The clamour for setting up of AP Maritime Board is getting louder with investors underlining the importance of port-based development to take the State forward in ensuring optimum use of nearly 1,000-km coastline.
Before bifurcation, on behalf of undivided AP, HRD Minister Ganta Srinivasa Rao, who was then holding the portfolios of Investment and Infrastructure, had strongly favoured constitution of the board after a visit to Gujarat to study its success story.
Now with Telugu Desam Party back in the saddle in the State and the BJP-led NDA government at Centre, many are asking for the board to ensure orderly development all along the coast. “I am confident that the board will be constituted soon,” State BJP president and Vizag MP K. Haribabu told The Hindu.
Captains in the industry have been representing the powers-that-be for setting up of the board taking cue from mega investments made in Gujarat in port, refineries, petroleum, and tourism projects. “We want the board set up immediately in the larger interests of the State,” said former Vizag zone chairman of CII and managing director of Sravan Shipping G. Sambasiva Rao.
According to indications, Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu is keen on developing non-major ports (minor ports) after undertaking feasibility studies. Visakhapatnam is a major port and there is a minor port in PPP mode at Gangavaram. This apart, there are minor ports at Kakinada and Krishnapatnam and proposals are there to set up minor ports at Bhimili, Bhavanpadu, Kalingapatnam, S. Yanam, Narsapur, and Vadarevu and a major port at Dugarajapatnam or Ramayapatnam.
There was tremendous potential to make Vizag into a transhipment hub on the lines of Shanghai, Rotterdam, Singapore, and Jebel Ali (near Dubai) taking advantage of its strategic location, said Capt. Sriram Ravi Chander, executive director of J.M. Baxi Group.
Demand for Maritime Board gains steam