Coherent Policy Needed to Improve Exports and Imports through Waterways : YSRCP

 - Sakshi Post

Before Lok Sabha passed the Demand for Grant under control of the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, two YSRCP MPs Reddeppa and Lavu Sri Krishna Devarayalu spoke on several issues pertaining to the Demand for Grant in the lower house. 

At the outset, YSRCP member Reddeppa congratulated the Minister SarbanandaSonowal for inaugurating a Centre of Excellence in Maritime and Shipbuilding (CEMS) in Visakhapatnam last month with an aim to to provide skilled manpower for coastal community development.

He said due to the cooperation between the Central ministry and State government that have a common objective to revive the economy, Sagarmala projects in Andhra Pradesh have been moving quickly and 50% of the 119 projects identified under Sagarmala project have already been completed. 

“Some of these include fishing harbours, port-road connectivity, four-laning of highways, coastal berths and many more spread across Krishna, Nellore, Kakinada, Visakhapatnam, and East Godavari district,” he said. 

Speaking on the Visakhapatnam Port Trust, the YSRCP leader said while the Port Trust is receiving loans amounting to 207 crores this year for various projects to develop the port, we request the government to consider an element of budgetary support in addition to loans the port trust raises to invest in major ports to make them world-class Greenfield Ports.

It may be mentioned here the Andhra Pradesh government is developing greenfield ports at Bhavanapadu (worth Rs 4,362 crore), Machilipatnam (Rs 5,156 crore) and Ramayapatnam (Rs 3,736 crore) under landlord model for increasing port traffic from 150 MTPA to 250 MTPA by 2025 and 400 MTPA by 2030. 

The state government has urged the Centre to provide grants to any of the three non-major ports and sought at least 25% of the total outlay of Rs 14,000 crore as Central assistance.

He also said the non-major ports in Andhra Pradesh, such as Gangavaram Port and Kakinada Deep Water Port, are functioning at sub-optimal efficiency. The cargo handled in such ports is below the rated capacity. This has been made worse by Covid-19, where global exports and imports were drastically affected. Central support is needed to boost functioning and the need for a coherent policy to improve our exports and imports through waterways is needed. This requires a sensitivity towards rising transport costs due to fuel process and better port to road connectivity. 

Discussing the vacancies in Visakhapatnam Port Trust, the YSRCP MP said in 2021, 1,112 posts out of 4003 posts were found to be vacant. The Ministry stated that vacancies would be filled after the number of vacant posts was revised, since digitization and mechanization had decreased the need for some posts. The LS MP wanted to know whether this has been done as yet or when it will be done.

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