Machilipatnam (Andhra Pradesh), May 22 (IANS) Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy on Monday launched the work on the Rs 5,156 crore Machilipatnam Port also known as Bandar Port.
He unveiled a pylon and offered special prayers at the sea to mark the commencement of the work. The construction of the port, with an initial cargo capacity of 35 million tons, is scheduled to be completed in two years.
This is the third time that foundation stone has been laid for construction of this port. It was in 2008 that Chief Minister of then undivided Andhra Pradesh Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy had laid the foundation stone for the port. However, the work never took off due to subsequent developments.
In February 2019, then Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu again laid the foundation stone. However, no progress could be made as the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) government lost power in the elections held a few months later.
Jagan Mohan Reddy has also come under criticism from the opposition TDP for launching the work after a delay of four years.
Addressing the public meeting after launching the port works, Jagan Mohan Reddy said the capacity of the 4-berth deep water port would be increased to 116 million tons as the cargo traffic increases gradually.
The port is becoming a reality as the government has completed land acquisition, finalised tender process and completed financial closure besides obtaining all permissions by resolving legal hurdles created by the Chandrababu Naidu for selfish reasons, he said.
The port would help grow Machilipatnam like the developed port cities Mumbai and Chennai as it would be connected with the national highway 216 and Gudivada-Machilipatnam railway line soon enhancing the port accessibility and improving the connectivity, he said, adding it would change the facade of Krishna district.
Machilipatnam would soon become the centre for trade and commerce and industrial growth as Telangana and Chhattisgarh also would make use of the port resulting in the growth of ancillary industries creating direct and indirect work for lakhs of people over a period of time, the Chief Minister said.
“In the next 24 months, you can see big ships anchoring in the Machilipatnam sea waters,” he said, thanking the farmers who had given land for the construction of the port. He said that 4,000 acres of government land would be gradually linked to the port being built in an area of 242 acres given by the farmers.
He stated that the government has been building four new sea ports, including the Machilipatnam Port by spending over Rs 16,000 crore and 10 fishing harbors and six fish land centers with an expenditure of Rs 3,700 crore besides six new airports. He hoped that the Machilipatnam fishing harbour would be completed in the next four months and would help the local fishermen grow financially.
The Chief Minister said 25,000 new jobs would be created at each port and fishing harbours and fish land centers would help the fishermen improve their lives financially. This would also help stop the migration of fishermen to other coastal cities.