Railway consultancy firm RITES on Wednesday began the soil test for the Machilipatnam deep-sea port in Krishna district in Andhra Pradesh, state Transport Minister Perni Venkataramaiah said.
The Standard Penetration Test (SPT) that will assess the soil properties and penetration resistance was being carried out in six locations in the proposed port area and three spots in the sea under the aegis of the Machilipatnam Urban Development Authority (MUDA), he told reporters here.
RITES had been entrusted with the task of preparing the estimations and technical studies to begin the construction activity, he said adding the state government had created a Special Purpose Vehicle for the project.
Then chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu had in February last year laid the foundation stone for the deep-sea port to be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 12,000 crore. It will come up in an area of 2,800 acres in Tapasipudi village near Machilipatnam.
In August last year, after the YSRCP government came into power, it cancelled the concession agreement for the development of Machilipatnam port.
The announcement was made soon after Navayuga Engineering Company Limited was asked to exit from Polavaram irrigation project. Navayuga was also the lead promoter in Machilipatnam Port Private Limited (MPPL).
Cancelling the agreement, the government order said that the concessionaire had failed to fulfil its obligations like payment of lease rentals and achieving financial closure over the last 11 years since it was roped into the project.
Following this, a fresh Detailed Project Report (DPR) was prepared by RITES. The project has been a long-pending one as in 2008, Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy's father YS Rajasekhara Reddy had awarded the project to a consortium led by MAYTAS Infra Pvt Ltd. Navayuga was inducted as the lead promoter of the project in 2009.