The Ennore Manali Road Improvement Project (EMRIP), which has been hanging fire for a decade, has received a boost with the protesting fisherfolk agreeing to cooperate with the widening of the 1.6-km stretch from S.N. Chetty Street to N4 Police Station at the Kasimedu Fishing Harbour.
For about a month, fisherfolk from different villages were protesting the project fearing it would take away a substantial portion of land near the seafront. Assembly speaker D. Jayakumar, representing the Royapuram constituency, was roped in to convince the fisherfolk.
To clear their doubts, meetings were organised by the Collector on August 7 and 18. After receiving assurances from the main stakeholders, the fisherfolk agreed to move out of their dwellings.
Depending upon the progress of the road-widening work, the fishermen would vacate their places at three days’ notice. They urged the ChPT to compensate them adequately by provide them with alternative space through dredging of the harbour and reclamation of land at the sea front.
An official release from the Collector’s Office said ChPT officials had agreed to provide space equivalent to the acquired land, commence work on erecting the fish auctioning platform within 45 days of obtaining the Costal Regulation Zone clearance, start dredging work within 30 days and provide basic amenities.
The NHAI would provide a temporary service road during the construction phase and expand the existing road as a two-lane path. The authority would commence the road-widening work near the ChPT zero gate on Wednesday.
Talking to The Hindu, a NHAI official said, “What was construed as a stormy issue was settled due to the efforts of Chennai Collector S. Jayandhi and traffic police. The fisherfolk are seeking an alternative site for the relocation of Bhavani Amman temple.” The Collector sought the cooperation of all sections to avoid congestion.
(With inputs from Deepa H. Ramakrishnan)