The Chennai-Bangalore Industrial Corridor (CBIC) project got a boost with a fact-finding team from the Japan International Co-operation Agency (JICA) commencing its spadework for the project.

On Thursday, a six-member team of JICA visited the Chennai Port Trust (ChPT) to study the traffic hurdles and suggest remedies and also reviewed the facilities available inside the port. On Friday, they visited Ennore Port Ltd (EPL) to study road connectivity issues.

JICA members will hold discussions with the officials of ChPT and Ennore Port on Saturday, followed by a visit to the neighbouring L&T Kattupalli Port. The study team was interested in helping the Japanese firms that have set up their manufacturing base in and around the Manali industrial area to enable them to move their goods from these ports.

It may be noted that Japanese firms have been asking for a better connectivity between Chennai and Bangalore. When things were not moving at the desired speed, they approached the Prime Minister’s office for help. The pre-feasibility report of CBIC was completed during February 2013 and plans were on to complete the detailed master plan during the current year. The project is being personally monitored by Prime Minister’s Advisor T.P.K. Nair on a regular basis.

According to the sources, the Japanese Embassy in New Delhi was coordinating the entire exercise. They were looking at all those issues connected to CBIC, such as strengthening the existing roads and developing hi-speed rail freight corridor. As a first step, they would commence a study within the next few days and would submit it by January/February.

Talking to The Hindu, ChPT chairman Atulya Misra said the team members were briefed about the traffic situation, the operational aspects of the port with regard to Central Industrial Security Force and container terminals. The visitors suggested technology upgradation of equipment for easy movement of trailers.

A Japan External Trade Organisation official said the proposed project should be speeded up as they were getting about 300 to 400 enquiries from Japanese businessmen with investment plans.

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