The fledgling state – Andhra Pradesh, may have problems in getting funds from the Centre for various projects, but its inaction to take advantage of the Centre’s decision to locate the second major port on the east coast proves to be costly.
It will be better if the non-controversial site at Ramayapatnam in Prakasam district is selected for the purpose, say the elite of the district taking note of the fresh feasibility study conducted by the Rail India Technical and Economic Services (RITES) Ltd. The State may have problems in getting Special Category Status (SCS) for a variety of reasons, but nothing prevented it from going ahead with developing the second port sanctioned by the Centre as part of its ambitious plans to triple the country’s cargo handling capacity from the existing 1.16 billion tonnes by selecting Ramayapatnam for the purpose, says District Development Forum President Ch. Ranga Rao. While the work on the port at Sagar Island in West Bengal had picked up pace with the signing of Joint Venture agreement with the State Government there, the site at Dugarajapatnam, which had found a mention in the Andhra Pradesh Re-Organization Act, could not make a headway as it posed a grave threat to migratory birds which had made the picturesque Pulicat lake their second home, says Acharya N.G. Ranga Kisan Samstha General Secretary Ch. Seshaiah.
If the Centre goes ahead with Dugarajapatnam proposal it will also have to deal with objections from private port operator in Krishnapatnam, under whose exclusive zone the proposed port would come, as per the concessionaire agreement entered into with the State Government, adds Andhra Pradesh State Prawn Farmers’ Welfare Association Secretary A. Kondal Rayudu.
In the case of Dugarajapatnam, the cash-strapped State Government had to allocate funds for land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement and development of external infrastructure like roads affecting the very viability of the project, argues CPI Prakasam district secretary K. Aruna.