Technical bids for Greenfield facility proposed at Mulakedu being evaluated
Mounting pressure from the Navy to relocate the fishing harbour from the city and heavy congestion at the main port have propelled the Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT) into considering construction of a satellite port and a Greenfield fishing harbour at Mulakedu.
As a first step, the VPT, which owns India’s second largest port, is currently conducting a detailed evaluation of technical bids received in response to global tenders for a consultant to prepare harbour layout at Mulakedu, near the 17th century Dutch township of Bheemunipatnam.
The task of the consultant includes evolving a funding pattern for the satellite port/fishing harbour being taken up with an estimated investment of Rs. 2,000 crore.
The Ministry of Defence as well as the Ministry of Home Affairs, on a number of occasions, brought pressure on the Ministry of Shipping to relocate the fishing harbour due to security threats to warships and submarines as the headquarters of the Eastern Naval Command is located here. A futuristic Naval Base is also coming up between Rambilli and Atchutapuram.
After the Mumbai terror attacks, the port authorities are under pressure to expedite the process of relocation. But the proposal is strongly opposed by fishermen and the fishing industry, saying the new area is not viable for fishing.
A senior port official told The Hindu that Mulakedu is ideally suited for a modern port and fishing harbour. He said they would not shift the fishing harbour without taking into account the interests of the stakeholders.
The VPT was given 172 acres at Mulakedu along with 2-km waterfront area in lieu of land it surrendered for expansion of INS Dega airport.
Price bids would be opened after evaluation of technical bids submitted by four firms for awarding consultancy by mid-November.
“Fishing harbour in the city has a natural draft and enjoys protection from cyclones due to Dolphin’s Nose,” president of Association of Indian Fishery Industries Y.G.K. Murti said.