Centre has decided to scrap the proposal to develop a greenfield port at
Dugarajapatnam in Nellore district. Niti Aayog and other experts shared that
the port was not viable. Niti Aayog raised objections on the rate of return on
the proposed port due to its proximity to already established ports at
Krishnapatnam, Chennai and Ennore.
Sources said the Centre has already communicated the same to the state
government. The project was hanging fire for the past four years due to
technical and financial reasons.
Interestingly, sources said that the Centre had asked the state to propose
another major project instead of Dugarajapatnam port. Even though the Centre
made up its mind on scrapping Dugarajapatnam port proposal, it is not rushing
the matter with the TDP government, an alliance partner of the BJP.
"We will take a call after consulting AP chief minister N Chandrababu
The Centre further conducted two separate studies to evaluate the project's
viability. A US-based multinational consultancy firm conducted an in-depth
study on the same.
The consultancy firm said that the port's location was ill-suited as it was
close to the satellite launch station at Sriharikota and a protected bird
sanctuary at Pulicat lake. "It will be tricky to handle commercial
operations at the port as permits would be necessary from authorities at Shar.
Proximity to Pulicat lake will hamper development plans of the port," said
a senior Andhra Pradesh government official.
Durgarajapatnam was one of the ports finalysed for development by the UPA I
government which floated a project to develop one major port in the east and
west coast. The then AP government proposed that either Ramayapatnam or
Durgarajapatnam sites could be considered for development of a state owned
Both the port projects have been virtually shelved and a powerful private
port lobby is understood to have prevailed on the state government against
setting up a major port in the area.
The shipping ministry's various port projects are in limbo though they were
conceived three years ago when the present government came to power.
Colachel port project is facing problems from fishermen. But the issue has
not been tackled the way Kudangulam project was commissioned. Besides, shipping
ministry is all set to invest in the Colombo port expansion project through Container
Corporation of India. The very idea of developing a transhipment hub at Colachel
gets defeated once CONCOR invests in Colombo port expansion project.
The Detailed project report is yet to be prepared though the cabinet gave
in principle approval for the project two years ago.
The Sagar island port project also has not taken off due to differences
between the shipping ministry and the West Bengal government. The west Bengal
government is going ahead with the construction of a port near sagar island
The only other major port project at Dahanu in Maharashtra is also facing problem
from the environmentalists.