Rs 3,200 crore for fishermen rehabilitation

The proposed 15 MMTPA refinery to be set up by HPCL in the Andhra Pradesh Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) in Visakhapatnam district is critical for the success of the Petroleum, Chemical, Petrochemical Investment Region (PCPIR) between Visakhapatnam and Kakinada, and the PCPIR Special Development Authority (SDA) is making all efforts to get the project going, according to N. Yuvaraj, Vice-Chairman of the Visakhapatnam Urban Development Authority and also of the PCPIR SDA.

Reviewing the progress of the PCPIR project at a press meet here on Friday, Yuvaraj said the draft master plan would be made public on August 5 and objections and suggestions would be invited. A public hearing would be conducted on the PCPIR next year, after completion of all studies.

Yuvaraj further said the PCPIR was expected to attract investments in the region of Rs 3,00,000 crore till 2031, generating employment of 6,40,000.

He said there were already several units in the PCPIR, such as the existing refinery of HPCL in Visakhapatnam with a capacity of 9 MMTPA. It would be scaled up to 15 MMTPA.

Two more refineries

“Two more oil refineries would come up in the region, one to be set up by HPCL in APSEZ in Visakhapatnam with a capacity of 15 MMTPA and another to be set up in the Kakinada Special Economic Zone (KSEZ) by the GMR Group with a similar capacity,” he said. “Petrochem units would also be set up along with the two refineries.”

At 640 sq km, the PCPIR, covering 97 villages in the two districts of Visakhapatnam and East Godavari, would be the largest in the country, Yuvaraj pointed out.

“We are taking all steps to protect the interests of the fishermen in the PCPIR and Rs 3,200 crore would be spent on rehabilitation and welfare of fishermen in the long run,” said.

Of this, Rs 300 crore would be spent immediately for the welfare of fishermen, on the construction of fishing jetties and provision of mechanised boats.

In response to a query, he said the PCPIR would not cause any marine pollution that could lead to a fall in catches. Studies would be conducted and stipulations followed to curb marine pollution. There would be many effluent treatment plants in the PCPIR area, he said.

New expressway

As part of the project, Yuvaraj said, an expressway would come up between Gangavaram port in Visakhapatnam district and Kakinada port, a distance of 137 km, and the alignment had not been finalised yet.

It would be linked to National Highway No. 5 and the state highways.

In addition to the Visakhapatnam airport, another no-frills airport with a single runway would come up in the vicinity of Rapathi village near Kakinada, he said. Also, another port would come in the KSEZ area.

He denied there would be any diversion of water meant for agriculture to the PCPIR. Water would be drawn from the Godavari through Polavaram canal.

There would be no exploitation of groundwater in the PCPIR area, resulting in ingress of saline waters from the Bay of Bengal.

He said the fishermen, farmers or other sections of the public in the PCPIR had nothing to fear. He also said there would not be any more land acquisition for the PCPIR project in the near future. The land was already available.

In response to a question, he said HPCL was not reluctant to set up the refinery in APSEZ, but certain issues would have to be sorted out.

sarma.rs@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on August 2, 2013)
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