Monday, November 24, 2014

EXCLUSIVE: Good days are ahead for road & port projects in Tamil Nadu: Pon Radhakrishnan


 “For the sake of speeding up pending projects in the state, I am ready to meet anybody in Tamil Nadu government,” Mr Radhakrishnan.

Port Wings News Network:

I am fully confident that the Tamil Nadu government will extend its support for early completion of Union Government supported road projects in the state, new Minister of State for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping Mr Pon Radhakrishnan has said.
In an exclusive interview to Port Wings, Mr Radhakrishnan said, “When I met and interacted with the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Mr O Paneerselvam at Secretariat recently, got the sense that state government too understood the importance of Ennore Manali Road Improvement Project (EMRIP) and Chennai Port-Maduravoyal Elevated Expressway, which would not only help the Chennai Port but also the whole Chennai City.”
It is worth recalling here that Port Wings, in its last issue, had carried a news article on Mr Radhakrishnan’s ground-breaking meeting with the Chief Minister Paneerselvam and its possible impact on Centre’s road connectivity projects in the state.
Despite his busy schedule, the Minister spoke to Port Wings on various issues pertaining to his ministry and elaborated his vision for development.


On a question about EMRIP and Chennai Port-Maduravoyal Elevated Expressway’s future, Mr Radhakrishnan said, “Both the projects are very important road connectivity projects for Chennai Port as well as to the city. During my meeting with the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister recently, I emphasized about the importance of early completion of both the projects. During the course of interaction, I got a sense of feeling that they also understood the need for such projects and I am fully confident that good times are ahead for those projects.”
Reacting to a query about implication on Chennai Port’s future if these projects remains pending for longtime, Mr Radhakrishnan said, “If these projects, especially the Elevated Expressway, remains pending for long time, it will not augur well for Chennai Port’s future. While the Port’s future will be in peril, whole Chennai City, which is growing rapidly, will also face huge congestion problems in coming years.  Once the Elevated Expressway is completed, it will give an opportunity to lessen traffic on city’s arterial roads.”
“There is a misconception in certain section that the Centre’s projects (be it ports or roads) would create revenue source for the Union government alone. That is wrong. All those projects are primarily meant to create infrastructure to support sustained development of state’s various sectors including manufacturing and logistics,” Mr Radhakrishnan said.  


On a question about status of NHAI projects, Mr Radhakrishnan, who is also the MoS for Road Transport & National Highways, said, “During the meeting with the Chief Minister, I also discussed about acquisition of lands for some of the NHAI projects, which are stuck only due to problems in land acquisitions .”


Expressing his views on the importance of state and Centre’s partnership, Mr Radhakrishnan said, “Memorandum of Understanding is a concept that is mainly conceived to bring the stakeholders on a platform to move on progressive path. However, there is memorandum between parties sans understanding. And without any understanding, treading on progress path is difficult. Moreover, the delay in completing infrastructure projects not only costs to the exchequer, but also halts the country’s progress. ”
 “For the sake of speeding up pending projects in the state, I am ready to meet anybody in Tamil Nadu government,” added Mr Radhakrishnan.


On a question about the development of Colachel Port, Mr Radhakrishnan said, “The Colachel Port, located at Kanyakumari District in Tamil Nadu, is close to the international shipping route and has enough draft for establishing an international standard port with all modern facilities.”
“We have requested the Tamil Nadu government, who is maintaining it through its maritime board, to handover the minor port to Centre for developing an ultra-modern mega port. I also instructed the VOC Port Trust to complete a detailed project report (DPR) at the earliest. Since I am also from the same district, would like to see a bustling port at Colachel soon.” Mr Radhakrishnan added.
It may be noted that a fully developed Colachel Port would not only pave way for economic growth of Southern Tamil Nadu as well as parts of Kerala through industrial clusters, but also help to generate job opportunity for thousands.


On a question about support for Tirupur knitwear exporters, Mr Radhakrishnan said, “Tirupur Exporters Association team led by its president Mr A Sakthivel met me in New Delhi and aired their grievances including the issue of effluent treatment and shortage of labours. I suggested them to start knitwear exporting clusters in Ramnad District, where they can get vast tracts of land for setting up factories, cheap labour and port facility is also located in short distance at Tuticorin. They promised me to respond positively.”
“Developing such facilities in Ramnad district would not only arrest the exodus of locals seeking greener pastures in Tirupur or Coimbatore, but also help the economic growth of least developed district in Tamil Nadu,” Mr Radhakrishnan added.

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