|An end to the one of the major controversies surrounding the ₹600 crore Ennore Manali Road Improvement Project (EMRIP) finally seems to be in sight.|
Residents of Nalla Thanneer Odai (NTO) Kuppam on the Ennore Expressway, who were resisting every attempt at eviction, have moved out of their hamlet, paving way for the road to be widened. Around 300m of the road leading to the Chennai Port will now be widened to a six-lane stretch.
However, residents of NTO Kuppam are only moving half-heartedly since there is no guarantee that they will get houses on the land promised to them. Work to demolish the houses began on Monday. They have been promised 447 houses on land belonging to the Thyagaraya Swamy Temple near Ellaiamman Temple on the expressway.
“We have been given temporary allotments for houses that will be constructed. But the land is yet to be taken over. So far, around 50-odd houses have been demolished and 30 more would have to be cleared to make way for the road. We want the rest of the houses to remain till new structures come up,” said Mahendran, a resident.
Sources in the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) said the State government had promised to hand over land on two more stretches by the end of this month. “Inside the fishing harbour, work for a platform to land boats and dry fish has been completed and the fish stalls coming in the way will be dismantled,” said an official. A total of 900 m of road is to be widened. “Work is likely to commence in July,” he added.
The project to widen the northern portion of the Inner Ring Road, Ennore Expressway, Manali Oil Refinery Road and Tiruvottiyur-Ponneri-Panchetti Road to provide connectivity between Ennore and Chennai ports was first announced by the State government in 1998.