CPCB has declared Visakhapatnam ‘a critically polluted area'
Security at Gangavaram has been beefed up as the public hearing by AP Pollution Control Board for the expansion of Gangavaram Port Limited will be held on Thursday amid fears of protest by a section of project-affected people.
While the company has tried to explain the green-friendly measures being undertaken by it, like the dust suppression system installed at a cost of Rs.20 crore to keep pollution to a bare minimum, a section of project affected people, Forum for Better Visakha, CPI and CPI (M) contended that it should not be given the go-ahead as the Central Pollution Control Board has declared Visakhapatnam as a critically polluted area. GPL, which became commercially operational in 2009, is proposing to expand its capacity from 16.5 million tonne to 40.9 million tonne by 2013-14 by constructing four more berths and augmenting infrastructure at a cost of Rs.995 crore.
The port, built at a cost of around Rs.2,000 crore under Public-Private Partnership format, after a violent agitation over land acquisition and rehabilitation and resettlement package, at present has five berths.
Deployment of extra forces necessitated following a tense atmosphere in the locality and many protesting over inordinate delay over construction of fish landing centre at Yarada. The port area was originally meant for development as a captive jetty of Visakhapatnam Steel Plant. However, during Telugu Desam regime, pressure was exerted on the then National Democratic Alliance Government to surrender the land to the State Government, to allot it for development of a port by D.V.S. Raju-led consortium. At one point of time, Visakhapatnam Port Trust had proposed to develop Gangavaram as a satellite port by including VSP and State Government as equity partners.