Fate of Centrally-funded projects hangs in balance

Centre for Electromagnetic Environmental Effects of SAMEER, which is in advanced stage of construction, at Gambheeram, on the outskirts of Visakhapatnam.

Centre for Electromagnetic Environmental Effects of SAMEER, which is in advanced stage of construction, at Gambheeram, on the outskirts of Visakhapatnam.   | Photo Credit: arranged


Pending ones’ list is long, says Vizag Development Council vice-chairman O. Naresh Kumar

Uncertainty dogs several Centrally-funded projects promised in Visakhapatnam with two years to go for general elections.

Barring a few projects like Indian Institute of Management, Indian Institute of Petroleum and Energy, Centre for Electromagnetic Environmental Effects by Society for Applied Microwave Electronics Engineering and Research Centre, Skill Development Institute by public sector oil companies, expansion of HPCL Visakh Refinery and a Greenfield plant by Asian Paints, which have materialised, there is not much progress so far as other promises are concerned.

Two major projects -- 4000 MW NTPC Pudimadaka Power Plant with super-critical technology near here at a cost of ₹28,000 crore is not likely to see the light of the day and the incubation tower at Visakhapatnam Special Economic Zone-Duvvada for which stone was laid three years ago due to lapse of ₹40-crore fund from the Centre.

Big blow

For NTPC project designed with 100% imported coal, the decision by the Centre to use only domestic coal and drastic reduction in solar power cost has come as a big blow. The 1200 acres which were allotted by the State on a fast-track mode is now lying idle after holding public hearing. In view of establishment of Petroleum University in the city, the State government wanted to shift Indian Institute of Packaging and Indian Institute of Foreign Trade promised for Visakhapatnam to East Godavari and Indian Institute of Plantation Management to Vijayawada. However, sources told The Hindu that the authorities concerned did not find these projects self-sustaining if they were set up elsewhere except Visakhapatnam.

There is also no headway in fulfilling the promise of carving out a separate railway zone with headquarters in the city – a promise made at the time of bifurcation. The proposed IT Investment Region is also gathering dust notwithstanding a formal request submitted by the State apparently due to Centre’s decision to revise the guidelines. Visakhapatnam-Chennai Industrial Corridor, pharmaceutical complex and logistics hub are yet to take off.

Though 128 acres has been identified in Gurrampalem near Pendurthy for developing electronic manufacturing cluster with 50 acres reserved for high-end IT activity, there is not much progress. The campus of Pharma Exports Council of India (Pharmexcil) announced near Jawaharlal Nehru Pharma City, Parawada, is yet to take off. The pharma industry here also had lot of hopes that they would get National Institute of Pharma Education and Research (NIPER) to overcome shortage of highly professional manpower.

“The pending projects are endless which include Centre for Development and Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Software Testing Quality Centre, Biotech Incubation Centre and International Trade Promotion Organisation and Tribal University,” says Vizag Development Council vice-chairman O. Naresh Kumar.

Procedural wrangles

He told The Hindu that though the Union IT Minister had laid the stone for incubation centre at a cost of ₹44 crore as a joint venture by Software Technology Parks of India and VUDA at Siripuram one and a half year ago, the construction work had not yet started due to procedural wrangles.

Mr. Naresh Kumar said though the Ministry of Commerce had sanctioned ₹20 crore about five years ago, work on the convention centre was yet to be grounded. Though SAMEER first phase was on verge of completion due to initiative taken by MP K. Haribabu, it still needed release of funds for taking up second phase work. A Ministerial berth to him would have given a fillip in clearing hurdles in implementing the pending projects, he opined.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2020 6:41:57 AM |

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