The Visakhapatnam Port Trust, which owns the country's second largest port, wants to adopt a two-pronged strategy to relocate the individual and institutional buildings from pollution-hit old town, particularly in Kotaveedhi, and convince fishermen to shift the fishing harbour so as to use the vacant space for its future needs.
“There is tremendous growth in construction over a period of time with high density in population in the port area. Our strategy is to put a stop to the thumb-shape development in between inner and outer harbours. Once we convince all, we can use the vacated space for additional stacking area as well as expansion of the outer harbour,” a senior official told The Hindu.
The government has also given its nod for land-for-land compensation. Sources say some educational institutions and places of worship have agreed to relocate. Coal dust and iron ore particles, mainly due to open and scattered handling, have led to heavy pollution in and around Kotaveedhi.
The shifting of the fishing harbour is hanging fire for the past several decades due to resistance from the fishermen community and boat operators.
Following several rounds of meetings and offers to develop a Greenfield fishing jetty close to the proposed satellite port at Mulakedu near Bhimunipatnam at an estimated cost of Rs.2,000 crore, the port authorities are exuding confidence that they would convince the stakeholders to shift.
As far as individual houses and institutions are concerned, after receiving consent from bona fide owners of the property, land-for-land compensation will be given.
As part of the Memorandum of Understanding to be signed with the owners, there will be valuation after document verification. Land compensation will be made in Narasimhanagar, Kailasapuram, and Mudasarlova, where the port has huge extent of land at its disposal.
At present, the VPT does not have enough space for expansion of the outer harbour. It also has no waterfront for strengthening its facilities. Hence, the relocation of habitations as well as the Fishing Harbour assumes lot of importance.
“Our plan is to create additional stacking area and construct roads, rail tracks, and flyover at the place to be made available after relocation,” an official pointed out. With massive investments under Public-Private Partnership format, the port is expected to increase its cargo handling capacity from 62 million tonne to 110 million tonnes from the year 2013. It has awarded works to BOT operators for mechanisation of five berths and is in the process of getting government permission for three more.