Responding to Sri Lanka`s request to hold the second meeting of experts on the Sethusamudram Ship Canal Project (SSCP) early, as decided at the recently concluded Sri Lanka-India Joint Commission Meeting in Colombo, India has proposed, and Sri Lanka agreed to hold the meeting on August 1 in New Delhi, a Foreign Ministry press release stated.
As part of the continuing dialogue with India on the issue, the Sri Lankan Government has consistently conveyed its concerns relating to the SSCP, particularly in environment and livelihood areas.
Accordingly, the two countries agreed to exchange views at expert level in order to address Sri Lanka`s concerns and reach a common understanding on how to monitor and mitigate any adverse impact on Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lankan delegation to the second expert meeting will include among others, representatives from the National Aquatic Resources agency (NARA), Geological Survey and Mines Bureau, Marine Pollution Prevention Authority (MPPA), Sri Lanka Navy, the Central Environment Authority, Industrial Technology Institute (ITI) as well as other experts. The hydraulic aspects of the project and its impact on marine eco-systems will be among the principal issues that would be taken up at the meeting.
The Inter Ministerial Committee appointed by the Cabinet on the Sethu Samudram Canal Project (SSCP) has also met.
As outlined in Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar`s statement in Parliament on 7th July 2005, Sri Lanka appreciates the constructive attitude and assurances by the political leadership of India, that Sri Lanka`s concerns on SSCP will be fully taken into account.
The Foreign Minister also expressed the hope that in keeping with the political understanding reached at the highest level, the `relevant Indian authorities would pursue these policies by cooperating with the Sri lankan authorities to implement joint monitoring and mitigating measures.`
Sri Lanka believes that the development and protection of the sensitive marine life and eco system in the Palk Bay area is a shared concern to be addressed jointly.
The Government is committed to continuing the process of consultation on the SSCP with the Indian government, the release added.