Rajahmundry airport will be expanded, says Yanamala. On finances, Mr. Ramakrishnudu said the budget was in deficit, but the Centre would compensate the shortfall.

An International Greenfield Airport will come up between Kakinada and Visakhapatnam and the airport at Rajahmundry will be expanded to cater to the needs of the increased air traffic very soon, according to Finance Minister Yanamala Ramakrishnudu.

After attending the first Cabinet meeting of the new government in Visakhapatnam, Mr. Ramakrishnudu visited the district on Friday. Collector Neetu Prasad, Superintendent of Police Vijay Kumar and other officials welcomed him with bouquets and gave him a detailed note on various projects in the district.

Addressing a press conference, Mr. Ramakrishnudu said there was huge scope for developing the district, as it was centrally located in the new State and abundant of resources. “We have proposed a floating LNG terminal in Kakinada, so that a good number of ancillary industries will come up in and around the city. The VK-PCPIR project will be merged into the national industrial policy and we are keen on setting up pollution-free industries only in the corridor,” he said, adding that decks had been cleared for the laying of six-lane Express Highway from Srikakulam to Chennai.

Mr. Ramakrishnudu said the government would accord equal priority to industry and irrigation and the industrial development was not going to be at the cost of the interests of farmers. “All the irrigation projects, including the Polavaram project, will be completed at the earliest. There is a need to improve the extent of cultivable land. At the same time, industrial development is the need of the hour to develop the new State,” he said.

On finances, Mr. Ramakrishnudu said the budget was in deficit, but the Centre would compensate the shortfall. “The Centre has to give special package to three coastal districts and four districts in Rayalaseema. The State was given special status so that we will get more funds than loans from the Centre,” he said, adding that the tax incentives would be given to new industries. “The special status will be continued for five years and we are seeking an extension of 10 more years. As long as the special status is continued, we will get sops in different forms from the Centre, which can be used for development of the State,” he said.

MLA Vanamadi Kondababu and other leaders were present.