Civil society groups plan to step up stir for port

PDDF, CPI chalking out plans to bring pressure on Central, State govts. to start Ramayapatnam project work

: People of Prakasam district expected rapid port-based industrial development when the previous Congress government in the State recommended to the Centre to locate the second major port on the east coast at Ramayapatnam.

A panoramic view of the coastal village of Ramayapatnam in Prakasam district.—Photo: Kommuri Srinivas

A panoramic view of the coastal village of Ramayapatnam in Prakasam district.—Photo: Kommuri Srinivas

Though the Centre’s decision later to locate the major public sector port at Dugarajapatnam came as a setback, hopes revived when the Chandrababu Naidu government decided to develop a series of 14 ports, including Ramayapatnam on the east coast on public private partnership (PPP) mode to unleash the full potential of the maritime State.

Now that Dugarajapatnam had been ruled out after techno-economic feasibility study conducted for the Visakhapatnam Port Trust, a major stake holder, the Union and State governments should work in tandem to develop Ramayapatnam sea port without any further loss of time, more so, when work on the Sagar port project in West Bengal, another port sanctioned by the Centre on the east coast, was progressing swiftly, felt members of the Prakasam District Development Forum.

In a positive development, the Union Shipping Ministry has urged Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu to name an alternative to Dugarajapatnam which has been found “technically infeasible and economically unviable after a study, PDDF president Ch. Ranga Rao observed at its Executive Committee meeting here on Saturday. The PDDF will hold a Chaitanya yatra in the coastal mandals and mobilise people for a struggle to realise the project, he said after the meeting. Security and environmental concerns were raised over Dugarajapatnam being located close to SHAR centre at Sriharikota and Pulikat lake, a safe haven for migratory birds. The PDDF even moved the Chennai bench of the Green Tribunal over the irreparable damage likely to the eco-system of the Pulicat Bird Sanctuary, if the port was set up. ”Our stand on unviability of Dugarajapatnam is vindicated now,” said Mr. Ranga Rao reacting to the report on Dugarajapatnam port which also required huge viability gap funding by the Union and State governments for land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement and establishment of road and rail connectivity.

The cash-strapped State should clear the Ramayapatnam port proposal, felt CPI district secretary K.Aruna, adding that the party along with like-minded political parties and civil society organisations would agitate to press the demand.

Source: TheHindu

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