Fisherfolk had objected to relocation of temple for the project

Following a request from Chennai Port Trust (ChPT), the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has agreed to realign a part of Ennore Expressway.

The modification will be carried out near Bhavani Amman temple which is 1.5 km away from ChPT’s zero gate.

Located on the right side of the road, the temple stands on land belonging to Kasimedu fishing harbour.

It was one of the stumbling blocks to the Rs. 600-crore Ennore-Manali Road Improvement Project (Emrip), as part of which, many stretches including Tiruvottiyur-Ponneri-Panchetty Road, Manali Oil Refinery Road and the northern portion of Inner Ring Road and Ennore Expressway are being widened.

Already, around 15 temples have been shifted to nearby locations to facilitate the project to widen these four roads to help decongest north Chennai.

But fisherfolk had objected to shifting Bhavani Amman temple for the project. Sources in NHAI said the realignment was subject to ChPT handing over additional land in the area. “We would need about 300 metres of land. We are conducting a detailed field study,” an official said.

Unlike in other places where the fisheries department manages fishing harbours, Kasimedu is controlled by ChPT through a management committee.

The Bhavani Amman temple belongs to Poongavanam Kuppam and Nagoorar Thottam fishing villages. Residents in these areas had objected to shifting the temple.

A. Ganesan, vice president of the fishermen’s panchayat of Nagoorar Thottam, said residents welcomed NHAI’s decision to realign the Expressway.

“The temple has been here for over 40 years now. People from as far as Cuddalore and Puduchery offer prayers at this temple,” he said.

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