The keen tussle for the location of the second major public sector port in the State is apparently over with the Union Cabinet zeroing in on Durgarajupatnam in Nellore over Ramayapatnam in Prakasam district after weighing all pros and cons.
Though the official announcement about the Union Cabinet approval for the second major port was made on Thursday, it did not name the location. Reliable sources here, however, confirmed that it is Durgarajupatnam.
Though the approval for the second major public sector port in the State, coming up decades after the Visakhapatnam Port was a foregone conclusion, the final choice certainly came as a surprise to many in the government for Ramayapatnam had been preferred by it all along. This was because Ramayapatnam had least objections either on security or environmental aspects among the three places identified, including Nakkapalli in Visakhapatnam, headquarters for the Eastern Naval Command.
While Eastern Naval Command authorities expressed reservations over a major port coming up at Nakkapalli in Visakhapatnam citing security concerns, Durgarajupatnam was opposed by SHAR space centre at Sriharikota for security reasons and environmentalists that it could affect the Pulicat lake.
However Chittoor MP Chinta Mohan and MLAs from Nellore including Minister Anam Ramanarayana Reddy succeeded in allaying the apprehensions of SHAR authorities who gave conditional clearance that all activities should be stopped at the proposed port 48 hours before the launch operations from the space centre.
Sources explained that Durgarajupatnam, a natural port was close to Ennore, Chennai, the two public sector ports which were operating to their full capacity, and the private port Krishnapatnam. With several industries coming up in the Tada, Sri City, Naidupeta SEZs, the recently announced National investment and manufacturing zone for Chittoor, proximity to Chennai-Bangalore industrial corridor via Krishnapatnam port in Nellore, Durgarajupatnam emerged as the commercially and technically viable location for the port, sources said.
The port to be developed at a cost of about Rs.8,000 crore would spur economic development in Nellore and Rayalaseema belt. Once the gazette notification was issued, State government would take care of land acquisition. Being a Central public sector project, State’s role would only be of facilitator and all required clearances would come from central departments.