VISAKHAPATNAM: Union Minister for Shipping, Highways, Road Transport and Water Resources Nitin Gadkari, has offered to develop Vodarevu port in Prakasam district, if the State government is able to provide 3,000 acres of land for the purpose. At present, there is only one major port in the State - Visakhapatnam.
He made the announcement at a media conference here on Friday afternoon, after reviewing the performance of the 12 major ports. He said ports should come up with innovative ideas to increase their efficiency and profitability.
The minister said that the expansion of the port in Visakhapatnam is not possible due to space constraint as the existing port has become part of the city. “So 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,” he said and added that he will hand over the letter to Naidu later in the day.
They should focus on export of agricultural and aqua products, he said. Further, desalination plants would be set up at Paradip, Tuticorin and Kandla.
No privatisation of DCI
In response to a question, he said there need not be any fears of the Visakhapatnam-based PSU Dredging Corporation of India going into private hands. Major ports in the country, including Vizag, will pick up stake in the PSU.
Gadkari said that the DCI would be further strengthened and modernised to meet international standards.
Under the Sagarmala project, he said Rs 16 lakh crore would be spent on port projects and to improve the road connectivity to ports, generating jobs to 1.2 crore people, directly or indirectly. In the first phase, Rs 8.76 lakh crore would be spent on 576 projects. He said 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.
“Under 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,” he said.
He said his ministry would spend more than Rs 4 lakh crore in Andhra Pradesh for national highways and waterways.
Free trade zone
Referring to Vizag port, Gadkari said the government was planning a free trade zone at the port and also a satellite port.
He 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.
“To develop the ports on all fronts on par with international standards, the government is taking the help of IITs. He complimented Vizag port for taking eco-friendly measures.