Sonia dedicates Krishnapatnam port to the nation

By Mohammed Siddique,,

Hyderabad : The United Progressive Alliance Chairperson Sonia Gandhi today dedicated country’s biggest private sector port at Krishnapatnam in Nellore district, opening a new gateway to South India through the East Coast.

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“You can come along side Krishnapatnam port berth number six. Over”, Sonia Gandhi told a ship on the sea waiting for clearance marking the formal opening of the new port.

Lauding the completion of the first phase of the port in record 17 months by Navayuga Engineering company, the promoter of the project, Sonia Gandhi said that it was a wonderful project which will spur the faster economic development in the region.

After the Rajiv Gandhi international airport, this is the second world class project built jointly by the government and the private sector in the state, she said.

“Andhra Pradesh has shown the way to the rest of the country in how government and private sector industry can work together to create the best infrastructure for the welfare of our people. I believe such partnership must always work for the welfare of the people and for the public interest at large”, she said.

Sonia Gandhi who spent a bus day visiting the districts of Nellore and Prakasham in coastal Andhra region today said since 2004 Andhra Pradesh had become number one state in the country in accelerating economic growth, in expanding irrigation, ensuring housing, health, education and social security to the weaker sections.

Sonia who also laid the foundation stone for a 1600 MW thermal power plant of AP Power Generation Corporation said, “Krishnapatnam is emerging as a major hub of economic activity. New power plants are being built. New fertilizers cement and steel factories are soon going to be established and all this means vastly expanding employment opportunities for people and new investments”, she said.

She also lauded the rehabilitation package for the families of fishermen displaced because of the project and said that they were being provided with houses as well as jobs in the project.

The Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy announced that the promoters of the project will soon set up a container terminal of international standards at the port.

The port has come up on an area of 5000 acres, 20 kms away from Nellore city. While in the first phase it has only four berths with each having a capacity of 50,000 tonnes cargo handling, eventually it will have 41 such berths when it will be completed by 2014 with an investment of Rs 10000 crore. Then it will have cargo handling capacity of 125 million tones per annum making it one of the biggest ports in Aisa.

M K Padia, the Chief Executive Officer of the port said that the entire project, with an investment of Rs 7000 crore will be completed by 2014 in four phases. “Our target is to complete the third phase by 2012”, he said.

The port, which will open the new avenue of exports and imports between India and Asia-Pacific and Far East, will have many unique features with a strategic location giving it a big advantage. The port will be linked by road and railway line to the major networks passing through the Nellore district. Padia pointed out that the National Highway No. 5 linking Chennai to Visakhapatnam and Kolkatta and Chennai-Howrah broad-gauge line was only 25 kms away from the port. Chennai airport was 180 kms away and Tirupati airport was 120 kms from the port.

Krishnapatnam port will also be a major point of iron ore export from India to China. Equipped with mobile harbor cranes, and conveyor belts, the port also has the warehouses for stocking the food grains and other agri products both for the exports and imports.

Much before its formal inauguration, the port has become a magnet for many major industrial group spurring unprecedented economic activity, creating thousands of jobs. “The location of the industries near the port gives many advantages to any promoter as it saves the transportation costs for him”, says Padia. Reliance Group and Caparo Group of Swaraj Paul have already set up their units in the vicinity of the port. Apache company of China has already started manufacturing shoes at its plant which has a potential to employ 30,000 people. It has already employed 7000 workers. Taiwan’s industrial park and a massive Fabric Park is also coming up in the same area.

Five Thermal Power projects with a total capacity of 16000 MW have been planned near the Krishnapatnam port.