Port roads in low gear

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Chennai: Multi-crore projects like the elevated corridor road connecting Madura­voyal with Chennai port and Ennore Manali Road Improvement Project (EMRIP) to ease congestion on port access roads have hit a speed-breaker affecting motorists as well as port development.  
 
A Chennai Port Trust (CPT) trustee noted that the port could only mobilize fund for  projects. “The state government has a equal role to play in implementing the projects,” he said, adding that the EMRIP work is now rescheduled for completion by December 2013.
 
The EMRIP was planned to widen 30 km of road network including Tiruvottiyur-Ponneri-Panchetti (TPP) sector, Ennore Expressway, Manali Oil Refinery Road (MORR) and northern portion of the Inner Ring Road (IRR) from Madhavaram to Manali.
 
“So far we have completed 61 per cent of the works. All components of the project except portions of works in Kasimedu harbour and a bridge across Kosathalaiyar in Napalayam on TPP road will be completed by September,” said a senior official at NHAI.
 
He added that delay in handing over of land in Nalla Thanni Oddai Kuppam and Cherian Nagar affected four-laning of Ennore Expressway. “At present, we are on the verge of completing the widening of the Manali Oil Refinery Road into a six-lane road which handles heavy movement of traffic,” the official said.
 
Regarding the elevated corridor, the official said the project had been put on hold since April 2012 after the state government asked NHAI to stop work due to deviation from the approved alignment. 
 
After failed attempts by Union highways department secretary to hold talks with the state government, NHAI moved the Madras high court seeking its intervention in the issue. “The issue is pending in the court,” the official said refusing to comment on it. 
 
Meanwhile, Trailers’ Owner Association president S. R. Raja pointed out that the EMRIP  work was going on a very slow pace. “It should have been completed long back. At present we take 10 hours to reach port from Container Freight Stations,” he added. 
 
G. Ramya, who lives near the Ernavur Bridge, said roads were always crowded and she found it very dangerous to ride her two-wheeler. 
 
“Without proper connecting roads and with lesser demand projected compared to available supply for the next five years, the need for mega container terminal with four million TEUs capacity is not warranted,” said Chennai Customs House Clearance Agents Asso­ciation president A.V. Vijayakumar.
 

Jawahar dock May handle container cargo
 

North Chennai residents who had complained of dust and congestion due to operation of coal imports now heave a sigh of relief after Chennai Port Trust (CPT) stopped handling dusty cargo, namely coal and iron ore at Jawahar dock.
 
“We are very happy now. Children are doing fine and number of people visiting hospitals for ailments related to dust have come down,” said Earnest Paul, president, Royapuram Residents’ Welfare Association.  
 
Paul, who fought against the mighty port to stop handling dusty cargo at CPT and won a positive judgement from the Madras high court, added that residents are keenly awaiting the Supreme Court judgement. In the meanwhile, CPT chairman Atulya Misra told Deccan Chro­nicle that port authorities are also open to handling container cargo at the empty docks earlier used for import of coal. 
 
“The possibility of using the Jawahar dock for handling container cargo is also being considered. We have asked a consultant to come up with a technical report. As such, it will require no construction work. We only need to get eq­uipment. So, we can ev­en make it operational within a year. But it all depends on the mega container terminal project and also industry response,” he added. 

 

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