipping Channel Project should be scrapped altogether if the government cannot proceed further without destroying Ramar Sethu (Adam's Bridge), Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy argued in the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Vowing to protect

Fresh attempts on religious grounds to oppose the Sethusamudram project evoked sharp reactions from the Indian Supreme Court, which expressed its displeasure for calling

The BJP pushed the Sethusamudram project it now rails against. Government records reveal just how DARSHAN DESAI