NITI Aayog shelves Dugarajapatnam port

After many twists and turns, the NITI Aayog has finally spiked the proposal to develop a greenfield port at Dugarajapatnam in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh as it was found to be technologically and financially unviable. The decision to close the chapter was triggered by the techno-economic feasibility study conducted by American consultant Aecom for the Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT), the major equity partner in the project, sources told The Hindu.

The development of the greenfield port has been mentioned in the A.P. Bifurcation Act, 2014. UPA-II had obtained the Cabinet’s approval for the project along with another port in Sagar (West Bengal). While the Sagar project is gaining momentum, there was no progress on the Dugarajapatnam port ever since it was finalised after an experts’ panel zeroed in on the site. It was proposed to be located at Nakkapalli in Visakhapatnam and Ramayapatnam in Prakasam district.

An official of the Visakhapatnam Port said the Centre would fund an alternative project proposed by the State government. However, as per indications, a port of a large scale is not viable anywhere as the country is witnessing economic slump and most of the ports are not able to ensure capacity utilisation. One of the main reasons for finding Dugarajapatnam unviable is its proximity to Chennai, Krishnapatnam, Kattupalli and Kamarajar (Ennore) ports. The massive dredging required to handle big size vessels is another deterrent.

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