Shipping ministry calls meeting for Chennai port road project

January 12th, 2010 - 7:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Chennai, Jan 12 (IANS) The shipping ministry has called a meeting of Chennai Port Trust and National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) Jan 18 to sort out the tangle and take forward the Chennai Ennore Port Road project, the cost of which has increased to Rs.600 crore now, a senior port official said Tuesday.
The project was conceived in 1998 to improve the 30-km road in north Chennai to ease the traffic.

“The shipping ministry secretary has called a meeting Jan 18 to discuss the issues relating to the project. The main issue is the drastic increase in the project cost - from Rs.160 crore when it was announced 10 years back and Rs.600 crore now,” Chennai Port Trust chairman Subhash Kumar told reporters here.

He said new elements have got added to the original project like the service lane which increased the project cost.

“The shipping ministry is asking the reasons for the drastic jump in the project cost,” Kumar added.

Chennai Port Trust, NHAI and the Tamil Nadu government floated a special purpose vehicle called Chennai Ennore Port Road Company Ltd for the purpose.

“We have given Rs.38 crore as our share which shows our interest in the project,” Kumar said.

The port lacking space for further expansion has got the state government’s sanction for 125 acres on 99-year lease in Sriperumbudur near here for building an integrated dry port and multi-modal logistics hub.

“Containers can be brought there where stuffing or destuffing of goods can be made for onward journey. We may also start a container freight station there. The total project outlay will be around Rs.100 crore,” Kumar said.

Chennai port is also planning development of additional berth facilities and has invited Expression of Interest for Development of a RO-RO (roll on, roll off) cum multi-purpose berth with a multi-level and a barge jetty-cum-liquid cargo terminal.

Categorically ruling out shifting of coal terminal to Ennore Port, Kumar said: “Coal can be handled in a manner that does not pollute the environment. World over ports handle coal.”

He said to contain the coal and iron ore dust improvised sprinkler systems, semi-mechanised closed coal conveyor system have been commissioned last November.

Chennai port has decided to have a 7.5 MW wind energy farm in Tirunelveli district at an outlay of Rs.49.31 crore.

The port has earned Rs.538 crore revenue during April-December 2009.

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