Development of Kalingapatnam and Bhavanapadu as minor ports remained only on papers though both of them can spur economic activity and curb migration of labourers from the district.
Both of them used to act as economic hubs during the British and the Dutch regimes. They were ancient harbour towns. Perfumes, textiles and other goods were exported to other countries from those ports. The operations were stopped in those places long ago.
Andhra Pradesh was the first maritime State to recognise the need for increased port infrastructure and the role that the private sector would be required to play in developing the same.
The State prepared a document according to which a cargo 200 MTs would be handled by 2019-2020. According to officials, ports offer tremendous potential for development and growth of a wide spectrum of maritime activities such as international shipping, coastal shipping, ship repairs, fishing, and captive ports for specific industries.
The Department of Ports has notified 14 non-major ports including Kalingapatnam and Bhavanapadu long ago.
The department planned to attract private investment and construct them under public-private partnership mode. Huge investments in the ports sector have become imperative so that infrastructure in the ports sector gets modernised, upgraded and expanded to allow handling of higher volumes of cargo in the existing ports as well as in the new ports to be developed.
Political parties always promised people that they would strive hard for the construction of ports in Srikakulam district but the proposals were shelved soon after completion of elections.
Uttarandhra Journalists’ Front President M.R.N. Varma said: “The Union government announced a package for Seemandhra but it did not elaborate on the contents. Development of ports should be given top priority if they want to create job opportunities in backward areas like Srikakulam. We have submitted a document to Prime Minister in which we have mentioned about the ports’ development in north-coastal area.”
V. Nageswara Rao, a leader of fishermen community, told The Hindu that the new government should focus on the development of ports and create infrastructure for eco-friendly industries in the district. “Fishermen community will get benefited if ports are developed. Currently, they are going to Gujarat and Tamil Nadu in search of employment opportunities,” he added.