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Two years have passed; the DPR for a crucial connectivity project of Chennai Port still undergoes changes

The Make or Mar Connectivity project for Chennai Port was abruptly stopped for nearly five years ago by the then Chief Minister Jayalalitha. Two years have passed since the state government gave clearance for the project and yet the National Highway Authority of India is nibbling with it and consequently the work may not resume before the end of the year.

The 25 kilometer Chennai Port-Maduravoyal Elevated Corridor to ensure swift movement of containers from the port to the Kolkata highway was put on cold storage by Ms Jayalalitha on technical grounds. She did not relent despite persuasions by the centre and the project got stalled for years midway.

The clearance to resume the project was given nearly two years ago and a private firm was entrusted with the work of preparing the Revised Detailed Project Report. The private firm has since given its report to NHAI. But NHAI engineers have suggested some changes in the corridor when it lands near the Napier Bridge near the Port. This is taking time. The North east monsoon will set in a month and hence the work on resumption of the project may not take place before the end of the year said an official of NHAI.

Early completion of the project is crucial to Chennai port since the private ports like Katupalli and Krishnapatnam have knocked off container traffic on the ground of congestion. If the Adani Terminal in Ennore Porty also starts its business, Chennai port may face a huge problem to sustain its container traffic.

Sources of the industry say that it looks that NHAI is taking revenge for stalling the project. They also point that their vengeful act may end up in a disaster for the Chennai port. Even if the work gets resumed by early 2019,it would take at least three years to complete it. By the time private port may overtake Chennai port in container traffic

The only redeeming feature is that the Elevated Corridor project has been extended to Ponamalee, a distance of another ten kilometers. Now it will be a thirty kilometer corridor and once commissioned container trailers can reach the Kolkata high way in 40 minutes from the Chennai port.

Work on the project commenced way back in 2009. Funds will not be a constraint for the project since the central government has sanctioned a sum of rs three thousand crores under the Bharat Mala project.



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