Andhra Pradesh: Vizag all set to become a pharma hub, says Industries Minister

We are working on a model to have some port-based activity in every 50 km along the coast in the State, says Minister for Industries and IT Gudivada Amarnath.

We are working on a model to have some port-based activity in every 50 km along the coast in the State, says Minister for Industries and IT Gudivada Amarnath. | Photo Credit: K.R. DEEPAK

The Andhra Pradesh government is putting in efforts to develop the industrial sector, which endured the slowdown during the coronavirus pandemic, with renewed vigour, IT and Industries Minister Gudivada Amarnath has said.

In an exclusive chat with The Hindu, the Minister said that a special focus was being laid on pharmaceutical, port-based development and green energy sectors.

“Efforts are on to make Visakhapatnam a pharmaceutical hub in the country in the next few years. We already have two pharma SEZs and Andhra Pradesh MedTech Zone spread across Visakhapatnam and Anakapalli districts. We are among the leading producers of bulk drugs now,” said Mr. Amarnath.

He said that the U.K. government had evinced interest in investing in pharma sector in a big way because of the eco-system and the port-based facility in Visakhapatnam.

Asked about the safe disposal of industrial effluent, he said, “The water released from the industries will be allowed to flow into the sea only after treatment in strict adherence to the norms.”

Port-based development

Mr. Amarnath said that Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy had laid emphasis on port-based development. “Andhra Pradesh has a coastline of about 975 km, the second largest in the country. We are working on a model to have some port-based activity in every 50 km along the coast. The government is planning to have the coast dotted with 10 ports, including the existing four, and nine fishing harbours,” he said.

“We will invest about ₹12,000 crore in three major ports of Bhavanapadu, Ramayapatnam and Machilipatnam. Plans are afoot to invest around ₹3,000 crore in nine fishing harbours. The construction works for four harbours have begun, the rest are in the LOI (Letter of Intent) stage,” said Mr. Amamranath.

The Kakinada port would be modernised with an investment of ₹100 crore, with equal investment partnership with the Union government, he said.

Industrial corridors

Mr. Amarnath said that the government was focusing on three industrial corridors—Vizag-Chennai corridor, Chennai- Bengaluru and Bengaluru—with assistance from the Centre. About 9,000 acres of land have been identified for setting up of the nodes and around 7,000 acres have already been acquired for two corridors, he said.

The Vizag-Chennai corridor has progressed beyond the drawing boards. “This corridor will have five nodes —Visakhapatnam-Rambilli, Machilipatnam, Donakonda, Srikalahasti and Kopparthi. Investment worth about ₹50,000 crore has been planned. Visakhapatnam will have the Petroleum, Chemicals and Petrochemicals Investment Region (PCPIR) project,” said the Minister.

The government will acquire the land and provide basic facilities such as roads, power and water, apart from 75% of skilled local human resources, he said.

“We are in talks with Asian Development and National Industrial Corridor Development and Implementation Trust for funding this project. The State has 98,000 acres of industrial land that can be utilised,” said the Minister.

Green energy

Mr. Amarnath said that 30 locations had been identified for generating 32,00 MW of green energy.

“Apart from the 5,200-MW Greenko project, the Adani Group is set to invest around ₹60,000 crore in green energy sector. A ₹15,740-crore project has been cleared and it is expected to be operational by 2027-28 fiscal year. “Days are not far when the State will have green SEZs,” he said.

The Minister said that around 90,000 acres were needed to produce 30,000 MW of green energy. “We have identified 50,000 acres of agriculture land in Rayalaseema and talks are on with farmers. Each farmer earns around ₹15,000 per acre in a year and have asked the companies to pay around ₹30,000 to ₹31,000 per year as lease rent, of which ₹1,000 will be commission for the State. This way a farmer can get about ₹30,000 per acre per year. It is win-win for all,” said Mr. Amarnath.

IT growth

Referring to the IT sector, the Minister said that Infosys had already agreed to start a 1,000-seat facility in Visakhapatnam and the WNS is scaling up its staff strength to 3,500 here. Visakhapatnam is poised for a major IT growth, said Mr. Amarnath.

“We are in talks with the Microsoft and the IBM. Visakhapatnam has a good ecosystem needed for the IT sector,” he added.

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Printable version | Jun 28, 2022 8:04:37 am |