The new Chairman gets down to business. Mr. Krishna Babu said that tenders for northern arm dredging, to increase a draft from 10 to 14 metres by December, would be finalised within a week.
Senior IAS officer M.T. Krishna Babu, who took over as Chairman of the Visakhapatnam Port Trust on Monday, said he would put the port back on track by completing the capacity addition and mechanisation projects costing Rs.2,500 crore to Rs.3,000 crore in two to three years.
“A clear deadline will be set and the capacity will be ramped up to make it a user-friendly port and get ranking among top two to three ports in the country,” he said. The post of Chairman fell vacant for over a year. Putting pollution at bare minimum would be on top of agenda, he clarified.
Mr. Krishna Babu, who earlier served as Principal Secretary, Infrastructure and Investment Department, said he was aware of the challenges faced by the Visakhapatnam port due to competition in the neighbourhood and said because of its inherent strengths it would not be affected by Gangavaram and other ports.
The new Chairman, who earlier attended a meeting of board of trustees, told reporters that completion of delay in dredging in the Inner Harbour was the major handicap in berthing of Panamax vessels though draft of Outer Harbour was enhanced recently to receive capesize vessels without lightening. There was a decline in cargo volume at the port during the last few years.
Mr. Krishna Babu said that tenders for northern arm dredging, to increase a draft from 10 to 14 metres by December, would be finalised within a week. Bigger vessels could enter the Inner Harbour from the New Year. So far, the port had spent Rs.230 crore on increasing the draft.Mechanisation work
Asked to comment on delay in mechanisation work, he said they would sort out everything and complete the projects as per schedule in association with the port users and PPP mode partners. The capacity of the port would go up from 80 to 120 million tonne in two to three years, he said. To make it a landlord port, a total investment of Rs.10,000 crore was envisaged as part of Maritime Agenda-2020 and Rs.5,000 crore as part of 12th Plan Working Group recommendation.
Port Deputy Chairman G.V.L. Satya Kumar and other senior officials earlier greeted Mr. Krishna Babu.
Mr. Krishna Babu is back to the city after serving as Joint Collector during 2000-03.