Thursday, October 3, 2013

Govt apathy has driven EXIM players to neighbouring ports


In a scathing attack on different Chambers of Commerce in Tamil Nadu for failing to persuade the State Government on the early resumption of Rs. 1, 815-crore Chennai Port – Maduravoyal Elevated Expressway, the Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO) has asked the trade bodies to take up the case in all earnestness so that the project could see the light of the day.

Addressing a gathering of representatives from different Chambers of Commerce during the annual session of Hindustan Chamber of Commerce in the City on Sept 30, Mr. M. Rafeeque Ahmed, President of FIEO and Chairman of Farida Group, a leading leather and leather footwear exporters in India, said: “Why different Chambers of Commerce are keeping a stoic silence on the stalled road-connectivity project. Every time I travel on the road from Ambur to Chennai, I used to see the fate of the now-stopped Chennai Port – Maduravoyal Elevated Expressway in sorrow.

He added: “Though the project was stalled more than a year now, not a single trade body, which is basically meant to secure interest of EXIM community in the region with the authorities, even tried to persuade the Tamil Nadu Government on the importance of the project for the growth of trade till now.”

“If we can’t take up the issue with the State Government, which is affecting the entire EXIM fraternity in the region, who else can take it up,” Mr. Rafeeque Ahmed questioned.

Trade bodies should take steps to persuade the State Government to resume the stalled project by explaining it as well as convincing the authorities about the other advantages like end of traffic snarls inside the City when the project is completed, added the FIEO President.

It may be noted here that the inordinate delay in completing the all-important road connectivity project, which was primarily conceived as a permanent solution to growing congestion of heavy vehicles plying between Chennai Port and the outskirts of the City via Chennai’s arterial roads, has forced the regional EXIM players to seek refuge in neighbouring ports for their need.

Mr. Rafeeque also gave an example of Shanghai City in China, which had faced similar traffic congestion like Chennai and subsequent construction of an elevated bridge, similar to the one proposed here, had helped the Chinese City to overcome the traffic snarls once for all. He also said that the early commissioning of the Elevated Expressway would help both the traders of import and export as well as the State Government.

While seamless movement of cargo would increase revenue for Chennai Port, it would also help the manufacturing sector in the State to fully rely on the oldest port for their raw material requirements.

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