Andhra Pradesh will get central government assistance to develop the Vodarevu port in Prakasam district, provided the state government is able to provide 3,000 acres of land for the purpose, said Union Minister for Shipping, Highways, Road Transport and Water Resources Nitin Gadkari. At present, Visakhapatnam is only one major port in the state.
Gadkari made the announcement on Friday at a media conference. He was reviewing the performance of 12 major ports. The Union minister said that the ports should come up with innovative ideas to increase their efficiency and profitability, reported The New Indian Express.
With regard to the Visakhapatnam port expansion, the minister said that it was not possible due to space constraints as the existing port has become part of the city. â€śSo we have written a letter to Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu offering a major port at Vodarevu for which 3,000 acres of land is needed,â€ť the minister said. A letter saying the same has also been relayed to the Andhra CM.
The minister also announced that desalination plants would be set up at Paradip, Tuticorin and Kandla and advised the state to focus more on the export of agricultural and aqua products.
No privatisation of DCI
When media persons quizzed Gadkari about reports on the privatisation of struggling PSUs, namely the Visakhapatnam-based PSU Dredging Corporation of India. He replied saying, that there need not be any fears as major ports in the country, including Vizag, will pick up stake in the PSU.
Under the Sagarmala project, the central government has earmarked Rs 16 lakh crore that would be spent on port projects and to improve the road connectivity to port.
The port is being developed with the hope of generating jobs for 1.2 crore people, directly or indirectly. In the first phase of the project expansion, Rs 8.76 lakh crore would be spent on 576 projects. Gadkari said that 69 projects had been completed at a cost of Rs 13,500 crore and 222 works are still in progress, entailing an investment of Rs 2.5 lakh crore.
â€śUnder Sagarmala, I am going to inaugurate or lay the foundation stones for several national highway projects in the State entailing an investment of more than Rs 6,688 crore,â€ť he said. The ministry intends to spend more than Rs 4 lakh crore in Andhra Pradesh for national highways and waterways, he added.
Free trade zone
The central government is also mulling the setting up of a free trade zone at the port and also a satellite port at Vizag.
Gadkari said that he was going to dedicate to the nation the modernised and upgraded iron ore handling complex by Essar in Vizag port costing Rs 830 crore. The ministry will also rope in IITs to help develop the port to international standards, reported Times of India.
The Union minister inaugurated a 24 MTPA iron ore handling complex, which has been built by Essar Viz Terminal Ltd (EVTL) at a cost of Rs 580 crore. He also inaugurated the newly acquired two Post Panamax Quay Cranes and four Rubber Tyred Gantry Cranes with an investment of Rs 151 crore by the Visakha Container Terminal at the VCT berth.