The Central government will soon submit a technical justification for the alignment of the Rs.1,815 crore Chennai Port-Maduravoyal elevated link road project to the Tamil Nadu government.

The project, being implemented by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has been put on hold since April this year – nine months after work on the 30-km-long facility began.

The Water Resources Department (WRD) had objected to the project's alignment saying that it was on the Cooum river bed and not on the bank as proposed. The Department had also said that flow of water was being obstructed and demanded the project be stopped.

NHAI Chief General Manager (technical) I.G. Reddy announced this while addressing a conference on ‘Creating carbon neutral Chennai: Planning for integrated freight movement' organised here by the Madras Chamber of Commerce and Industry(MCCI) on Wednesday. He urged the MCCI to take up the issue with the State government since it would help decongest Poonamallee High Road and thereby reduce pollution.

“The State government is yet to reply to the technical justification submitted to it by the project director in Chennai in April which is why the Government of India is preparing a justification. The Tamil Nadu government had issued a G.O. only after a proper field inspection by a committee of experts was conducted. If it is not completed it would only be a loss to Chennai. Already Rs. 500 crore has been spent on it. The concessionaire will go for claims,” Mr. Reddy said.

Earlier, speaking during the inauguration of the conference, State Highways Secretary T.K. Ramachandran said that as part of the Vision 2023 exercise of the State government, freight corridors and linkages between them are being studied. He said that integration of various transportation modes was necessary.

“We are at a stage of development when integration is possible. For this we need to plan and form a framework,” he said.

V. Sumantran, Vice-Chairman, Ashok Leyland, said that there was an urgent need to put road systems and connectivity in place while adding that planning would be critical to this. “Planning for the next 20 and 50 years is needed. This must be done in collaboration with the citizenry, government and industry.” To improve freight logistics, leverage of IT was necessary.

S.N. Srikath, senior partner, Hauer Associates said that transportation emissions were responsible for 12.5 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in India.

He said that was a need to shift freight transport to rail and water modes.

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