Tamil Diplomat

India mulls feasibility of bridge over Palk Straight to Sri Lanka

India will carry out a feasibility study on a road link between Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu state and Thalaimannar in Sri Lanka, a federal government minister has said.

“It needs the consent of both countries,” said Union minister of state for road transport, highways and shipping, Pon Radhakrishnan. “The project needs to be discussed at various levels,” according to a brief report by India’s Hindu newspaper.

Radhakrishnan told the reporters that federal government had begun consultations to carry out a feasibility study on various possibilities.

Palk Strait is named after Robert Palk, a British governor of Madras Presidency during the 18th century.

The strait connects the Bay of Bengal in the northeast with Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar in the southwest. However, at its narrowest point, it is studded with a 30km chain of low islands and reef shoals collectively called Adam’s Bridge. One of the Indian islands, Rameswaram, is linked to the mainland by the 2km Pamban Road Bridge that opened in 1988. It runs parallel to the much older Pamban Rail Bridge, which was built in 1914.

In June, Mumbai-based dna newspaper reported that a proposal for providing road and rail link bridging the divide across Palk Strait had been submitted to the Asian Development Bank, for a pre-feasibility study and subsequent financing.

A “makeshift ferry service” now connects the two closest points. Union minister for road transport and highways at the time, Nitin Gadkari, said the link could be a combination of bridge and sea tunnel, dna reported.