Port infrastructure to get a big push

An aerial view of the Visakhapatnam Port. Photo: K.R. Deepak

An aerial view of the Visakhapatnam Port. Photo: K.R. Deepak   | Photo Credit: K_R_DEEPAK

The recent budget passed by the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance Government at the Centre has rekindled hopes for significant improvement in the port infrastructure in the State.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in his maiden budget speech said development of ports was critical for boosting trade and 16 new port projects are proposed to be awarded this year with a focus on port connectivity to 14 more sea ports in respect of specified import and export goods. The State has 14 notified non-major ports and one major port (Visakhapatnam) along its 996-km coastline and it has actively encouraged private sector to improve the port infrastructure.

Faced with financial constraints post bifurcation that left the State staring at a huge budget deficit, Andhra Pradesh Government placed a major thrust on development of major and minor ports that could boost its finances as well as generate employment in the hinterland. Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu has been repeatedly asserting on making the State into a ‘logistics hub’, primarily on the strength of its long coastline, but this would need major infrastructural requirements including rail and road connectivity with the hinterland for facilitating an unobstructed movement of the cargo.

The floating storage regasification unit and the LNG terminal proposed at Kakinada are expected to fetch revenue upwards of Rs. 5,000 crore to the government in the form of value added tax and other levies. “We are focussing on the port-based industry which is one of the thrust areas of the new government,” Finance Department Secretary D. Sambasiva Rao told The Hindu.

According to him, the government was awaiting the Centre’s clearance for the major port proposed at Dugarajapatnam in Nellore district. “There are a few issues with the Machilipatnam port while Ramayyapatnam in Prakasam district also holds good potential for a major port,” he said.

In Kakinada which found a mention in the budget for development as an export hub, officials are anxiously waiting for necessary guidelines for setting up hardware export zone. There is, however, confusion over the location of the proposed hardware exports zone as the budget speech did not indicate anything except ‘Kakinada Port.’ “We have not received any guidelines with regard to the hardware exports zone. The process may begin with land acquisition,” says P.M. Chandra Mohan, Director of Ports.

The GMR group, which acquired lands for the Kakinada Special Economic Zone (KSEZ) project, is evincing interest in setting up the hardware export zone. Officials of Krishnapatnam Port Company Ltd in Nellore are pinning hopes on increased transport facilities between the port and different cargo centres in the hinterland.

Widening of highways will play a key role in enhanced movement of cargo and it will give a fillip to maritime trade as a whole. “The present two-lane road should be widened into six-lane highway between Nayudupeta and Palamaner. This will facilitate faster cargo movement between Krishnapatnam and Bangalore,” said Anil Yendluri, chief executive officer of Krishnapatnam Port.

(M Rajeev with inputs from K.N. Murali Shankar in Kakinada and G. Ravikiran in Nellore)

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2020 8:58:04 PM |

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