There’s only one thing clear about the government’s handling of the Sethusamudram controversy—and that is persistent non-transparency.
For starters, the processes followed in deciding matters of socio-economic and environmental feasibility, surely top priority for a public project, have inspired little confidence. And that feedback was provided to the shipping minister through public channels.
Yet, when it’s time to factor in all rational objections, the process is again cloudy and seems designed more to deter than to welcome citizens arguing their case—mailing curbs have meant more than half don’t even qualify for being heard. There’s also been confusion in the press releases, whether the Sethu committee hearings were to be “public” or “personal”. And why should not the media be allowed to cover the hearings? Or does the government believe it is the media’s fault for the mess it has created?