Though the Union Finance Minister has announced a major public sector port for Andhra Pradesh along with one for West Bengal in the Union Budget 2013-14 for handling increased cargo traffic, it stopped short of announcing the location, to bring closure to the long pending proposal.
Thus, the suspense over which of the three locations, Nakkapalli in Visakhapatnam, Duggirajupeta in Nellore and Ramayapatnam in Prakasam district would bag the major port continues.
The technical team deputed by the Centre visited all the three locations last year, and it apparently agreed with the State government’s view that Ramayapatnam emerged the most suitable location in view of the security concerns raised by the Navy with regard to Nakkapalli location while environmental issues came in the way of Duggirajupeta, which was close to the Pulicat lake and also Sriharikota Space Centre.
State government sources said that all the three locations were evaluated by the Central team and they rated Ramayapatnam as No.1 location of the three in their technical evaluation. Yet the administrative process had not been completed nor had the Centre sent any official communication so far of its choice.
“An announcement in the budget will take at least one year for the proposal to be actually grounded even after the location is finalised. However, we are still not sure of the location of the second major port in the State,” they added.
Andhra Pradesh, with its 1,000-km coastline, has great potential to develop ports. Gujarat with 1,600 km coastline has 40 ports, both minor and major as against four ports in the State including the major public sector port at Visakhapatnam. While ports in Gujarat handle 250 million tonnes of cargo, the major port in the State handles 50 million tonnes. The other three private ports are Gangavaram, Krishnapatnam and Kakinada.