Officials of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) have expressed doubts over the completion of the Ennore-Manali Road Improvement Project (EMRIP) by June 2013 as traffic woes prevent them from offloading material for road construction and widening.

Participating in a meeting organised by the Chennai Port Trust (ChPT) on Monday, an NHAI official said productivity had dropped to 40 per cent and if the trend continued, the completion of the project would be difficult as the monsoon was fast approaching.

“We are not able to off-load material on Tiruvottiyur-Ponneri-Panchetti Road and Ennore Expressway. As the vehicles are parked in a haphazard manner on Inner Ring Road and Manali Oil Refinery Road, we are unable to strengthen these roads. Road-widening work is yet to commence on the 1.6-km stretch from S.N. Chetty Street to harbour main gate. The delay will lead to congestion and cost escalation.The vehicles should be stopped at designated locations,” the official said.

The meeting was conducted following a directive by chief secretary Debendranath Sarangi to find a lasting solution to the traffic woes of residents of North Chennai, businessmen and travellers.

While calling for free flow of traffic from different parts of the State, traffic police officials suggested the creation of separate parking yards at Maraimalai Nagar, Sriperumbudur and Red Hillswith full customs facilities so that these vehicles need not enter the city limits without valid documents.

A representative of the Chennai Custom House Agents Association said goods-laden vehicles should be allowed to enter the zero gate first and customs check should be carried out in a different enclosure instead of at the entrance.

ChPT chairman Atulya Misra asked all the stakeholders to settle their problems with the agencies concerned in the next two days. He also sought an undertaking from trailer operators that they would not resort to strikes unnecessarily. The next stakeholders meeting has been fixed for August 27 to arrive at a conclusion and it would be followed by submission of a report to Mr. Sarangi.

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