Author Archives: Andaman Saravanan

Pakistani Hacks Chennai Customs Website


Port Wings News Network:

The official website of Chennai Customs Commissionerate, (  has been hacked by an anonymous person believed to be a Pakistani.

According to information available and published on a Pakistan-based portal, a Pakistani hacker named Faisal 1337 hacked and defaced the official website of Chennai Customs and displayed a warning “Hacked Pak Cyber Attackers”.  Besides, the hacker also put the slogan “Pakistan Zindabad” on the main page of the site, which is viewed by hundreds of people linked to exim trade from the region everyday.

Though the report claimed that the Customs Website was hacked on Sept 22, it is unclear when the site went down. Meanwhile, the website is still not accessible even on Sept 25.

It may be noted that in the month July, the same hacker hacked and defaced the official website of National Institute of Technology (NIT), Raipur, that was launched just a day before by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to launch the technological culture in India by the project of Digital India.

Though the hacker did not specify any specific reasons behind hacking the Chennai Customs website, the cyber attack has raised several questions on the security and use of such websites.

GIM presents Big Opportunity to Tamil Nadu


Port Wings News Network:

As part of the agenda setting, Port Wings has brought out series of articles on the major issues pertaining to the EXIM sector every week before the Tamil Nadu Government’s Global Investors Meet (GIM) to be held on Sept 9 & 10 at Chennai Trade Centre.

For the last 13 weeks, we gave a sneak preview of various segments that could attract investments during the meet.


With a view to alleviate the perennial congestion of heavy vehicles on Chennai’s arterial roads,  Chennai Port and the Tamil Nadu state government have planned for a better road connectivity to ensure seamless movement of cargo towards Chennai Port round-the-clock without disturbing common road users.

Since the project is now caught in the legal web and its effect is being largely felt on the EXIM trade, the Shipping Ministry even suggested for an “Out of Court” settlement with the Tamil Nadu Government.

According to experts, if the project gets a green signal from the Tamil Nadu government, it would help those EXIM players, who left the Chennai Port in the past due to lack of road connectivity, to rethink on coming back to Chennai Port again.


Tamil Nadu State, unlike the other maritime states in the country, is bestowed with three major ports – Kamarajar (Ennore), Chennai and V O Chidambaranar (Tuticorin), which are maintained by the Government of India through the Ministry of Shipping. Besides, the state is also home to the fast growing Kattupalli Port.

While these major ports are governed by the Union Government, the impact of such lack of coordination directly impacts the economy of Tamil Nadu. The lack of coordination affects movement of goods through Chennai Port and in turn, it projects the eastern gateway port as inefficient port to meet the growing demand from the trade in the region.


With the Tamil Nadu Maritime Board’s (TMB) policies for developing more ports in the state to become a true “Maritime gateway state of East Coast” shrouded in mystery, experts in Exim sector here feel that the Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa should revamp the entire board to meet the expectation of the trade and investing community.

A few of them have even said that the Tamil Nadu Government could get more on the potential of maritime board from the Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB), which has earned laurels from various quarters for playing pivotal role in bringing in sustained revenue for the state as well to the country’s exchequer.


Even though the Tamil Nadu Government has a policy and focus in place to develop Tuticorin as a major industrial and commercial centre in Tamil Nadu for some time, to promote the regions before the potential investors, the state government has to walk an extra mile.

Besides, setting up a dedicated authority to oversee the planned and integrated development of the industrial and commercial areas in the districts would send a right signal before the investors converging during the Global Investor Meet.

Ms J Jayalalithaa, Chief Minister, Tamil Nadu.

Dr J Jayalalithaa, Chief Minister, Tamil Nadu.


The new government at the Centre led by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has unveiled its ambitious project of developing about 100 Smart Cities in the country.

While the chain of development is directly linked with the road connectivity, it is for the state government of Tamil Nadu to take proactive steps to fix the connectivity issue. And those proactive steps would definitely ensure investments in the region during the forthcoming Global Investor Meet.



TAMIN, though exports polished granite slabs, building slabs and tiles in several attractive colours, wall panels and monuments of various designs conforming to International Standards, was unable to break grounds due to stiff competition in the international market.

TAMIN, though entered the international granite market in the year 1979, their stride to export finished as well as value-added products in Granites is stuck in re-tapism and inconsistent policies on the exports by the state as well as union government.

If the Tamil Nadu government forms a JV with leading Granite companies from China during the GIM for setting up advanced plants for cutting, polishing and for monuments making, it will not only help the state to attain a status of hub for granite products, it will also generate huge number of employment opportunities for the youth in the state, says an expert.

Hence, experts feel that the Tamil Nadu government should understand the potential of granite segment in generating revenue as well as employment and finalize JV with Chinese or any other willing companies during GIM.


Tamil Nadu has diverse soil and climatic conditions across seven agro climatic zones which provides ample opportunity to grow a variety of horticulture crops.

Furthermore, marine based industries at Thoothukudi and Kanyakumari could also become a game-changer for the state gifted with three major ports and numerous non-major ports for export of processed products to global markets.

If the constraints in the backward and forward linkages in the food processing sector are dealt accordingly, Tamil Nadu can play an important as well as catalytic role for the country and could become the food processing capital of India.


According to experts, the dairy segment in Tamil Nadu throws huge opportunity for investment both in technology upgradation as well as in processing and value-addition. If the investments started pouring in, it could help the coastal state, which has been blessed with three major ports and a few aircargo-handling airports, to attain a new status in export of value-added milk-related products.

With the availability of milk from rural areas, Global Investors Meet could help the Tamil Nadu government to brand it as leading player in dairy segment from the region and attract investments for the dairy sector, added experts.


Tamil Nadu Government has listed several power projects to secure uninterrupted power supply to the industries to be set up in the coming years. According to experts, if the investments pour in for the power sector during the GIM, it would eventually send a right message to the potential investors planning to set up other factories in the state, which has been blessed with good sea and air connectivity.


Tamil Nadu has been regarded as the citadel for leather segment in the country. The major production centres for leather and leather products in the state are located at Chennai, Ambur, Ranipet, Vaniyambadi, Trichy, Dindigul in Tamil Nadu.

By ensuring investments for the development of Mega Leather Clusters in the state, Tamil Nadu Government would help the sector in creating additional employment opportunity, particularly for the weaker sections of society.


Tamil Nadu contributes the significant part in the total seafood export earnings of India. But the sustainability of the seafood supply is the major hindrance for the export. Aquaculture would be promoted in Tamil Nadu for the development of export and sustain in the seafood market for the longtime in future.


Cruise Shipping is one of the most dynamic and fastest growing components of the leisure industry worldwide.

For Tamil Nadu, which has three major ports and numerous non-major ports staring from Kattupalli in the North and Kanyakumari in the Southern tip and with a rating of one of the vibrant economies in the country, the coastal cruise tourism gives a new opportunity to increase its revenue stream.

Coastal tourism would give an opportunity for the Indians, especially the middle-class one who can’t afford luxurious tours in the Caribbean or in Europe to see the beauty of sea and her tides, to explore India from coastlines


Experts feel that the Tamil Nadu government should attract more investment in the segment, as it would generate better value for herbal products (which are being discarded for want of apt mechanism to convert them as a salable product in international market) as well as job opportunities.

Adani Group to Take Over L&T’s Kattupalli Terminal by September?


Port Wings News Network:


Adani Group, headed by Mr Gautam Adani and one of India’s leading business houses with revenue of over $10 billion, is all set to take over the Kattupalli International Container Terminal (KICT), promoted by engineering major Larsen & Toubro at Kattupalli Port in Tamil Nadu, it is reliably learnt.

In what could be an early indication of possible takeover of the terminal, said to be from the first week of September this year, officials of Adani Group and KICT have jointly organized a trade meet with the prominent seafood exporters in the region in Chennai on July 24 and sought the trade’s support.

Speaking to Port Wings, one of the exporters (who attended the trade meet), seeking anonymity said that they (Adani Group) were very eager to ascertain the potential of seafood trade from the region and also gave assurance to the trade that they can walk an extra mile to ensure hassle-free exports from Kattupalli.

The news of possible takeover could not be verified from either side, as they were reluctant to share any information pertaining to the development citing different reasons.


Kattupalli Port is promoted by L&T Ports, a division of L&T Shipbuilding Limited, a joint venture company formed by Larsen & Toubro Limited and Government of Tamil Nadu’s trade arm Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation Limited (TIDCO). While the L&T holds 97 % in the shipyard cum port complex project, Tamil Nadu Government (through TIDCO) holds 3 % share.


Though rumours of Adani Group taking over the Kattupalli Container Terminal were flying for the past few weeks, no one from both the listed companies gave any concrete information about it in the public domain.

However, developments like a joint trade meet by Adani Group and L&T few days ago has clearly hinted that there are some concrete developments happening behind the scene on the possible taking over of the terminal.


For Adani Group, which wants to strengthen its presence in the East Coast, the possible taking over of L&T’s container terminal, located within a few kilometers distance from its own project, a container terminal (now in construction phase) at Kamarajar Port (erstwhile Ennore Port), could help to secure calling of vessels (mainline, feeder and coastal) from the day one of its operation.

Besides, maritime analysts suggest that it could further help the Adani Group to project both the terminals as a largest hub for containers in East Coast.

Furthermore, sources monitoring the growing port landscape in the country clearly pointed out that the Adani Group plans to project both the terminals as “Mundra of East Coast.”

It may be noted that Adani Group recently got the Vizhinjam port project in Kerala and in 2014, Adanis acquired Dhamra Port in Odisha from Tata Steel and L&T for an estimated Rs 5,500 crore.


According to sources, the possible handing over of Kattupalli Container Terminal to Adani by September would also augur well for the L&T management, which intends to focus more on defence projects at its shipyard located in the Kattupalli port complex.


Even though the managements of Adani and L&T may have discussed about the critical points involved in the possible take over from the legal point of view, experts feel that the “transition” may not be that easy. The Tamil Nadu Government roped in the L&T to develop the port complex and initially there were no reference about operation of container terminal. 

Besides, it is not clear, whether the L&T management handover “absolute right” on container terminal to Adani Group. If the L&T management intends to give to total control, then it needs the concurrence of the Tamil Nadu Government, another stakeholder in the port project.

Ocean freight logistics is a highly complex task: Raghav Himatsingka



Port Wings News Network:
Ocean freight logistics is a highly complex task which requires tremendous amount of experience as well as knowledge, Mr.Raghav Himatsingka, Director, Ideal Movers Pvt Ltd, has said.
In an exclusive interview to Port Wings, Mr Raghav said, “We need experience as well as knowledge to determine the most cost economical routes to transport the cargo in the least amount of time without any handling damage to the consignment.”

Q. Tell us about the background of Ideal Movers, its growth over the years?

Mr.Raghav Himatsingka: Ideal Group started in the year 1982 in Kolkata. Ideal Movers – the logistics arm of the group – was started in the year 2000 with only 10 trucks. In 15 years’ time, we have expanded into a wide range of logistics solutions with more than 40 offices across India and a global agency network in all major countries. We today own close to 2000 vehicles, 70 heavy lift cranes, Goldhofer hydraulic axles, forklifts, excavators, etc. and are the preferred logistics partners of the largest corporates in the country including the Tata Group, Reliance, Essar Group, Adani, Mahindra, Larsen & Toubro, Jindal Group, Posco, Vedanta Group, etc.

Q. What is Ideal Movers’ USP to attract EXIM trade in East and West Coast?
RH: Ideal has several strong reasons why clients prefer to work with them. Firstly, we have a large fleet of vehicles and equipment with a pan-India presence. Secondly, we have a large global network of partners. These two factors allow us to offer our clients door-to-door solutions from anywhere in India to anywhere globally and vice versa. We have a solid reputation for maintaining our commitment with the largest corporates in the country and lastly we have a supremely talented team comprising of the best logistics professionals in the industry.

Q. Tell us about the ongoing upgradation projects in Ideal Movers to meet the growing demand in Ocean Freight segment?

RH: Ocean freight logistics is a highly complex task which requires tremendous amount of experience as well as knowledge to determine the most cost economical routes to transport the cargo in the least amount of time without any handling damage to the consignment. Since it is an asset light business for logistics players like us, the differentiation is usually in assembling the best team who can carry out the job. We are currently expanding our team and we also make sure to train our people from time to time so that they are aware of the latest trends in the industry.

Q. Ocean Freight has been the important segment in logistics chain. How do you see the prospects of Ideal Movers in the segment?

RH: We are very confident of becoming the market leaders in the segment in the time to come just like the way we are the market leaders in all our other service offerings: road transportation, heavy lifts and projects transportation.

Q. Since your focus is solely on heavy and odd-shaped cargo as well as break bulk cargo, how do you see the opportunity in the segment?

RH: We expect this segment to grow rapidly in the near future. With a stable government that appears to be keen to increase infrastructure investments in the country, we should see huge projects being imported in the country in the next few years. On the exports side Prime Minister Modi’s government has a tremendous push for Make In India which should help increase the cargo going out of the country as well.

Q. Movement of ODC cargo is often termed as a herculean task based on its size. What is your expectation from ports in easing out the task?

RH: We don’t know whether much can be done about it. Most large ports in India are extremely congested which lead to higher shipping costs due to detention of ships berthing there. India is blessed with a long coastline on half of its border so it is unfortunate that we don’t have better port facilities in the country. There are a few private ports coming in; if the ship traffic and facilities at these ports become better, they could potentially be game changers in the sector.

Q. Tell us about the future plans of Ideal Movers?

RH: We are bullish about industrial growth in the next few years and we will continue to invest and expand in all our service offerings.

Q. Ideal Movers is a seasoned one in logistics sector in the country. What are the challenged the logistics sector faces nowadays?

RH: The biggest challenges today in the logistics sector are liquidity of cash, driver availability, increasing toll taxes and harassment of our drivers by various entities on the road. We talk of wanting to become a world-class developed nation but we are probably amongst the bottom of the list in logistics. Unless some of these fundamental issues are solved, we will struggle to achieve the growth that we hope to achieve since the logistics sector contributes almost 15% to our total GDP.

Q.Do you agree with the notion that there is a dearth of skilled drivers in the country?

RH: There is a severe dearth of drivers in the country because few people are keen on becoming a driver in today’s time. Primary reasons for the same are the rising alternate job opportunities, the extreme risk to life and health of the driver while on job, lack of respect in society for the driver community and the extreme living conditions of the driver away from home and family.

Q. In your view, how come we overcome the drivers’ shortage?

RH: This is a very difficult task. We need to encourage more people to become drivers. Governments and large manufacturers like Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland should lead the way by opening mass scale driver training schools for truckers. This will make the driver job aspirational as well as reduce safety hazards on the roads in general. Toll taxes should be automated/reduced and unwanted elements that harass drivers on the roads should be removed. This will reduce the cash transactions required en-route thus reducing the chances of burglary on the road. Today commercial vehicle driving is a 365 days, 24×7 job that it need not be. The drivers should be able to work from hub to hub handing off the vehicle to the next driver just like a relay. Drivers can have proper resting places at these hubs and they can spend every alternate day with their families. This is only possible however if the government does away with its one-chassis-one-trolley rule. Incidentally, these things are all already working in developed countries where driving is as respectable a job as any other if not more.

Port Wings Editorial: BBIN Motor Vehicle Agreement, a right step ahead


Editorial, Port Wings, June 17, 2015:

India, which is regarded as the super power in the SAARC Region, has taken the right step towards creating a road corridor that would be beneficial to the whole ASEAN Region.

The Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicle Agreement for the Regulation of Passenger, Personal and Cargo Vehicular Traffic amongst BBIN, approved by the Union Cabinet few days ago, could be a real game-changer for the region as well as the mammoth country like India, if it is implemented in letter and spirit.

The agreement, conceived and formulated by India after intense series of consultation with other stakeholders from Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal, also pops up an important indication of India’s readiness to play a more determined leadership role in the SAARC Region.

It’s a well known fact that South Asia with globally valuable markets is one of the least linked of the world, as far as the road connectivity is concerned.

The European Union, comprising of over two dozen countries, has good road connectivity and the link has helped those countries to grow without spending much on transportation.

On the same line, if the proposed agreement is implemented, it will help an exporter from a remote village in Kerala to reach his potential buyers sitting near Chittagong in Bangladesh or at Thimphu in Bhutan, without relying on the costly mode of transports like the air.

Besides, it will also help India to pitch for a greater role in ASEAN region with the road link could be extended upto Vietnam and Cambodia in future.

To secure its interests, China has been pushing its Silk Road projects, land and maritime, calling these ‘One Belt, One Road’, backed with $200-plus billion in investments (including China-Pakistan Economic Corridor).

Since ancient times, Asia had been connected in a variety of ways by land and sea. Like China, India too is seeking to strengthen connectivity to the East and West. India and China are also working together on Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar (BCIM) Corridor.

Improving road connectivity among these nations is crucial to developing its full potential, especially in the economic sector.

Currently, whatever little trade happens in this sector is total India centric. For instance, Bangladesh imports much from India and has a strong garment export arrangement with the developed economies in West, but shares no significant trade ties with Bhutan or Nepal.

Another important aspect of the BBIN motor vehicle pact in particular, and increased sub-regional trade in general, is the boost that small and medium enterprises will receive.

Apart from economic prosperity, the road link, if extended upto Vietnam or Cambodia, will open a new option for travelers to understand the culture and history of the ASEAN countries from close quarters.

Let’s hope for the best.

Tamil Nadu Maritime Board needs a total revamp

Port Wings is bringing out series of articles on the major issues pertaining to the EXIM sector every week before the Tamil Nadu Government’s Global Investors Meet (GIM). This week, we analyse about the importance of Tamil Nadu Maritime Board in attracting investments.



Port Wings News Network:

With the Tamil Nadu Maritime Board’s (TMB) policies for developing more ports in the state to become a true “Maritime gateway state of East Coast” shrouded in mystery, experts in Exim sector here feel that the Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa should revamp the entire board to meet the expectation of the trade and investing community.

A few of them have even said that the Tamil Nadu Government could get more on the potential of maritime board from the Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB), which has earned laurels from various quarters for playing pivotal role in bringing in sustained revenue for the state as well to the country’s exchequer.

Even though the state government has been claiming that it is not lagging behind in promoting the highly potential state as the maritime gateway to South Asian ports in East Coast, ground reality is totally different and the time has come to resurrect the TMB from deadwoods.

Experts also feel that any further delay to capitalize the emerging opportunities in port sector through the vibrant maritime board could push the industrially-developed state backwards in providing better investment destination coupled with dedicated sea connectivity to other countries.

Tamil Nadu Maritime Board

The Tamil Nadu Maritime Board was formed under the Tamil Nadu Maritime Board Act of 1995 in March 1997, whereby the erstwhile Tamil Nadu Port Department was converted into a Maritime Board for the purpose of administration, management and control of the non-major ports.

The State of Tamil Nadu has a coastline of about 1076 Kms. Along this coastline, there are three Major Ports, namely, Kamarajar (Ennore), Chennai and VOC Port, Tuticorin notified under the Major Port Trust Act, 1963 and 23 Non-Major (Minor) Ports notified under the Indian Ports Act 1908. The major ports come under the control of Government of India and the non-major ports come under the control of the state government.

All the non-major ports in Tamil Nadu, except the Kattupalli Port, are anchorage ports without berthing facilities and hence cargoes are transshipped from the vessels at mid-stream to the shore and vice-versa through barges or submerged pipelines.

Gujarat Maritime Board

On the other hand, Gujarat Maritime Board was created in 1982 under the Gujarat Maritime Board Act, 1981, to manage, control and administer the minor ports of Gujarat.  Since its inception, Gujarat Maritime Board brought all stakeholders under one roof and resolved the then existing issues in the Port sector like obsolete technology, low loading rates, congestion and delays, poor connectivity with the hinterland etc.

Now, the state of Gujarat boasts of four important private ports viz Pipavav (India’s first private port), Mundra Port & SEZ, Dahej and Hazira. Of the 41 non-major ports, 19 are operational. Gujarat has the distinction of handling the maximum non-major port cargo traffic in India.

Besides, to facilitate and meet the cargo projections, GMB has proposed the development of some new ports. According to details available, GMB has developed about 40 ports in the last 20 years.

TMB’s lackluster performance:

While the growth and prominence the GMB had achieved over the years in establishing Gujarat state as the true maritime gateway in West Coast was missing in the case of TMB. This is despite being on the international Maritime Highway connecting Singapore and Jebel Ali. Though the maritime board has been “planning” development of over 20 minor ports as well as captive ports in Tamil Nadu for years, only three of them were actually materialized in recent times.

The delay in developing minor ports along the navigationally-suited coastline (of the state) would force shifting of industries and its allied Exim businesses in future to those states, who could provide all hassle-free facilities, says the experts.


Appeal to Chief Minister Jayalalithaa

According to Exim analysts, TMB, which could have developed the Tamil Nadu state as a maritime gateway in East Coast (like GMB in West Coast) given the phenomenal industrial growth since mid-1990s and a better road and rail connectivity, had miserably failed to turn the state’s minor ports as growth engines.

Growing Competition from Neighbouring States

Sensing the importance in equipping it port sector to increase its revenue, neighbouring Andhra Pradesh led by its Chief Minister Mr N. Chandrababu Naidu has decided to constitute the long pending AP Maritime Board to attract over Rs 30,000 crore investments.

Andhra has nearly 1,000-km coastline with 14 notified non-major ports and a Major Port (centre-controlled) at Visakhapatnam.

Even without a maritime board, Andhra Pradesh has divided its coastline into five different zones and concentrating on them. Due to its concerted efforts, Krishnapatnam and Gangavaram ports in the state are flourishing with heavy cargo movements throughout the year.

Besides, Odisha has also chalked out well-planned strategies to develop minor ports in the state with more emphasis on latest cargo handling facilities.

Perform or Perish:

So, the time has come to perform or perish as for as the TMB is concerned. If the Tamil Nadu government-controlled Tamil Nadu Maritime Board fails to wake up from deep slumber despite the growing opportunity in the port sector now, then it could certainly put spokes on the wheels of growth in the state.

Improving Investors’ confidence: CM Jaya has her task cutout


“As part of the Agenda Setting before the Tamil Nadu Government’s Global Investors Meet (GIM), scheduled to held in the month of September this year, Port Wings has planned to bring out series of articles on the major issues pertaining to the EXIM sector every week. This week, we analyse about the importance of Chennai Port -Maduravoyal Elevated Expressway.”


Port Wings News Network:

The inordinate delay in completing the all-important Chennai Port -Maduravoyal Elevated Expressway, which was primarily conceived as a permanent solution to growing congestion of heavy vehicles (container trailers and vehicles carrying ODC cargoes) plying between Chennai Port and outskirts of city via Chennai’s arterial roads, is not only killing the growth of EXIM trade in the region, but also demoralize the investors’ confidence on the Tamil Nadu state.

As a cascading effect of the defunct project, exporters and importers from Tamil Nadu, who naturally preferred the Chennai Port for their needs for decades, slowly shifting their operations to ports located in neighbouring states.


Since the project is now caught in the legal web and its effect is being largely felt on the EXIM trade, Union Minister of Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Mr Nitin Gadkari (during his visit to Tamil Nadu last November) even suggested for an “Out of Court” settlement with the Tamil Nadu Government.

File photo of Elevated Expressway Project work.

File photo of Elevated Expressway Project work.

However, nothing has moved since then and the new Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Ms J Jayalalithaa has her task cut out on the Elevated Expressway project.

According to sources, if the Chief Minister Jayalalithaa speeds up the process and accepts the opinion of Mr Gadkari’s “Out of Court” settlement on the Elevated Expressway Project, it would send a right signal among the potential investors and could help her to harp on the improved image of the Tamil Nadu state in the Global Investors Meet.

According to experts, if the project gets a green signal from the Tamil Nadu government, it would help those EXIM players, who left the Chennai Port in the past due to lack of road connectivity, to rethink on coming back to Chennai Port again.

The project, on completion, will give a seamless and round-the-clock movement of container trailers to and from the Chennai Port. Besides, it will help the port to generate revenue for both the State government as well as the Union Government.

It has been more than three years since the Tamil Nadu State government put a spanner in the 19-km long Chennai Port -Maduravoyal Elevated Expressway project citing slight deviation from approved alignment.


With a view to alleviate the perennial congestion of heavy vehicles on Chennai’s arterial roads which could create serious problems for other common road users in the future if not arrested on time, major stakeholders — Chennai Port, a Central government-maintained major port, and the Tamil Nadu state government – have planned for a better road connectivity to ensure seamless movement of cargo towards Chennai Port round-the-clock without disturbing common road users.

After much deliberation on the prospective plans for all users – regular motorists as well as heavy vehicles, it was finally decided that an elevated expressway project from Chennai Port upto Maduravoyal, which is the important entry point for all kinds of commercial vehicles to port, should be developed, so that traffic congestion could be arrested in future.

As a next step, the Government of India in December 2008 gave its nod for development of four-lane elevated road from Chennai Port to Maduravoyal under its flagship scheme of National Highways Development Programme (NHDP) Phase VII.

The project,  which started in September 2010 at the behest of Tamil Nadu Government and Chennai Port Trust and due to be completed by September 2013 (as per 2010 schedule) would cut down the travel time between the port and Maduravoyal, on the city outskirts, from more than two hours to just 15-20 minutes.


Under NHDP Phase VII, the Government of India had approved the construction of standalone ring roads, bypasses, grid separators, flyovers, elevated roads, tunnels, road over bridge, underpasses, service roads, etc. in the Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode.

The need for a dedicated freight road emerged as a better solution, as Chennai Port has experienced a steady increase in the volume of traffic handled over the years, which in turn has increased the traffic on the internal roads of the Port.

The Elevated Expressway project came in to existence due to certain traffic restrictions on movement of heavy vehicles to Chennai Port on NH-4 within Chennai city.

The state government of Tamil Nadu in 2008 also agreed to the alignment of this elevated road and also to carry out the land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement on a 50:50 cost basis between the Chennai Port Trust and state government. The Chennai Port Trust would initially bear the entire cost and subsequently 50 % of the cost reimbursed from the state government.

The project has been envisaged to provide an all-time road without any traffic regulatory obstacles so that Port can be approached directly from the outskirts of Chennai city without interfering the city traffic by all commercial vehicles.

For general traffic (non-commercial users), entry/exit ramps are proposed on Kamarajar Salai (Exit), Sivananda Salai (Entry), College Road (Entry) and Spur Tank Road( Exit). The project was planned on Design, Build, Finance, Operate & Transfer (DBFOT) basis and the concession period was decided as 15 years in accordance with the design capacity of the highways. The project has been divided into two

sections. In section -1, road from Chennai Port to Koyambedu – total length 14.2 Km including the ramps at Koyambedu would be developed. In section -2, it was decided that project from Koyambedu to Maduravoyal – widening of NH4 from and elevated road should be carried out.


Though the then Prime Minister Mr Manmohan Singh laid foundation stone for the important connectivity project in January 2009, work on the Koyambedu to Maduravoyal section of the Elevated Road began only in September 2010.

The work on the Chennai Port to Koyambedu section started only in March 2011 after receiving the Centre’s CRZ clearance for the section since it runs along the River Cooum, one of the important waterways in city.

Though the implementing authority of the project, NHAI started to fast track the project after so-much undue delays,  Tamil Nadu government put a spanner on its work citing deviation from approved alignment along River Cooum in March 2012. Ever since the objection and “Stop Work” notice by the State’s PWD department, work on the Rs 2000-crore came to a grinding halt.


With the project was forced to halt in the face of PWD’s objection, National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has moved the Madras High Court seeking directions to the state authorities to execute it as agreed earlier.

According to the prayer, NHAI sought quashing of a letter by the Chief Engineer of Water Resource Organisation, Public Works Department, asking NHAI to obtain revised Coastal Regulatory Zone (CRZ) clearance for the 19-km long ‘Chennai Port-Maduravoyal Elevated Corridor, and carry out certain remedial measures.

This direction to obtain revised CRZ clearance was nothing but arbitrary exercise of power, malafide against the spirit of public interest and various orders passed by the Tamil Nadu government, NHAI claimed in the petition.

The implementing agency also submitted before the court that though necessary clearances and approvals had been obtained from concerned departments/agencies before commencing the project, after the change of government in May 2011, there has been no cooperation from various departments of the state government with regards to the land acquisition, rehabilitation, resettlement of project affected families.


Besides NHAI, Chennai Port also contended in the Court that the 19-km Chennai Port-Maduravoyal Expressway is of great significance in view of the development of a various productivity enhancing projects in the port.

In a filing before the Madras High Court few months ago, Mr Sunilkumar Madabhavi, Chief Engineer, Chennai Port Trust, pleaded that the total traffic handled by Chennai Port for the last five years, 70 to 80 per cent cargo movement was by through road, of which 60 to 70 per cent road bound cargo was towards the south of the port (towards Maduravoyal due to its proximity to national highways).

The project was not only beneficial for development of Chennai Port but would also help local traffic to use the corridor continuously as there were entry and exit ramps into the corridor for local traffic to reach the Madras High Court, Rajiv Gandhi Government Hospital and Central and Egmore railway stations and other major hospitals located en route the elevated road without passing through congested arterial roads inside the city, the port management contended in the affidavit.


The alignment was finalised after taking into account all aspects of geometry, optimum utilisation of Cooum boundary and minimum acquisition of private land. The project, along the Cooum River, was mainly designed based on the requirements of the State to suit not only the Port but also that general public.

However, after a change in the government in state in May 2011, there had been no cooperation from the various departments of the State government with regard to land acquisition, rehabilitation and re-settlement of the project-affected families for reasons best known to them.

The authorities concerned were not evincing any interest on this project and became averse to the same. By an order, the Public Works Department had urged the NHAI to obtain revised CRZ clearance and to carry out certain remedial measures such as drudging of 2 metres beyond the outer column and construction of retaining wall for a height of 3 to 5 metres in the extended portion.

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Thiruvottiyur Parking Yard: Madras HC order puts Chennai Port in a fix


Port Wings News Network:


With the Madras High Court directing the Tamil Nadu Government as well as the Chennai Port Trust (ChPT) to return 13.93 acres land at Thiruvottiyur, where the latter had developed a parking yard for container trailers, the future of the facility aimed at decongesting the Ennore Expressway leading to the port, now hangs on balance.

Delivering the order on a writ petition filed by Ms R.Revathy, descendant of the said property, Justice C.S.Karnan of Madras High Court directed the Tamil Nadu Government and Chennai Port management to reconvey the land situated at Thiruvottiyur in favour of the petitioner within a period of three months after receiving the original compensation amount with admissible interest thereon from the petitioner.

In other words, the order has put question marks over the future of Chennai Port’s ambitious project – a state-of-the-art Container Trailer Parking Yard-cum Customs Clearance Post for port-bound containers.


According to the petitioner, the said piece of land at Thiruvottiyur belong to her ancestor late T.Shanmugam, who is none other than the grandfather of the petitioner’s father. Under a family partition between the said T.Shanmugam and his son Mr.T.S.Gopal registered as document No.31 of 1960, the above lands were allotted in favour of Mr.T.S.Gopal.

In the meanwhile, the Government of Tamil Nadu had notified for acquiring the said land for the Thiruvottiyur Municipality (after 2011, the said municipality has been merged with Corporation of Chennai) for the purpose of bore well water supply to the village of Thiruvottiyur and the entire procedure of acquisition was completed and an award has been passed by the land acquisition Tahsildar on April 14, 1964 for Rs.1,53,255.91. Subsequent to the acquisition only a part of land was utilized for the purpose for which the land was acquired.

The Petitioner further stated that because of replenishment of sea water, the water available in the lands is not-portable thus the Government did not proceed with the object for which the land was acquired. 

She further stated in her petition that as per the Tamil Nadu Government Gazette extraordinary publishes section 48-B of the Land Acquisition Act enabling the Government for the reconveyance of lands that are acquired by the Government back to the original owners if the lands are not utilized for the purpose acquired for or any other public Convenience Act has been passed with retrospective effect. 

The petitioner contended that even now the land is lying idle and respondent Municipality has not put up any building or not used for any other public purpose. 


In the meantime, the Municipality leased out the lands to the Chennai Port Trust for using the same as Container Trailers parking yard.  However, the petitioner contended that the Municipality has got no right or power to lease out the same to the Chennai Port Trust.

With the view to decreasing the congestion of container-laden trailers along Ennore Expressway and Madhavaram to the port, Chennai Port Trust on Nov 29, 2013 inaugurated its parking yard cum seal verification centre at Thiruvottiyur.

In the presence of Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) managing director Mr B B Patnaik, the then Union Minister of Shipping Mr G K Vasan inaugurated the operations of the Thiruvottiyur Parking Yard by flagging off the first container-laden trailer to the yard.

Chennai Port has developed in the first phase the parking facility for around 250 trailers investing around Rs 6 crores. On full functioning, all Chennai Port bound laden container trailers (barring those which are cleared at CFSs) should first come to the parking yard and after verification of all the documents shall proceed to the port and there would not be any waiting of container lorries in the Ennore Expressway.


Reacting to the petition, the Tamil Nadu Government submitted before the HC that the land in question has been acquired as early as 1964 and the proper compensation had been paid to the land owners.  After such land was acquired it was put to the proposed use of drawing bore well water for the Thiruvottiyur village.  Subsequently as stated, due to the intrusion of sea water, the bore wells were abandoned.  Thereafter, the lands are in the possession of the respondents herein and have been used for various public purposes from time to time.

The state government further stated that due to proximity of the lands to the first Container Terminal of the Chennai Port Trust, the lands have been leased to the Chennai Port for parking of the container trailers moving towards the said terminal. The lease deed was executed for three years from 2007 to 2010. After the said lease period ended, the fresh lease deed is to be executed and the administrative process is on.

The state government further stated that the remuneration received from the lease of the lands is being used for the public purposes and is being included in the Municipal Budget for carrying out the various activities of the Municipality under the statute, such as provision of roads, water supply, drainage, licensing, town planning, etc.  The government also termed the statements of the petitioner on possession of the lands is totally false and baseless.

The state government further contented that the provision of Section 48-B of the Land Acquisition Act will come into effect only when the land in question is vested with the State Government.  When once the lands have been acquired and have been vested with the requisitioning body, there is no question of re-conveyance that too when the land is being used for public purposes.


In reply to the petition, Chennai Port authorities stated that the container trailers are plying between the Port Trust and other destination places resulting in heavy traffic volume.  Now, the containers are parking on the acquired land, which has been leased out to the Port Trust. The Port Trust and the Municipality are in general serving the public.  After arranging these facilities the container vehicles are not parking on the road consequently traffic will not be disturbed.  Now, the public vehicles are in free passage on the road without inconvenience to anyone. 


When contacted, Mr C. Harichandran, Secretary, Chennai Port Trust, said that the port management as well as the Tamil Nadu Government (respondents) have gone on appeal against the verdict. “Our appeal is likely to be heard after the vacation,” he added.


Speaking to Port Wings, Mr.A.T.Shankar, Regional Manager, CWC, said that they are waiting for the Customs Notification to begin full-fledged operations from the Thiruvottiyur Container Trailer Parking Yard. “The day Customs gives its nod, all operations would begin from the yard,” he added.


Conveyor Belt Tragedy rekindles CBI’s date with Chennai Port



Port Wings News Network:


While the Chennai Port is preparing a roadmap for reviving the handling of coal in the next few months after the Supreme Court gave a direction, the recent accident, where a dilapidated structure – a conveyor belt system to move coal from vessels to dumping yard, has opened the old debate among the port employees.

For many employees in the Chennai Port, though it was a non-fatal accident, the dilapidated conveyor belt system is seen as a standing testimony of how the corruption systematically moved the coal handling away from the port.


After convinced with a tip-off from a port employee about a possible corruption in its procurement, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed a case (RC0322011A0018)against the then Chairman of the Chennai Port Trust and other few officials involved in the decision making for causing wrongful loss to the Port Trust in the matter of procurement of coal conveyor system.

Ever since the case has been registered, the coal conveyor belt system, installed at an estimated cost of Rs 43 crores, literally became a cynosure among the port employees.

While the CBI made it as one of the physical evidences, and since the Madras High Court also banned handling of coal in the port in 2011, the whole conveyor belt system remained cut off from the day-to-day activities and the employees linked with the coal handling division also never enters the area.


The CBI’s Continuing TRAIL:

After registering the case, the CBI had initiated an investigation into the alleged embezzlement of funds by top port officials during installation of a conveyor belt system for transporting coal at a cost of Rs 43 crore.

According to an ex-employee of the port, the CBI probe began after a complaint alleged that the private player given contract for installation had put up only 250 metres of belt against the mandated length of 275 metres.

“The installation of the conveyor belt system and its commissioning in November 2009 has remained a mystery as the Port Trust management, which used to invite media for all its functions, did not invite anyone then and just sent a picture of the inauguration by the then Chairman of the Port Trust Capt Subhash Kumar in the presence of then Chief Mechanical Engineer K P Ramanathan. While the first installment of payment (25 %) to the contractor was released as per the agreement clause, the second installment was made in full secrecy,” said the employee seeking anonymity.

Speaking to Port Wings, another employee linked to an influential trade union in Chennai Port, said, “Contrary to a clause on payments in the contract, Mr Ramanathan, during former Chairman K Suresh’s tenure had sent a note to the port’s Finance Department to release 50 per cent of the remaining amount in the interest of the project.”

“Though the contract clearly defined that the second installment had to be paid only after the full installation and commissioning of the belt, then CME, flouting all rules, sent the note asking to release the sum even though the facility was not fully installed,” he added.

Though the department turned down his plea at the first instance, the payment was indeed released within a day after intervention of top officials of the Port Trust. However, the CBI enquiry on the conveyor belt met a dead-end after the Government of India declined permission to the agency to prosecute the then Chairman of the Port Trust, who is now holding a senior administrative post in the state of Madhya Pradesh.


Mudugar tribal woman of Attappadi

Joshi Daniel Photography

Black and white portrait of a Mudugar tribe woman from Attappadi in Palakkad district of Kerala Mudugar tribe woman | Attappadi, Palakkad, Kerala, India

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