Efforts are on to complete the Rs.600-crore Ennore Manali Road Improvement Project (EMRIP) by June 2013 to tackle perennial congestion problems at the Chennai Port, said Union Shipping Minister G.K. Vasan on Monday.
He, along with the Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways C.P. Joshi, reviewed the progress of two connectivity projects – EMRIP and the Rs.1,655-crore elevated link road from the Chennai Port to Maduravoyal – aimed at improving the evacuation of road bound cargo to and from the Chennai Port, and also road and rail infrastructure.
The foundation stone for the EMRIP was laid on the January 19, 2011 by the Shipping Minister with a 24-month deadline for completion. The project could not take off as the model code of conduct was in force in the State till May 14. Mr. Vasan refused to divulge the details of the progress so far, but said that the next review meeting would be held within three months.
Talking to reporters, Mr. Vasan said that these two projects would be completed within the stipulated time and would remove the congestion at the Chennai Port to a large extent in future.
Regarding surcharges levied by some shipping lines, Mr. Vasan said: “There is no major congestion in the port. We are aware of some shipping lines charging surcharges in different names and we have taken up the matter with the Union Commerce Ministry. Efforts are also on to ask the shipping lines to reduce the charges.”
On Monday, Chennai Port Trust (ChPT) and National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) officials unanimously agreed to complete the elevated link road project on time by raising the issue with the State government officials concerned to clear hurdles such as delay in land acquisition and the payment of compensation to those displaced.
On the widening of the 1.6-km stretch from ChPT zero gate to Kasimedu N4 police station, ChPT Chairman Atulya Misra said: “Top priority is being given to complete this project within six months. The encroachment and the temple near the harbour's main gate will be removed as soon as the work on EMRIP reaches this segment. The Directorate of Fisheries has already completed the enumeration process.”
Mr. Vasan sought Mr. Joshi's help to expedite other NHAI projects that included linking the hinterland of V.O. Chidambaranar Port and Ennore Port and other major ongoing road development projects in the State.
While stating that his Ministry would give due priority either for quick release of funds for the projects or for approvals, he said that's why they invited Mr. Joshi to Chennai.
He also asked Mr. Misra to sort out the problems at the earliest so that completion of work is done as per schedule.
A release from ChPT said that it was developing an eight-lane gate complex at zero gate to hasten the flow of container trailers and other cargo vehicles; co-ordinating with the State government to increase the duration of operating time of gates 2, 2A and 10; and to make gate 5 operational.
Mr. Joshi said that he was satisfied with the progress made by the ChPT on these two major projects and promised full support for their early completion.