The widening of the 1.6-km stretch from S.N. Chetty Street to the zero gate of the Chennai Port Trust (ChPT) at Kasimedu fishing harbour will be completed before the onset of monsoon, said Speaker D. Jayakumar on Thursday.
Addressing a closed-door meeting with the members of the Chennai Trade Co-ordination Committee (CTCC), he said that things were moving in the right direction after the first review meeting held at the Secretariat on March 14 with the stakeholders, in which he had listed the hurdles and asked them to come out with a time-bound action plan.
Talking to The Hindu, Mr. Jayakumar said, “We will be holding review meetings once in 15 days to ensure that the 1.6-km road will be ready by July-end. As a first step, the N4 Fishing Harbour police station has been moved temporarily to the fishing harbour area. ChPT will construct a building for the station.
The local residents have been asked to identify a place to relocate the Bhavani Amman temple within the fishing harbour. Allotment order for 188 fishing stalls will be issued on March 27. Forty-two new stalls will be constructed by the ChPT within four months.
When CTCC members highlighted the difficulties faced by them in transporting containers from various parts of the city through the Ennore-Manali stretch, Mr. Jayakumar said that he was aware of the problem. A joint inspection was carried out by officials of the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation and the Tamil Nadu Road Development Company for shifting transformers, electric poles, water and sewerage lines and laying underground cables on Manali Oil Refinery Road and the Tiruvottiyur-Ponneri-Panchetti sectors.
Mr. Jayakumar said that even before the first review meeting, he had held discussions with the local fishermen on March 13 to clear their doubts.
“When the idea was suggested to the Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in 2004, ChPT was handling three lakh containers per annum and now it has crossed 16 lakh. The project cost has escalated nearly four-fold from Rs.160 crore to Rs.600 crore. However, the port infrastructure remains the same. In the last eight years, the project moved at snail's pace owing to the indifferent attitude of the previous government…”
After the first review meeting, CTCC officials said that it had instilled confidence in them that the project would see the light of the day.