A sea port at Dugarajapatnam in Prakasam district was one of the major promises for the State in the bifurcation. It was part of the AP Reorganisation Act 2014 and the port first phase was to be completed by the Centre by 2019. Nothing has been done so far, not even a ceremonial foundation to honour the Act.
It looks now, that the Centre is having second thoughts on the port location. It is good at least now that the leaders have some wisdom to think about the locational disadvantage of the port and think for alternatives.
When it was proposed in the draft bill of the bifurcation, there was opposition for the port and there were also alternatives like Ramayapatnam. Dugarajapatnam is close to the existing port of Krishna Patnam in Nellore district. The Krishna Patnam port is in operation and a new port close to it at Dugarajapatnam is of not much use. Moreover, Dugarajapatnam is also close to Sriharikota, the satellite launch base of the ISRO. Whenever ISRO goes for launch of a new satellite, the port activities at Dugarajapatnam would have to be closed for security reasons. This is seen as a second and major disadvantage for this port and hence came the Ramayapatnam port.
But, the leaders had no wisdom for any reasons. They have insisted on having the port to be built by the Central government at Dugarajapatnam. Interestingly, Dugarajapatnam Port, Polavaram multipurpose project and steel plant in Kadapa district are the three major projects that the Reorganisation Act had given to the Centre. Of the three key projects given to the State, only Polavaram was taken up with the State executing the works, while the port and steel plant were completely ignored. Unfortunately, there was not a single occasion, when the State government asked for these two major projects. Even now in the agitation in Parliament, the TDP MPs are not seen asking for the port or steel plant. They just raise slogans like “Save Andhra Pradesh” or “We want justice” without any clarity on how to save Andhra Pradesh or what is justice.
Arun Jaitley is welcome on his advice to look for an alternative to the Dugarajapatnam Port. Whether or not Jaitley is serious on the proposal, the State government should now propose Ramayapatnam as an alternative and make sure that the works begin for the port in the next 11 months. If this is not done, it is for sure that the TDP here and the BJP there would have to pay the price in the next round of elections.
It is hoped that, at least in their own electoral interests, wisdom would prevail on these leaders in getting the benefits for the State.