Visakhapatnam: The Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board is to conduct a public hearing today (Friday) in front of the administrative office of the Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT), to elicit public opinion on various port projects involving an investment of INR25bn ($400m).
This sort of event, involving the common public in deciding on the desirability of projects at a central government owned port, is a unique occurrence, and comes one day after a similar “people’s tribunal” organised in Colombo by Transparency International Sri Lanka to ascertain the “truth and reality” behind the controversial $1.4bn Colombo Port City Project, being constructed with Chinese funds.
The projects being implemented by the VPT include modernisation and mechanisation of the four decades old ore handling complex; mechanisation of the West Quay WQ-7 and WQ-8, as also part of WQ-1; extension of the container terminal and deepening of the outer approach channel, turning circle and berth from 9 metres to 22 metres.
The port has signed concession agreements for projects involving INR14bn by Essar Ports for creating and upgrading mechanised iron ore handling facilities to handle 23m tonnes per annum, and with JM Baxi Group for extending the container terminal to increase capacity by 540,000 teu at an investment of INR6.33bn. Both projects were awarded through global tenders.