Chennai, Feb. 8
The cost of the Ennore-Manali Road Improvement Project (EMRIP) will go up by nearly four times to Rs 600 crore due to delay in land acquisition and rehabilitation of the project-affected families. A fresh tender will be issued shortly for execution of the project, according to the Union Shipping Minister, Mr G.K. Vasan.
The cost escalation means equity contribution of Chennai Port Trust (ChPT) will increase by nearly 3.5 times to Rs 140 crore from the original Rs 38 crore, and Ennore Port Ltd's (EPL) contribution will nearly double to Rs 34 crore from Rs 17.50 crore, he told newspersons after reviewing the project.
The decade old EMRIP was first announced by the State Government in 1998 to enable free flow of truck traffic from and to the Chennai port in North Chennai. It covers four roads in the industrial hub of north Chennai — Tiruvottiyur-Ponneri-Panchetti (TPP) Road, Ennore Expressway, Manali Oil Refinery Road and northern portion of the Inner Ring Road from Madhavaram to Manali. The Chennai port handles over 4,000 containers a day and trucks need to take this Ennore-Manali road for entry and exit.
Mr Vellakoil Saminathan, Tamil Nadu Minister of Highways and Minor Ports, said the project would be a four lane road from the originally proposed two lane — resulting in cost escalation. A special purpose vehicle comprising National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), ChPT, EPL and Tamil Nadu Government was constituted for the project execution. The NHAI and the ChPT will equally share the cost at 23.30 per cent; Tamil Nadu Government's share will be 9.70 per cent and Ennore Port will contribute 5.67 per cent. The balance will be through loan, he said.
The review meeting follows the recently held shipping conclave organised by the Southern India Chamber of Commerce and Industry in which the chamber on behalf of the trade made a strong plea to the Minister to speed up EMRIP.
“Hope we get the project in two years as mentioned by the Minister,” said a member of the chamber.
The delay in completion of EMRIP was costing lorry owners about Rs 50 lakh a day on account of additional fuel, maintenance and overtime pay given to drivers.
Things could worsen in future with the growth of the container traffic at the Chennai port. The DP World Chennai container terminal is handling over one million TEUs (twenty foot equivalent units) and the second private container terminal, The Chennai International Container Terminal of PSA-Sical has just started its operations, source said.
Mr Vasan also reviewed the Rs 1,655-crore Maduravoyal Elevated Expressway project, which was awarded to the Hyderabad-based Soma Enterprises.
“We hope to complete both the projects in two years. The two projects are key to the rapid economic development of the State as they aim at improving the connectivity to the Chennai port by greatly facilitating movement of import and export cargo,” he said.
The Tamil Nadu Government will soon send a ‘positive note' for getting the environment clearance for the project. Based on that, the Union Environment and Forest Ministry will give its environment clearance, he said.