Monday, November 28, 2011

Chennai Port Trust takes PMO Advisor down the garden path

By G Saravanan
Published in The New Indian Express, Chennai, on November 28, 2011:
CHENNAI: In what could have been a clear case of window dressing by the Chennai Port Trust management, visit of the Advisor to the Prime Minister T K A Nair to Chennai and Ennore ports on Saturday has been ‘clearly planned’ to showcase that ‘all is well’ at the port.
Instead of allowing the PM’s advisor to have a first hand experience on the problems faced by the exim traders and container trailer drivers due to poor road connectivity between Chennai and Ennore ports by visiting on road, Nair’s visit to the Ennore Port was ‘planned’ via Outer Ring Road up to Ennore clearly avoiding the battered road that serves the only connecting road up to Chennai Port.
According to port sources, after his visit to Ennore Port, Nair returned to Chennai Port via sea-route, once again clearly avoiding the container trailer congestion on the battered road up to Zero Gate at Kasimedu.
Had Nair visited the Ennore Port via Ennore Expressway and through the battered Ponneri High Road and returned in the same route to Chennai Port, he could have gathered the root cause for the road connectivity issue, but port management hid all these facts, Kathiresan, a container trailer driver told Express.
While it was the plan outside the port, movement of container trailers into the port was mysteriously suspended for more than five hours since Saturday noon, when Nair was expected at the Chennai Port for an in-house discussion about Chennai-Bangalore Industrial Corridor and port connectivity.
On seeking anonymity, a trailer owners’ association representative said the Chennai Port always indulges into these kinds of  tactics. About a week ago, container movement was suspended for seven hours when a parliamentary panel inspected the port.
When contacted, Port Trust chairman Atulya Misra denied doing any window dressing and also denied halting movement of containers.

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