By Mohammed Shafeeq
Hyderabad, May 13 The proposed new major port at Dugarajapatnam in Andhra Pradesh is expected to further boost exports and imports from the east coast and give an impetus to the economic development of the state.
The project was cleared by the central cabinet last week.
The port, proposed on 5,000 acres, will be the second big port in Nellore district in south coastal Andhra. The port will be the second major port in Andhra Pradesh controlled by the central government after Visakhapatnam and overall the 14th port on the nearly 1,000-km coastline of the southern state.
It is one of the two major ports cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs as part of the government’s look-east policy and the plans to triple the country’s cargo-loading ability to 3.13 billion tonnes by 2020. The other major port will come up at Sagar in West Bengal.
The foundation stone for Rs.8,000 crore port at Dugarajapatnam in Vakadu ‘mandal’ or block is likely to be laid in August. It will have the capacity of 50 million tonnes per annum.
Member of Parliament from Tirupati Chinta Mohan is hopeful that 500 ancillary industries would come up in the area, providing employment to nearly 10 lakh people. He believes the total investment in the port would go up to Rs.25,000 crore by the time it is fully developed in various phases.
Mohan said the proposed port coupled with Chennai-Bangalore industrial corridor would give an impetus to industrial development in the region and the exports.
The centre has already agreed to extend the proposed Chennai-Bangalore industrial corridor till Krishnapatnam port, a big private port in Nellore district.
The corridor is expected to be a major growth spot for the country, especially South India as it will connect five ports and three international airports in three states.
Dugarajapatnam is 45 km from Gudur, a town near National Highway-5 which runs along the east coast connecting Chennai to Bhubaneswar. Gudur is about 140 km from Chennai.
As several thermal power plants are coming up in south coastal Andhra, the proposed port is likely to handle coal imports. The region also has many existing and upcoming steel, cement and fertilizer plants. Iron ore is another cargo likely to be handled once the ban on mining is lifted in neighbouring Karnataka.
The Federation of Andhra Pradesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FAPCCI) said the state had huge potential for exports including the agriculture products. “The new port should be the size of ports at Colombo, Dubai or Singapore so that big vessels can come directly from Europe, US and other destinations. This will reduce the cost in trans-shipment,” FAPCCI president Devendra Surana told IANS. He pointed out that currently the ports were handling only trans-shipments.
The proposed port is also significant in view of the increasing trade among Asian countries. The ports on eastern coast will handle the exports and imports from southeast Asian countries.
Dugarajapatnam was one of the three locations initially suggested. Nakkapalli in Visakhapatnam district was dropped after Indian Navy said this could hamper their future expansion. Ramayyapatnam in Prakasam district was strongly favoured by the state government but it was also dropped after Krishnapatnam port company raised objections saying it falls within an exclusive zone of about 100 km granted to the existing port.
Even in case of Dugarajapatnam, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) reportedly raised objections due to its proximity to Satish Dhawan Space Centre, a satellite launch facility at Sriharikota in the same district.
Chinta Mohan is happy that the centre ignored their objections keeping in mind the larger interest of the people of the region.
Officials are hopeful that there would not be any major problem in acquisition of land for the port as the major chunk of the 8,000 acre land available in the area, a major chunk is owned by the government.
The central government took justified and intelligent decision in location of the port at dugarajapatnam keeping in view of the thermal power plants coming nearby and closeness of industrial cities of chennai and
Bangalore.The rail link between dugarajapatnam and Gudur should be taken up soon as several industries are coming up nearby.
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