NEW DELHI: Prime Minister recently reviewed the progress of several infrastructure projects in Southern India including Chennai Ennore Port road connectivity project, Cochin Shipyard's dry dock project and East to West Coast natural gas pipeline project.
The official release announcing the review however did not mention the corrective steps the Government proposed to initiate at the end of the high level review of these projects.
Conceived nearly twenty years ago, the Chennai Ennore Port connectivity project a mere upgradation of the existing road in a stretch of hardly 30 kilometers has not yet been completed. The latest hitch holding up the project for the last two years is due to the failure of Tamil Nadu Government to remove obstructions near the entrance of Chennai Port at NTO Kuppam (slum settlement) and near the fisheries harbor.
The project has remained virtually standstill for the last two years since these two obstructions cannot be removed. The removal of the obstructions is crucial since they are bang at the entrance of the port creating congestion for container handling operations of the port. Last mile connectivity for container handling remained a major problem for the Chennai Port in view of the delay in evacuation projects.
The project called the EMRIP Ennore Manali Road Improvement program was jointly launched by the TN Government and the Chennai Port way back in 1998 at an estimated cost of Rs 100 crores. The latest commissioning date was 2013 but total cost of the project has reached nearly Rs one thousand crores.
The project a classical case how a scheme should not be implemented, was intended to upgrade the road in 30 kilometers stretch into four lane to facilitate the movement of containers from the port to the hinterland. It also provides connectivity to 30 odd container freight stations where the containers land for inspection by the Customs before they proceed to the port.
Tamil Nadu Government has also blocked another cargo evacuation project of Chennai Port the elevated corridor from the Port to Maduravoyal a distance of about twenty kilometers. The project is now being revived after having been put on hold for three years by the State Government.