With less than 100 days to go, the Ennore-Manali Road Improvement Project (EMRIP) is all set to miss its June 3 deadline due to slow pace of work.
Conceived about a decade ago, the Rs.600-crore project was meant to clear the congestion woes of the port. After a substantial delay, Union Shipping Minister G.K. Vasan laid the foundation stone in January 2011. Till date, the contractors have completed only 60 per cent of the project work. By June, about 70 per cent of work would be over.
According to the sources, the road widening work for nearly 2.1 km could not be taken up from ChPT zero gate to Kasimedu Fishing Harbour Police Station as there has been delay in resettlement and rehabilitation of a section of people residing in NTO Kuppam and Cherian Nagar. Besides, a private party is occupying a small portion of land at Kaladipet and had approached the court.
The stakeholders, including the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), and port users have approached Chief Secretary, Sheela Balakrishnan, who has agreed to hear their grievances on Friday (March 1).
“The initial enthusiasm shown by the Shipping Minister Mr. Vasan and former Assembly Speaker D. Jayakumar, who represents the Royapuram constituency, is missing. The contractor has slowed down the work. Pending works include installing medians on services road, signages and markings and road topping. The Collectors of Tiruvallur and Chennai Districts have to come forward to help us in relocating the tenants,” the stakeholders said.
Of the 1.6 km stretch from Zero Gate of the Port to Kasimedu Fishing Harbour Police Station, the NHAI and Tamil Nadu Road Development Company covered road widening and other works over one half of the stretch. But, the work came to a halt last week following objections from fishermenOn its part, an official of the NHAI said it had been seeking co-operation from all the stakeholders but “help is not forthcoming.” By June 3, the authority would hand over the project to the port, the official added.