Nizamapatnam Harbour development only on paper

Nizamapatnam Harbour development only on paper
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Nizamapatnam Harbour development only on paper. The Nizamapatnam fishing harbor, which is virtually in shambles is on the map of minor ports development.

The Nizamapatnam fishing harbor, which is virtually in shambles is on the map of minor ports development. The State government has the Nizamapatnam port in its development agenda along with other identified minor ports in the State; but as of now the harbour is beset with several teething problems including expansion and maintenance. The three kilometres approach road from Nizamapatnam town to the harbour is in pathetic condition.

The harbour can only accommodate 100 fishing vessels but not less than 500 visit the harbour from the neighbouring sea coasts. At any given time in fishing season, the harbour is flooded with 200 to 300 fishing vessels. The demand for expansion of the fishing jetty had been since a very long time but no measures were taken. While the department is prepared to undertake the jetty expansion project, the state government is yet to come up with funds allocation or availing central assistance for which the state is eligible.

Successive governments had been turning a deaf ear to demands of an industry that has vast potential for development, revenue and foreign exchange earnings for the country. What worries the fishermen, entrepreneurs and processing industries is that the government is not taking steps for tapping central aid unlike other neighbouring states including Kerala and Karnataka, which have received Rs2,000 crore each for the development of harbours.

The Andhra Pradesh government could not utilise the central assistance under the Assistance to States for Infrastructure Development for Exports (APSIDE) and Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS). The fisheries department, which has a potential for triggering in massive employment, revenue and foreign exchange, neither has a professional engineering wing nor qualified engineering experts to oversee harbours and aquaculture development.

After a protracted follow-up for years, the department could only get approval for acquiring reserve forest land to an extent of five acres for expansion of the harbor while environmental clearance is yet to be given. Sources in the industry say that the government must fill critical gaps if at all; the fishing industry is to emerge as a growth engine, triggering all round development of the port and harbour towns. More than lakh fishermen, stake holders in fishing harbour and in processing industry are looking at the TDP government with hope for immediate development of the fishing harbour.

Deputy director of fisheries when contacted said that that the department is looking up to the government for direction and initiative for the development of the Nizamapatnam Fishing Harbour. The government needs to apply its mind on the crucial subject on which many industry stake holders are pinning their hopes on. President of the Fishing Boat Owners Association K Narasimha Rao advises that fisheries office located in Ponnuru should be shifted to Nizamapatnam to provide access to fishermen. “The moratorium on fishing during the breeding season is from April 15 to June 15.

The government should respond to the woes of the industry and take a radical decision for immediate expansion of the jetty which had been a demand for more than two decades,” Narasimha Rao observed. The lackadaisical attitude of the previous governments and the present TDP governments towards development of fishing harbours is being vehemently criticised by stake holders. At any given time in fishing season, the harbour is flooded with 200 to 300 fishing vessels. The demand for expansion of the fishing jetty had been since a very long time but no measures were taken.

While the neighbouring states of Karnataka and Kerala are able to tap hundreds of crores of rupees from the centrally sponsored fishery schemes, AP is lagging behind over other maritime states despite having a 900 km long coastline from Srikakulam to Nellore due of lack of concrete policy and initiatives. The Bhavanapadu fishing harbour, Bheemunipatnam fishing harbour, Kakinada fishing harbour and the Nizamapatnam fishing harbour in Guntur district are all crying for attention and expansion of existing facilities.

By Ravi P Benjamin

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