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Duggarajupatnam port project hits roadblock

Nearly three years after Duggarajupatnam in Nellore district was finalised for setting up a major port, the proposed project is yet to take off.

According to sources, there might be a delay of another year or two for work to begin on the project due to lack of clarity on land and infrastructure like laying roads and railway lines for cargo movement.

The proposed Duggarajupatnam port is about 45 km from the national highway. Recently, the shipping secretary met Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu in this regard.

It is learnt that Naidu had sought some clarifications on the implementation of the project. Besides seeking a detailed study and a feasibility report on the project, the chief minister also wanted to know who would invest in laying the road and the railway track. The port should first have a 45 km, 4-lane road and a railway track to move cargo, sources told Business Standard.

It may be recalled, after the Union government’s decision on setting up new major ports in then undivided Andhra Pradesh, the state government had suggested three places – Nakkapalli in Visakhapatnam district, Ramaiahpatnam at Prakasam district and Duggarajupatnam in Nellore district.

The central government had appointed a high-level committee headed by the shipping secretary to finalise one of three place three years ago. The committee visited all the three places and listed out the advantages and disadvantages. Finally, the state government zeroed in on Duggarajupatnam.

According to an understanding, the Centre will provide the funds to set up the port and the state government is to give the required land. A major port needs a minimum 2,000 acres close to the port area and involves an investment of over Rs 5,000 crore.

A committee member, however, said, Duggarajupatnam was not the best choice for setting up a major port. “Sriharikota, where the satellite launching station is located, and the Pulikot lake are very close to the proposed port site. If we choose this place in future we may see problems from environmentalists,” he reasoned, adding for deep draft of 20 metres, it is required to go nearly 15 km into the sea. When compared with this, it will be only 10 km at Ramaiahpatnam and only one km at Nakkapalli.

The sources also said acquisition of 2,000-3,000 acres at Duggarajupatnam was difficult.

Meanwhile, the shipping ministry is planning to appoint a consultant for carrying out the detailed study and feasibility report on the port.

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