In an effort to resolve issues relating to the implementation of the Rs.1,815 crore Chennai Port-to-Maduravoyal elevated link road project, the Secretary, Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, has requested the Tamil Nadu government to convene a meeting of the high-level committee. It has also requested the State government to withdraw a recent notice that directed the the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to stop the work on the 4-lane elevated express road that runs along the Cooum. The notice had stated that that there was a change in the alignment.
In a communication addressed to the State Chief Secretary, Debendranath Sarangi, the Union Secretary A.K.Upadhyay said that the issue of alignment was deliberated in detail during the preparation of feasibility report itself. The State government had accorded in-principle approval to NHAI for using one side of Cooum river after visits to the site by a committee of officers from the Public Works Department.
The contention of the PWD that alignment was not approved is not correct. It was only after the State government had given approval and an assurance of bearing 50 per cent of the cost of land acquisition and relief and rehabilitation the project work that the NHAI had taken up the work. CRZ clearance, NOC from CMDA and the concurrence of Chennai Corporation were also obtained before commencement of the work, Mr.Upadhyay said.
About Rs.500 crore worth of work has been completed by the concessionaire and stoppage of the project will result in serious financial and legal implications to both the State and Central governments, he explained.
The project is being implemented on Private-Public Partnership mode through Build Operate Transfer basis. The project, which began in September 2010, is scheduled to be completed by September 2013.
Meanwhile, the issue featured in the Tamil Nadu Assembly too on Wednesday, when DMK Deputy Leader Durai Murugan raised the matter. The Highways Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswamy said the project was sought to be implemented in a hurried manner. The Minister for Housing and Urban Development R. Vaithilingam since the alignment of the project was on the waterway, certain questions had been raised about its implementation.