The seaport proposed to be constructed at Machilipatnam in Krishna district got CRZ (coastal regulation zone) clearance from the Chennai-based National Centre for Sustainable Coastal Management recently, which set the stage for the A.P. Maritime Board to process it to obtain the nod of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and A.P. Pollution Control Board (APPCB).

An APPCB committee is expected to soon clear the decks for this greenfield port, which is planned to be developed in about 1,145 acres.

According to some senior officials concerned, the Detailed Project Report has been prepared and vetted by RITES Limited and the contract for Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) is yet to be awarded after the contract that was given to Navayuga Engineering Company Limited was cancelled by the State Government for various reasons.

Now, highly placed sources told The Hindu that a consortium of companies, led by Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Limited, is a frontrunner in the race to bag the contract.

As far as the project funding is concerned, Hyderabad-based Capital Fortunes Private Limited initiated debt syndication, while India Infrastructure Finance Company Limited, a wholly-owned Government of India company that lends to infra projects, Punjab National Bank, State Bank of India and Bank of India evinced interest in giving loan. The estimated cost of the project is approximately ₹5,160 crore.

A special purpose vehicle — Machilipatnam Port Development Corporation Limited had been floated to undertake the port construction once all the statutory clearances are secured. The port has a draft of 14.5 metres and is designed to handle vessels weighing around 60,000 DWT in the initial phase.

Coming to the port location, RITES had zeroed in on Manginapudi, saying it is most advantageous compared to Gilakaladindi and Goguleru creek which were explored as possible alternative sites.

With regard to its commercial viability, Machilipatnam port is considered ideal for export and import of tobacco, granite and other natural stones and various agricultural crops apart from catering to the requirement of the ONGC’s eastern offshore asset.

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By Dipak

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