The Andhra Pradesh (A.P.) government is drawing up fresh plans for port-led development with focus on Machilipatnam and Ramayapatnam areas to ensure that this stretch of the central coastal hinterland realises its potential. Emphasis is being laid on promoting food processing units, textile and marine clusters and so on. The Department of Industries and Commerce is working out the modalities for them.
Special Chief Secretary Rajat Bhargava told The Hindu that Machilipatnam and Ramayapatnam areas would have clusters and an integrated development was being planned for Visakhapatnam – Chennai Industrial Corridor, the National Investment and Manufacturing Zone (NIMZ) in Prakasam district and the logistics parks conceived by the State.
Machilipatnam is one of the two places in central A.P. (Vodarevu is the other) identified by the Ministry of Shipping (MoS) as suitable locations for setting up cement and marine clusters, power complexes, food processing units and textile parks.
In its perspective plan for port-led industrial development of coastal economic zones, the MoS had stated that cement clinkerization clusters could be developed in central A.P. with grinding units located at ports to tap the huge limestone reserves that are expected to last for more than a century (A.P., Karnataka and Gujarat are the only limestone-surplus maritime States).
Food processing was rated as having the potential to be developed as a discrete manufacturing cluster in the central coastal districts of A.P. and the textile sector in Guntur district.
The MoS said Machilipatnam or Vodarevu could also be considered for the establishment of a power complex that would meet the power demand of the State, pointing out that coastal power complexes could leverage the shipping of thermal coal from Mahanadi Coalfields to significantly reduce the logistics cost (the cost of last-mile transportation will be minimal) and they had the natural advantage of access to water.
It also suggested a freight-friendly corridor (road) from Hyderabad to Vodarevu. The renewed thrust on the development of the long-pending port at Machilipatnam is a silver-lining.