VPT’s modernisation plans address the issues raised by residents
The ongoing modernisation of the Visakhapatnam Port promises to cut down the misery of the residents in the city.
The open handling of coal and mineral ores used to raise a lot of dust posing a health hazard to the residents not only in the area but also the entire city. It may be recalled that two years ago gale winds spread the coal dust across the city, including the new areas of Seethammadhara and Venkojipalem, among others. The citizens staged a number of protests demanding that the port put a stop to open handling of coal and ore.
A drive down the streets of Old Town and a close look at the walls of the buildings and furniture at the homes of residents in areas located in and around Old Head Post Office junction, old Rajeswari theatre area, Convent junction and Gnanpuram is enough to gauge the intensity of the problem. Residents complain of the coal dust settling on utensils and water containers not covered with lids. There are innumerable complaints of respiratory disorders and lung diseases from these areas.
Parents of children studying at the St. Joseph's Girls High School and other schools at Gnanapuram frequently complain that the shirts of their children acquire a brownish tinge which does not vanish even after tough washing with quality detergent.
They are also worried about the health of their children. The coal dust problem that has been limited to the Old Town has spread to other areas including Marripalem, Muralinagar, Seethammadhara and China Waltair in the dry months.
With an aim to expand its capacity to handle 85 million tonnes by 2015, the Visakhapatnam Port Trust has drawn up ambitious plans for modernisation, including deepening of channels and berths, construction of new berths, installation of state of art mechanized handling facilities and other logistics.
This would not only result in increasing the handling capacity of the port but also minimise the health hazard to the residents of the port city. As part of the modernisation programme, the VPT took up revamp of two berths. Three massive wharf cranes have been brought in and a new conveyor belt is almost ready. The new conveyor and modernised berth are likely to be commissioned some time next month.