Will resume operations at the Tiruvottiyur Parking Yard after nearly three years
The Chennai Port Trust (ChPT) has decided to close the trailer checkpoint at the Ernavoor bridge and resume operations at the Tiruvottiyur parking yard (TPY) after a gap of nearly three years.
According to official sources, it was decided to shift the document scrutiny process back to TPY as the temporary checkpoint was a failure. Moreover, there were objections from the local people to the presence of stranded vehicles, which restricted their movement. Besides, the terminal operators were not the regulating authority.
The signing of the lease agreement for the 11acres between the ChPT and the Tiruvottiyur Corporation is expected to take place in the next few days. The operators will require another 10 days to provide basic facilities, said a ChPT official.
ChPT has been witnessing congestion at zero gate owing to factors such as the lack of Customs officials in sufficient numbers, narrow road and drivers standing in the queue without valid documents.
Following requests from the trade, Customs increased the number of officials at the zero gate to five recently. It still has only two sepoys at the six leaves. Road widening work is going at a slow pace. A temporary checkpoint was created at the Ernavoor bridge, about nine km from zero gate, on March 29 to allow only those vehicles with valid documents. TPY is about two km from the bridge.
“Since May 2010, we have been facing congestion. Some of the measures taken by the trade included setting up a temporary checkpoint. But, the drivers bypassed it and created problems. It is time to discipline the drivers. However, it cannot happen at TPY, as they have to compulsorily enter the checkpoint to reach zero gate,” said a logistics service provider.
Talking to The Hindu, ChPT chairman Atulya Misra said that the land was still under the control of the Tiruvottiyur Corporation and negotiations were on acquire it at the earliest. The ChPT had paid advance rent for three months. As contractors were reluctant to take up the yard development work, it was decided to divide the tender into two parts – civil construction, and operations and maintenance.
TPY would be leased to ChPT for 20 years on a monthly payment of Rs.14 lakh. To be operated jointly by the ChPT, terminal operators and traffic police, officials would take care of issue of passes and verification of statutory documents to ensure that all vehicles carried valid documents.
“Till recently, we were under the impression that the ChPT was in the possession of the land. But, it has come to light that they are yet to acquire it. How can they float a tender without having valid lease agreement from the Tiruvottiyur Corporation?” asked an exporter.