Friday, July 31, 2009

Cuddalore - Sirkazhi trial run

Gauge conversion between Cuddalore [kadaloor] and Sirkazhi [seerkaazhi] was taken as a part of broad gauge conversion between Villupuram [vizhuppuram] and Mayiladuturai [mayilaaduthu'rai]. Work on this 52KM stretch is complete and the trial run is scheduled for today (31-Jul-2009).

Details of the project as I know from various dailies:

Project cost: Rs. 400 crores
Total Length: 122 KM - between Villupuram and Mayiladuturai
Project start date: January-2007
Phase I: Sirkazhi - Mayiladuturai (22KM)
Phase I completion date: Jan 28, 2009
Phase II: Cuddalore Old Town - Villupuram (48KM)
Phase II completion date: Mar 28, 2009
Phase III: Cuddalore Old Town - Sirkazhi (52KM)
Phase III completion date: Jul 31, 2009
No. of bridges: 32
No. of culverts: 380
No. of gates: 100 (52 - manned, 48 – unmanned)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Cuddalore – By the coast

Cuddalore – By the coast by - PondicherryTrip

20kms from Pondicherry, Cuddalore is a short drive away and promises a very different experience for the tourist.

Cuddalore as the name suggests, is a place by the sea. Its association with water goes a step further. The town is also situated at the point where the Rivers Ponnaiyar and the Gadilam often ravage it with flash floods. A sea-port of yore and an important temple town, Cuddalore is also famous for its beaches and its star attraction, the Pichavaram mangrove forest. The British also left their own imprint on the town with various monuments that are now part of the town’s heritage. Industry also plays an important role here with manufacturing units like SIPCOT and the Neyveli Lignite factory near by.

Pondicherry and Chidambaram also promise tourist attractions and have good access from here. Cuddalore is an interesting stop in the Tamil Nadu tourism circuit.

Cuddalore brought under Villupuram town planning office

New local planning authority planned for Tiruvallur region - The Times of India

CHENNAI: The state government has announced the formation of a new local planning authority for Tiruvallur region to give an impetus to the growth of the district headquarters and surrounding areas.

While announcing this in the Assembly on Tuesday, housing minister I Periasami said development had reached many parts of Tiruvallur district because a substantial portion of Chennai Metropolitan Area fell under the adjacent district. It is high time its growth was regulated and hence a local planning authority was essential, he said.

The government has decided to prepare detailed master plans for Mamallapuram, Ariyalur and Sriperumbudur areas with the assistance of geo-informatics system, said Periasami.

He also said the Directorate of Town and Country Planning regional office in Chengalpet would be bifurcated with two headquarters Chengalpet and Villupuram. While Kancheepuram and Sriperumbudur will remain attached to Chengalpet regional office, Cuddalore is being brought under Villupuram regional office.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

CUSECS Pipe Breaks; Village Canal and River Uppanar Contaminated

CUSECS Pipe Breaks; Village Canal and River Uppanar Contaminated -

Cuddalore 9 July 2009: Residents of Eachangadu village reported a breakage and leak in CUSECS pipeline at about 2.30 am today. This pipeline collects water from Pioneer Jellice, Arkema Peroxides, Bayer and Pandian Chemicals. This leak was detected by Shivaraman of Eachangadu village after he noticed a strong rotten dead body like chemical odour at the village entrance. Upon further investigation into the source of the smell, Shivaraman discovered the breakage in the pipeline and the effluent overflow into the Eachangadu canal. The point of overflow was on the western side of the SPIC boundary wall between SPIC and the East Coast Road. SACEM monitors alerted the CUSECS operators at the gates of Pioneer Jellice about the leak at around 2.45 am and subsequently it took the operators almost 3 hours to shut the pump. According to the reports the effluent had a white layer on top and had a very strong rotten dead body odour to it.

A complaint has been sent to the TNPCB and District Administration demanding action on the errant officials and scientific clean up of the contaminated sites.

Pollution update

Below are SIPCOT pollution related news published over past two months in

Provide water to affected SIPCOT villages: Collector says -

CUDDALORE, 20 June, 2009 - SIPCOT villages suffering from shortage of drinking water due to overdrawal of water by SIPCOT and groundwater pollution should be given clean water from the Tamilnadu Water Supply and Drainage Board's joint water project. Any expense for the same should be recovered from SIPCOT industries, said the Cuddalore district collector during a quarterly meeting on health, environment and safety issues of the SIPCOT industrial area held on 18 June, 2009. Attended by elected village representatives, SACEM members, SIPCOT and Factories Inspectorate officials and industry representatives, the meeting covered a range of topics from state of pollution in SIPCOT to progress made on issues discussed at the previous meeting in February 2009 full story>>

Pioneer discharges effluent illegally into River Uppanar -

Cuddalore 9 July 2009: SACEM monitors reported illegal discharge of effluents from Pioneer Jellice Ltd into the Kuttaikaran Koil Viakal (canal) leading to river Uppanar at about 6 am today. This discharge took place just half an hour after the CUSECS pipeline shut its operation due to a breakage near Eachangadu village earlier in the morning. Monitors noticed effluent with white layer and strong rotten dead body odour flowing from the northern side of the unit into the canal.

A complaint has been sent to the TNPCB and District Administration demanding action on the industry for repeatedly resorting to illegal means to discharge their effluent and thereby violating the law.

Buckingham canal revival in limbo

Buckingham canal revival in limbo - The Times of India

CHENNAI: The much-awaited revival of the Buckingham canal as part of the Centre's Inland Waterway Project is in limbo even nine months after the passage of the Inland Waterways Bill in Parliament.

Though the state public works department (PWD) has submitted a proposal at an estimated cost of Rs 25 crore to the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) for the dredging and cleaning of the 50-km stretch from Muttukadu [muttu-k-kaadu] creek to Edaiyur creek near Kalpakkam [kal-paakkam] in the first phase of the project, no headway has been made so far.

"The works have gained momentum in neighbouring Kerala, but the project has been limping along in our state. The first phase of the work was originally scheduled to commence in February this year," official sources said.

The chairman of IWAI visited the proposed sites in November 2008 and asked the PWD to submit a proposal for the dredging and cleaning of the stretch as per guidelines issued by the IWAI. It was also proposed to launch ferry service in the creek on an experimental basis to exploit the tourism potential. But, no progress has been made even after the submission of the proposal.

The revival of Buckingham project has reportedly lost momentum after a change of guard in the Union shipping ministry following elections.

The IWAI has, however, sanctioned Rs 16.63 crore to establish inland waterway terminals at Bolgatty Island and Willingdon Island in areas coming under the Cochin Port Trust in Kerala.

The Buckingham canal, which is to be revived at an estimated cost of Rs 450-500 crore, is falling under the National Waterway - IV connecting Kakinada in Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry.

Under the project envisaged to promote inland water transport, the north Buckingham Canal will be revived and made naviagable from Arangam village on the Tamil Nadu-Andhra Pradesh border to Ennore creek for a distance of 58 km and also the south Buckingham canal from Sholinganallur [choazhingga-:nalloor] to Marakkanam [marak-kaa'nam], a distance of 105 km. However, the central portion of the canal, running to a length of 7.1 km, could not be made navigable due to construction of Mass Rapid Transport System and encroachments.

It has also been planned to construct terminals at Pulicat lake, Basin Bridge, Palavakkam [paala-vaakkam], Alamparai [aalamparai], Kazhanchi and Cuddalore [kadaloor] for loading and unloading of goods. While the PWD will take up the dredging and cleaning work, the IWAI will create required infrastructure such as terminals (fixed or floating) and modification of existing bridges and culverts.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Proposal to convert ECR into four lane

Rs.63 lakhs had been allocated for the feasibility report and environmental assessment work for coverting ECR stretch between Chennai and Puducherry [puthuchcheari] into four lanes. This was allocated late last year. If any of you know about the progress of the work, please share us.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Fund for port development in Cuddalore district

Rs. 1000 crore is allocated for the development of port in Cuddalore. But it is not clear whether this fund will be spent on Cuddalore Port at Old Town area or on Thiruchopuram [thiruchchoapuram] port (to the south of Cuddalore Port) being developed by Nagarjuna Oil Corporation Limited (NOCL).

Here is a related article:

In principle approval from Centre to construct 4 harbours - Chennai Online

Jul 11, 2009

Chennai, July 10: The Tamil Nadu Government has got in principle approval from the Centre to construct four harbours at a cost of Rs 3,600 crore, minister for highways and minor ports, Vellakovil M P Swaminathan said today.

Replying to demands for the Highways and Minor Ports Department in the assembly, he said the Centre has approved construction of a Rs 1500 crore harbour near Paramankeni village in Kancheepuram district to handle coal needs for the proposed 4,000 MW ultra mega power project in the district.

Swaminathan said another harbour would be built at Udankudi in Tuticorin district at an estimated cost of Rs 350 crore to handle coal requirements of the proposed 1600 MW power station of Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited and the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board.

The Minister said following a request by Marg Swarna Bhoomi Board private Limited, a private harbour would also be constructed near Kanchipuram district at a cost of Rs 750 crore. This harbour would be used to repair ships, he added.

Swaminathan said IL&FS proposed to set up a 4,000 MW power plant in Cuddalore district. "In order to facilitate coal requirement for the plant,the government proposes to construct another harbour at a cost of Rs 1,000 crore in the area", he added. - Agencies

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Chennai-Cuddalore east coast railway line updates

The alignment survey results for the proposed Chennai-Cuddalore east coast railway line is out. Perungudi will be the starting point. Guess trains will stop both at Tirupadiripuliyur [thiruppaathirippuliyoor] and Cuddalore [kadaloor] OT junction. A new junction is proposed at Puducherry [puthuchcheari].

Below is the proposed alignment. This can be changed.

01. Perungudi (0 Km)
02. Solinganallur(9.6 Km - Crossing)
03. Kovalam (23.6 Km - Crossing)
04. Tirupporur (30.1 Km - Crossing)
05. Mahabalipuram (43.7 Km - Crossing)
06. Kalpakkam (49.3 Km - Halt)
07. Sadurangappattinam(52.7 Km - Crossing)
08. Kuvattur (64.5 Km - Crossing)
09. Cheyyur (80.2 Km - Crossing)
10. Chunampet (92.8 Km - Halt)
11. Marakkanam (96.6 Km - Crossing)
12. Kunimedu (112 Km - Crossing)
13. Kuilappalayam (125.6 Km - Crossing)
14. Jipmer (131.1 Km - Halt)
15. Pondichery (139.1 Km - Terminal)
16. New Pondichery (147.4 Km - Junction)
17. Bahoor (161.9 Km - Crossing)
18. Varakalpattu (170.2 Km - Existing Station in VM - CUPJ Line - Proposed Junction)
19. Tiruppadirippuliyur (175.3 Km - Existing Crossing Station)
20. Cuddalore Port (179.2 Km - Existing junction)

General expectation of people from Cuddalore and Puducherry will be to start the project from the Cuddalore end, as this will ease the travel between these towns even before the actual project is complete.

As of now it is unclear whether train services between Cuddalore and Puducherry will be introduced. If introduced the travel time could be reduced to 15 minutes.

Source: Indian Railways Southern Zone discussion forum

Related stories:

Indian Railways Southern Zone's discussion forum - Cuddalore Online March 14, 2009

Blueprint for E Coast rail link to Cuddalore ready - The Times of India June 08, 2008

Developements in the proposed Cuddalore - Chennai rail project - Cuddalore Online June 04, 2006

More details on Cuddalore - Chennai rail project - Cuddalore Online October 06, 2005

Cuddalore - Pondicherry connection - Cuddalore Online October 05, 2005

Chennai-Pondicherry rail ? NO it must be Chennai-Cuddalore - Cuddalore Online June 01, 2005

Developments in Cuddalore power project

Sivasankaran looks south for power play - LiveMint

The ace deal maker could take a 26% stake in the 4,000MW project being developed by IL&FS in Tamil Nadu

Baiju Kalesh

Mumbai: Investor C. Sivasankaran, known for buying companies low and selling high, is in talks to buy a 26% stake in a 4,000MW power plant at Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu, promoted by Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services Ltd, or IL&FS, three people familiar with the development said.

Sivasankaran, chairman of the Sterling group that operates in businesses as diverse as mobile telephony and coffee bars, will buy the stake through an unlisted group company, Siva Ventures Ltd, they added.

IL&FS, one of India’s leading infrastructure development and finance firms, will build the power project in four phases of 1,000MW each, at an investment of about Rs18,000 crore, a senior IL&FS executive said. Going by the IL&FS estimate, the cost of production of 1MW would be around Rs4.5 crore.

“Sivasankaran is one of the investors and we are taking to eight others,” added the ILF&S executive who asked not to be identified as the deal has not yet been signed with prospective investors.

One of the two other people mentioned in the first instance is involved with the proposed power project and the other is close to Sivasankaran. Both asked not to be identified because the deal is yet to be signed.

IL&FS and Siva Ventures will hold 26% stake each in the proposed power project, the largest private sector power plant in the southern state, and the remaining 48% stake will be sold to several domestic and international investors.

Vaidyanathan Srinivasan, Siva Ventures’s director, said over the phone: “As a private equity fund, we look at various projects. Some discussion must have taken place but nothing has happened as yet.”

At a debt-equity ratio of 70:30, the Rs18,000 crore project will need Rs5,400 crore equity. For their 52% stake, ILF&S and Sivasankaran will bring in Rs1,404 crore each as equity.

The 3,960MW Sasan ultra mega power project in Madhya Pradesh, one of India’s largest coal-based power projects, promoted by the Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group, has a 75:25 debt-equity ratio. It has recently achieved its financial closure. While banks and financial institutions will lend Rs14,550 crore, the promoters are chipping in Rs4,850 crore in the form of equity.

IL&FS and Sivasankaran have begun discussions with Indonesia’s Bumi Resources Tbk, Asia’s largest coal miner, to source coal for the project and are also scouting for coal mines in Indonesia, Australia and Africa, one of the three people said.

Tata Power Ltd, India’s second largest utility firm by sales, has purchased a 30% stake in Kaltium Prima Coal and Arutumin Coal mines in Indonesia that entitles the company to source 10 million tonnes of coal to fire its 4,000MW ultra mega power project near Mundra port in Gujarat.

The relationship between Sivasankaran and IL&FS dates back to 2000 when the financial institution lent Rs100 crore to Aircel, a cellular firm Sivasankaran sold to Maxis Telecommunications Bhd of Malaysia in 2005.

IL&FS had won a mandate to raise $400 million for the telco from private equity funds and financial investors but Sivasankarn sold his firm before this transaction was completed.

Tamil Nadu has been keen to promote private sector investment in power to bridge its 1,700MW deficit that sometimes causes power cuts as long as eight hours a day.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Security tightened around Cuddalore Port

Security tightened around Cuddalore Port - The Hindu


Vital industries under security blanket

Photo: C. Venkatachalapathy
Staying alert: Security personnel inspecting the coast in Cuddalore on Wednesday.

CUDDALORE: Security has been tightened around the Cuddalore Port as part of Operation Barricade. Though the port is defunct, officials are cautious that no strangers gain surreptitious entry into it.

The operation is being kept as a closely guarded secret. But for the top brass, lower-level officials and personnel of various security agencies have no inkling about its true purport.

Unlike other mock drills , Operation Barricade is being carried out in utmost secrecy.
Guarding the sea route

The idea is to take the officials by surprise though an announcement of “infiltration” of anti-social elements who manage to enter the mainland through the sea route. Superintendent of Police Ashwin M. Kotnis told The Hindu that the entire administrative machinery was involved in the operation. Quick reaction teams were deployed at crucial points to guard vital installations.

Personnel of the Coast Guard, Coastal Security Group, local police, Intelligence Bureau and Port officials were involved in the operation, which is being conducted in all coastal villages of the district.
Coastal Vigilance Committees

Mr. Kotnis said that all 43 Coastal Vigilance Committees had been put on alert and their members told to report immediately to the police the citing of any suspicious movement.

Security personnel were doing the rounds at the Cuddalore Port area, Killai, Reddichavadi and so on.

Eleven additional checkpoints had been created to monitor vehicular movement.

Power generating units in the Neyveli Lignite Corporation and the SIPCOT Industrial Estate were now under security blanket. Mr. Kotnis said that at present there was no security threat. But, the operation would keep the personnel on their toes and hone their skills to deal with exigencies.

However, the personnel were not provided weapons to avoid people from panicking, Mr. Kotnis said.