India, Sri Lanka agree to monitor environmental impact of canal project

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 03 August 2005, 11:24 GMT]
During the second round of Technical Level Discussions held between India and Sri Lanka on the Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project in New Delhi on 1st August 2005, the sides agreed to “an arrangement to share relevant data …. which could enable them to assess and monitor the environmental impact of the project," said a press release issued by the Sri Lanka Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Colombo Wednesday.

The Indian delegation was led by Mr. D.T. Joseph, Secretary to the Government of India responsible for the Department of Shipping. The Sri Lanka delegation was headed by Mr. A. Hewage, Advisor to the Ministry of Ports and Aviation.

The text of the Agreed Note as issued at the end of the discussions under the joint signatures of the two Heads of delegation, quoted in the press release follows:


  • In accordance with the mandate of the President of Sri Lanka and Prime Minister of India, a meeting of technical experts on the Sethusamudram Ship Channel Project took place in New Delhi on August 1, 2005.
  • The technical delegations agreed that the purpose of the discussion was to develop a common understanding of the environmental concerns with a view to addressing them. Specific discussions were held in respect of the following:-
    1. Hydrodynamic Modeling assumptions behind the project.
    2. Environmental measures for the sustainability of the marine ecosystem within the Canal and its adjacent areas.
    3. Possible impact on fisheries resources and fisheries dependent communities.
    4. Measures to cope with Navigational Emergencies.
  • Indian side made available the:
    1. Detailed Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) prepared by NEERI,
    2. Detailed Project Report,
    3. Details of modeling studies.
  • During discussions both sides discussed concerns relating to environmental aspects of the project which could affect Sri Lanka. Both sides agreed to an arrangement to share relevant data for this purpose which could enable them to assess and monitor the environmental impact of the project.
  • Sri Lankan authorities will examine the details provided by the Indian side and make available additional requests for information prior to further discussions. Technical level discussions to arrive at a common understanding for addressing environmental concerns will continue and the next meeting of experts will be held at a mutually convenient time shortly."


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