Cyclone Phailin
A big wave smashes into breakwater at a fishwater harbour in Visakhapatnam (a representational file photo)Reuters

Andhra Pradesh government will constitute the long-pending AP Maritime Board, mainly to develop the 14 notified non-major ports on ints 1000 km coastline.

Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has decided to constitute the Board to attract at least ₹30,000 crore investments in these 14 non-major ports, which could be handled by the state government for its own devlopment. Visakhapatnam, a major port and the country's naval base under the Union government, is on AP's coast.

Post the division of Telangana from it, the cash-starved Andhra Pradesh wants to utilise its long east cost for development of ports which could propell the state's export-oriented industries, create employment opportunities and jobs, says officials in the state government.

"The residuary state would like to take full advantage of its long coastline by co-promoting with the Government of India and private sector large-scale projects like Mega Petro-Chemical Investment Region, ship-building and related industries," Deccan Chronicle quoted one official in the government.

"The state also proposes to increase substantially its share of export and import trade and secure a leading position in the international maritime map by modernizing existing minor ports, developing new ports and facilitating development of port-based industries and related world-class infrastructure along the coastal corridor."

Industrialists in AP had long been demanding to establish the state's Maritime Board. Even the Union Shipping Ministry had asked AP and other coastal states in the country to establish maritime boards on the lines of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu. For AP, CRISIL had drafted Maritime Board Bill in 2005 and the state Cabinet had okayed it but the Bill lapsed when it was introduced in the state Assembly in 2010. Now, the Chief Minister wants to establish Maritime Board.

If one takes the Gujarat's Maritime Board as a model, it has achievements. With its Board, Gujarat has developed 40 ports in the last 20 years. Prior to that, the state had only six ports. The newly developed 40 ports handle 310 million tonnes of cargo from the west-side coast.

Though AP has 14 notified non-major ports, only four ports are presently handling cargo. The states annual cargo handling through these ports is just 58 million tonnes against 90 million tonne capacity.

The officials added that the proposed AP maritime board is seen to act as a single window to industrialists to propel fast paced development in the state.

The proposed Martime Board will be set up under the Chief Minister as its ex-officio chairman. Indian Navy, Coast Guard will also have their members among the other members of the board.