Monday, November 30, 2009

CHENNAI: Full-fledged parking lot a pipedream

Published Date:26/Nov/2009

By G Saravanan

Chennai, November 25: CHENNAI Port Trust is yet to develop a full-fledged container trailer parking yard despite being leased with a 11- acre land in a prime locality along the beach by the Thiruvotriyur Municipality almost three years ago.

The yard would have minimised the congestion of container trailers, which are now parked along the Ennore Expressway and are causing much hardship to the movement of traffic, thus making the lives of residents and yard-users miserable.

According to sources, the delay is due to the tug of war between the Chennai Port Trust and the Chennai Container Terminal Limited - for whom the trust had sub-leased the yard for its container operations.

The area was initially leased to the Port Trust for a three-year period, but the municipality passed a new resolution a few months ago to extend the lease period to 30 years. The yard became functional in July, 2007. It was designed to park 500 container trailers at a time. The Port Trust pays a rent of Rs 11 lakh per month for the land.

According to CCTL, they had approached the Port Trust almost a year ago for concrete flooring of the entire area to enable parking for 500 trailers, but the trust has not responded yet. An official from the trust told Express that they had to call for tenders to develop the yard, which involved several procedures.

“Procedures are meant for speeding up a process and not delaying it. But what is happening here is sheer lethargy on the part of the trust,” rued S R Raja, president of Chennai Trailers Owners Association, the major body for trailer lorries in Tamil Nadu.

“When the facility was inaugurated some two-and-a-half years ago, the Port Trust had promised us that the yard would be maintained on par with international standards, but even after several months, it remains the same,” he added. Since the facility still lacks safe parking space for vehicles, there is a huge pile-up of container trailers along the Ennore Expressway everyday, Raja said.

The CCTL sources said the agency is ready to invest up to Rs 10 crore for infrastructure upgradation at the yard, provided the Port Trust lease the area to them on long-term basis. “If they (trust) are ready to do it, let them do it soon, otherwise they should allow us to concrete the area since any delay in this regard affects CCTL’s revenue,” a source from the agency told Express.

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