Delay in completion of road connectivity projects: Chennai Port Chairman takes it up with Chief Secretary
With the actual beneficiaries of port connectivity projects – exporters, importers, trade bodies and Chambers of Commerce – still dilly-dallying over taking up the inordinate delay in completion of such projects with the Tamil Nadu State Government authorities, Chennai Port Trust, another equally important partner in the EXIM trade, has wrote a detailed letter to the State Chief Secretary, Ms. Sheela Balakrishnan, to speed up them.
According to EXIM experts, it was a welcome move from the Chennai Port management to draw the State Government’s attention on the undue delays in completion of port connectivity projects.
Moreover, a letter requesting for intervention from port management to the State Government’s top authority carries more weightage than the normal one.
In a detailed letter on Ennore Manali Road Improvement Project (EMRIP) to State Chief Secretary, Mr. Atulya Misra, Chairman, Chennai Port Trust, recalled the importance of the project and mentioned about the work that is yet to be taken up or completed by the State Government agencies.
EMRIP is being implemented by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for upgrading connectivity to Chennai and Ennore Ports to the National Highway Network.
This project, in addition to benefitting Chennai Port, would also relieve traffic congestion in North Chennai.
During the course of inspection of the project roads with NHAI, Revenue, TNRDC, CMWSSB, TNEB and other concerned State Government officials in August this year, several hindrances to early completion of the project were noticed and put forward for solution.
In his letter, Mr. Misra said: “In this connection, I wish to bring to your kind notice that this project was scheduled to be completed by June 2013 but due to the hindrances (noticed during inspection), the project is now rescheduled for completion by the end of this year.”
“Further, it is submitted that Chennai Port, which is one of the premier container ports on the East Coast, is experiencing a drop in container volumes since the last financial year, mainly due to the prevailing congestion and inadequate roads linking the port to the hinterland. The stakeholders and port users have been expressing concern in this regard and they apprehend that this declining trend in cargo traffic may continue unless urgent action is taken to improve the road connectivity,” he pointed out in the letter.
The Chairman also observed in the letter that due to the delay in completion of EMRIP, the exporters hitherto using Chennai Port have already begun moving their cargo through private ports in the neighbouring states.
“The early completion of EMRIP is vital to the future of container handling in Chennai Port,” Mr. Misra appealed to the Tamil Nadu Government in the letter.
According to sources, the beginning of direct letter correspondence with the State Government would pave way for the Chennai Port management to prevail upon the former on the importance of Chennai Port-Maduravoyal Elevated Expressway, the other important port connectivity project that hangs in balance after the State Government’s intervention.
It may be noted here that the elevated expressway project is stuck for the past 18 months due to lack of communication between the State Government and the port management.
Besides, none of the Chambers of Commerce in the State – whose members are exporters, importers and Custom House Agents – ever raised the issue of undue delay in completion of such important port connectivity project with State Government.
Moreover, at a recent meeting in Chennai, Mr. M. Rafeeque Ahmed, President of Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO) and Chairman of Farida Group, openly blamed the Chambers of Commerce for failing to take up the project with State Government.