The authority has very little experience in reclamation work, says NHAI official
The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) on Wednesday turned down a request by the Chennai Port Trust (ChPT) for execution of auction platform, including reclamation work at Kasimedu Fishing Harbour near zero gate, stating that it is as an offshore work in which they do not have expertise.
The 30-km Ennore Manali Road Improvement Project (EMRIP) was conceived to ease traffic congestion between the ports of Chennai. While the road widening work is going on at several stretches, the work at the entry point, 1.6km stretch from ChPT zero gate to S.N. Chetty Street, is facing hurdles.
According to the sources, the fishermen of Kasimedu have demanded the ChPT authorities for reclamation of land and erection of auction platform after they parted with a portion of their land in front of the zero gate for construction of a carriageway.
Agreeing to their demand, the ChPT officials invited private players to carry out reclamation work.
Having failed to get any bidders for the Rs. 6-crore project, ChPT requested NHAI to carry out the work as part of the ongoing road contract.
In his reply, NHAI Member Finance, Satish Chandra, said “The reclamation work is of specialised nature and NHAI has very little experience in this regard. Besides, number of clearances will have to be obtained for reclamation work and construction of auction platform. Since Port Trust authority has once invited tenders for this work, they are in a better position to undertake these works.”
“It is an onshore work and it is not part of EMRIP. Why should we take up this work, which has no relation to road contract? Right now, we are racing against time to complete the entire project by December. There are hurdles at two more spots — NTO Kuppam and Cherian Nagar — and we hope that the State government would come to our aid,” said another official.
ChPT official said they would hand over the reclamation work to another government agency. The project would be completed as per schedule.