Special Purpose Vehicle to be formed to finalise modalities

Visakhapatnam Port Trust, which is on a massive expansion mode, is keen on picking up majority stake in the proposed major port coming up at Dugarajapatnam in Nellore district, its Deputy Chairman G.V.L. Satya Kumar has said.

Notwithstanding the concerns expressed over the location of Satish Dhawan Satellite Centre SHAR at Sriharikota and Indian Space Research Organisation’s ambitious satellite launching programme, he has said only after ruling out security concerns, the location has been finalised.

RITES, which has been asked to conduct techno-economic feasibility study, has already submitted its report. The Union Cabinet has cleared the proposal to set up two major ports at Dugarajapatnam in the State and Sagar in West Bengal with a total phase-wise investment of over Rs.16,000 crore.

“A Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) will be formed to finalise the modalities and the equity of the Government of Andhra Pradesh and the VPT in the Dugarajapatnam project,” Mr. Satya Kumar has told The Hindu when asked about the status of the project.

The new port in Nellore district will require 4,000 acres – most of which is government land. The area has deep draft enabling berthing of Panamax and Cape class vessels. The location, due to close proximity to Chennai, will also be an advantage.

In the first phase, it is expected to have four or five berths with an investment of Rs. 4,500 crore. After studying three locations – Nakkapalli in Visakhapatnam, Ramaiahpatnam in Prakasam and Dugarajapatnam -- a high-power committee constituted by the Centre had zeroed in on Ramaiahpatnam. It rejected Nakkapalli due to security concerns raised by the Navy, which has Eastern Naval Command here and a new base coming up near Atchutapuram. However, the Centre has later identified Dugarajapatnam as its choice.

There is also a demand to bring the new ports proposed at Dugarajapatnam and Sagar under Major Port Trusts Act instead of Companies Act. “It will ensure desired development in the area if they are brought under Major Port Trusts Act,” general secretary of Water Transport Workers’ Federation, has said.

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