Nine committees were established by the Indian government prior to independence, and five more have been established since then, to recommend alignments for the Sethusamudram canal project. None advised alignment via Adam’s Bridge; the majority supported land-based routes to span Rameswaram Island. Since land routes provide several benefits over cutting 1Adam’s Bridge, the Sethusamudram project committee strongly advised the Union government to use them rather than Adam’s Bridge in 1956.
The Sethusamudram Shipping Canal Project received government approval in 2005 and is expected to cost several millions of dollars. This project proposes to dredge the shallow ocean floor close to Dhanushkodi in order to build a ship route across the Palk Strait. The waterway is anticipated to reduce the distance travelled around Sri Lanka’s island by more than 400 km, or roughly 30 hours of shipping time. The current alignment of this proposed waterway necessitates dredging through Adam’s Bridge.
All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK), Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), Janata Dal (Secular) (JD(S)), and certain Hindu organisations oppose dredging through the shoal on religious grounds, as do the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), AIADMK, RJD, and JD(S) parties. The argument is that the causeway mentioned in the Ramayana is commonly mistaken for Adam’s Bridge. Political parties and organisations recommend a different channel alignment that protects Adam’s Bridge. The then state and federal governments resisted such revisions, but Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam supporter and Union Shipping Minister T. R. Baalu insisted that the current plan was the only one that was both economically and environmentally feasible and that there were no other options.
Concerns over the causeway’s influence on the region’s environment and marine wealth, the potential loss of local thorium deposits, and the increased risk of tsunami damage all contribute to opposition to the project. Some organisations argue that the project was not properly studied before it was started and are opposed to it for economic and environmental reasons.