NHAI said it was the State which should bear the financial implications on account of the stoppage of work

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has filed an additional affidavit in the Madras High Court seeking its intervention with the “arbitrary and irrational” act of the State Government in stalling the 19-km long “Chennai Port-Maduravoyal Elevated Corridor.”

The project was mainly for speedy evacuation of cargo from Chennai port. Work commenced in September 2010.

The NHAI had already filed a writ petition to quash the records of the Chief Engineer, PWD, Water Resource Organisation, Chennai Region, of January 28 this year and consequently direct the authorities to co-ordinate and take all steps to complete it within a planned time.

By the January 28 letter, the PWD had sought revised Coastal Regulation Zone clearance for the elevated corridor and also said certain remedial measures such as dredging two metre beyond the outer column and construction of the retaining wall for three to four meters in the extended portion should be carried out.

The NHAI said it was aggrieved by the stumbling blocks put up by the Tamil Nadu Government for the due execution of India’s first elevated project involving Rs.1800 crore.

In a latest additional affidavit filed a few days ago, the NHAI has said it was the State government which should bear all the consequential financial implications on account of the stoppage of work and delay in handing over the work fronts to the concessionaire.

‘Motivated action’

The NHAI could not be made responsible for the alleged losses suffered by the concessionaire as it was in no way responsible for the stoppage of the work. It was the “motivated, tainted” action of the State Government which had led to the situation of stalling of the project work.

Along with the affidavit, a document had also been filed of a meeting in which concessionaires of various NHDP projects in Tamil Nadu expressed their concern on the difficulties being faced by them in getting burrow area permission and stated that unless the present impasse was resolved, it would be difficult to complete the projects in hand.

New projects

They also expressed apprehension in taking up new projects in the State.

On the award of new projects in Tamil Nadu, the NHAI said that unless the State Government signed the State Support Agreement and extended necessary cooperation to the concessionaires, the authority may not be in a position to award new projects in the State.