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- Public sector still fuels city’s economy, as govt pushes IT Shaukat Mohammed | TNN | Nov 16, 2018, 02:15 IST
Visakhapatnam: Even as the state government is pushing to position the port city as the hub of financial technology (fintech) industry, it will be a while before the public sector, which has been the key driver of the city’s economy for many decades, is replaced by the private sector as the major creator of jobs, industry sources said.
Last month, Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu announced at the Vizag fintech festival, sponsored by the government, that the sector is expected to create 15,000 well-paying jobs in the next five years.
“The committed employment in IT companies is 36,000 over the next 3-5 years, but currently there are between 22,000-23,000 workers in the IT sector in Visakhapatnam. Committed employment is the number of jobs IT companies promise to create when they seek land or office space from the government at subsidized rates,” said a government source.
While two large and listed software companies have already set up their development centres in the city, they are yet to employ a significant number of people. While the IT sector is yet to make a significant contribution to the city’s economy, the various public sector units have been puttering along, providing stable and well-paying jobs to locals as well people from around the country, says BN Singh, a former CMD of RINL-VSP.
According to a professor of economics at Andhra University, the PSU units and Indian Navy together account for over 60,000 jobs in the city, including 20,000 in the Indian navy and the naval dockyard. “The role of the public sector cannot be emphasized enough,” says the professor. “And most of the PSU jobs are well-paying and stimulate consumption in the city. That is the reason why so many shopping malls have come up here in the last few years,” he points out.
RINL, the single largest employer in the city with over 18,000 employees, continue to hire people. It recently hired 573 junior trainees to replace its retiring employees. The role of the public sector in Visakhapatnam cannot be underestimated going by the outrage at the government’s plan to divest its majority stake in the Dredging Corporation of India Ltd (DCIL). The public outcry led the government to drop the divestment plan, and float the proposal to get three major ports to acquire the government’s stake in DCIL.
“DCIL is one of the few PSUs with its headquarters in Visakhapatnam. We could not sit quietly while the government handed over the company to a privateparty,” says Ch Narasinga Rao, president of the AP unit of CITU, a trade union.
- Residents’ association meet on November 21 SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
VISAKHAPATNAM, NOVEMBER 19, 2018 00:00 IST
UPDATED: NOVEMBER 19, 2018 05:23 IST
Lecture on waste segregation planned
The first Annual General Council (AGC) of the Andhra Pradesh Federation of Residents Welfare Associations (APFERWAS) will be organised at the Integral Institute of Advanced Management (IIAM), MVP Colony, here on November 21.
GVMC Commissioner M. Hari Narayanan will participate as chief guest and IIAM Dean S.P. Ravindra will be the guest of honour, according to Uday Shirname, president of the federation.
Representatives of RWA s of the six zones in GVMC as well as from other cities of Andhra Pradesh will participate in this meeting. The APFERWAS was formed with the objective of carrying forward the ‘RWA Mission’ in Andhra Pradesh. Nearly 130 RWAs of Visakhapatnam city have come into its fold during the last two years apart from some RWAs of other cities joining it.
The federation has established a firm organisational structure in the six zones of the city with zonal coordinators who are constantly coordinating with the RWAs of their respective zones and helping them highlight the civic issues being faced by these micro communities to the notice of the federation.
The federation, in turn, has a well established mechanism to liaise with the GVMC, through frequent meetings both with the Commissioner at a higher level and the Zonal Commissioners and health officials at the zonal level.
New executive body
The AGC would also elect its new executive body for the a two-year term.
Two lectures on important topics waste segregation, composting and water conservation have been planned for the RWA delegates as an awareness course.
- Metro Rail likely to gain steam
G.V. Prasada Sarma
VISAKHAPATNAM, DECEMBER 07, 2018 00:00 IST
UPDATED: DECEMBER 07, 2018 05:16 IST
AMRC gets nod for external borrowing to fund the project
With the State government permitting Amaravati Metro Rail Corporation Limited, overseeing the Rs. 8,330 Visakhapantam Metro Rail project, to raise funds for civil infrastructure, the project is likely to gain momentum.
Five agencies have been issued the Request for Proposals for Visakhapatnam Metro and the last date for the receipt of bid documents is January 21.
After the issue of RFP, a pre-bid meeting was held on November 16 and representative of Shapoorji Pallonji and Company Private Limited, Essel Infra Projects Limited and Adani Enterprises Limited attended it.
The queries and doubts raised by all the bidders were cleared and clarifications issued on November 26, according to N.P. Ramakrishna Reddy, managing director of AMRC.
Tril Urban Transport Private Limited and IL & FS Rail Limited are the other developers that have been issued the RFP.
The State government has given its approval to take up the Metro in innovative Public-Private Partnership mode in three corridors with a total length of 42.55 km.
Earlier, the project cost was estimated at Rs. 8,800 crore but now it is re-validated to Rs. 8,300 crore. The detailed project report for Vizag Metro has been prepared by Delhi Metro Rail Corporation.
The significant bid parameters relate to the execution of civil infrastructure works for which AMRC will foot an amount not exceeding Rs. 4,200 crore and operation period support for 10 years, capped at Rs. 820 crore. The support is to make up for ridership shortfall in the initial period.
Another key parameter will be which of them promises the maximum revenue after the concession period of 10 years when ridership increases, Mr. Ramakrishna Reddy has told The Hindu.
The State government has permitted AMRC to raise the amount of Rs. 4,200 crore from external commercial borrowings or funding from foreign agencies or financial institutions at interest rates lower than that of Indian banks.
The successful developer will have to invest the remaining cost of the project under the PPP agreement.
Once the bids are received they will be evaluated by Urban Mass Transit Company, the transaction adviser to AMRC. It will be further evaluated by the Monitoring and Evaluation Committee of AMRC.
To facilitate the project, the government has agreed to allot 250 acres of government land in the vicinity of Metro for commercial development for loan repayment/debt servicing. Besides, it permitted 83 acres of government land for metro infrastructure and asked the District Collector to acquire another 12 acres of private land required.
The Visakhapatnam Metropolitan Region Development Authority is the nodal agency in the city during the execution.
- VMRDA to conduct EIA study on museum and tourism project Shaukat Mohammed | TNN | Dec 12, 2018, 02:17 IST
Visakhapatnam: Visakhapatnam Metropolitan Region Development Authority (VMRDA) will be conducting an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) study on the integrated museum and tourism complex at the Beach Road that has turned controversial with citizen’s groups demanding that the project be dropped, claiming it would damage the beach and pose environmental hazards to residents.
“The assessment (of the project) is going on. But people who have raised objections want us to record their conversations and post it on the net so that they can see people’s reactions, not our responses. That is their view to which we are not agreeable,” P Basanth Kumar, the metropolitan commissioner of the VMRDA, said.
“Consultation is required on this type of a public project, but consultation is not compulsory. Environmental impact assessment is not being wished away. It is an important part of our project. And it will be done,” Kumar said in an exclusive interaction with TOI.
“As metropolitan commissioner, I do not want to spoil even an iota of the environment. We are going to enrich it. We are going to give the tourists utmost priority,” he said.
Asked about the objection by local residents that the project would restrict their movement, he said that the VMRDA would form a “service line for these three-four localities so that they don’t get inconvenienced by the additional traffic”.
Kumar said that the Coastal Regulatory Zone regulations do not apply to the integrated museum and tourism complex because “most of the construction is on the landward side”.
He said VMRDA would be investing up to Rs 20 crore in the project. “The project is conceptualised as a convergence project, meaning that it will be funded by several government agencies,” he said.
Explaining the rationale for the “convergence” funding for the project, Kumar said that the VMRDA had jurisdiction over three districts — Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam. “I cannot use all the funds in Visakhapatnam itself. That is quite a repugnant idea to several of the MLAs from Visakhapatnam. That is why we came up with the idea of convergence funding for the project,” he said.
- ‘GVMC launched many projects this year’
VISAKHAPATNAM, DECEMBER 30, 2018 00:00 IST
UPDATED: DECEMBER 30, 2018 04:31 IST
M. Hari Narayanan
Water lines being laid: commissioner
Many major projects, including under Smart City, giving a boost to water supply and expanding sewerage network, marked the year 2018 for the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation. A slew of projects have either been launched or on the anvil.
Water distribution lines are being laid for the 32 erstwhile gram panchayats that became part of GVMC, Anakapalle and Bhimili with a target of giving one lakh house service connections. “Since June, 27,000 of the identified 70,000 connections have been given,” Municipal Commissioner M. Hari Narayanan said at his year-end press conference on Saturday.
- Visakhapatnam: Civil society group raises alarm over Coastal Regulation Zone norms The Forum for Better Visakha (FBV), a civil society group, has raised concerns over the recently-notified Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms, saying the “changes now introduced have opened the floodgates to tourism and infrastructure projects to come up on a large scale within CRZ
TNN | Updated: Jan 4, 2019, 15:54 IST
VISAKHAPATNAM: The Forum for Better Visakha (FBV), a civil society group, has raised concerns over the recently-notified Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) norms, saying the “changes now introduced have opened the floodgates to tourism and infrastructure projects to come up on a large scale within CRZ areas”. The new CRZ-2018 norms, which override the CRZ-2011 norms, were announced in the last week of December. The norms allow the development of “denser populated areas”.
“The intention underlying the CRZ notification of 2011 was to protect the coastal and marine resources, prevent coastal ground water aquifers from getting saline, and prevent urban and industrial pollutants from contaminating the coast and sea waters,” EAS Sarma, founder and convener of FBV, said in a statement on Thursday.
According to Sarma, a former Union expenditure secretary, there have been multiple CRZ violations in Visakhapatnam due to collusion between officials and promoters of polluting hotels and industries.
“There are orders from the AP high court to dismantle the CRZ violating structures and seal illegal borewells within 500 metres from High-Tide Line (HTL) but the court orders are yet to be complied with. As a result, ground water aquifers in many colonies along the Vizag city coast have got saline. The annual fish catch along the coast has declined. The fish consumed by Vizagites and the consignments exported are often found to have chemical pollutants,” Sarma alleged.
He charged that the coastal states, “in connivance with influential project promoters, have been pressurising the Union ministry of environment, forests & climate change (MoEFCC) to relax CRZ to suit their interests”.
“The latest amendments to CRZ have largely resulted from this. MoEFCC and the states have not fully consulted the main stakeholders, namely, the traditional fishing communities, before diluting the CRZ norms,” he said. “The earlier prohibited zone of 100 metres from creeks connected to the sea has been reduced to 50 metres to permit such projects to come up even adjacent to such water bodies.”
Earlier, in CRZ III, up to 500 metres from HTL, in stretches that do not have underground drainage and sewage treatment facilities, construction activity was severely restricted. “This restriction has since been relaxed as a result of the latest changes. The Centre has delegated its powers to the states in allowing such relaxations,” Sarma added.
- Andhra Pradesh govt approves land pooling in Visakhapatnam's suburbs
The government has sanctioned about 54,000 housing units, in four phases, under affordable housing in partnership category.TNN | January 05, 2019, 19:00 IST File photo VISAKHAPATNAM: In a decision which could end the impasse over the affordable housing project, the government on Friday gave its nod for land pooling in about 880 acres in the city’s suburbs.
These include a 321-acre land pocket in Ramavaram village of Anandapuram mandal and 560 acres in Mudapaka of Pendurthi mandal.
The pooled land will be allocated to housing projects under the ‘Housing for All by 2022’ mission. VMRDA will shoulder the responsibility of land pooling and development of these lands for which it will get a 25% developed land to meet the expenses incurred in the process.
The government has sanctioned about 54,000 housing units, in four phases, under affordable housing in partnership category. Identifying suitable land pockets has become the biggest challenge for officials due to unavailability of big land parcels in and around Vizag city.
With ruling party leaders putting pressure on the government to complete the housing project fearing negative reaction from people in the 2019 polls, the government has now fast-tracked the land pooling part.
In August 2017, it authorised VMRDA to undertake the land pooling exercise in about 900 acres at tri-junction near Lankelapalem and a 150-acre land in Kommadi and Paradesipalem combined.
Later, in October, the government accorded its approval to pool about 80 acres in Dabbanda of Anandapuram mandal.
In Dec, the VMRDA was asked to pool about 222 acres land in Kothavalasa village of Bheemunipatnam mandal and Sowbhagyarayapuram village in Pendurthi mandal. And on Friday, the government issued orders to pool 800 acres more in the district.
- File cases against temple squatters: HC to Andhra govt TNN | Updated: Jan 13, 2019, 12:11 IST
Devotees at the Simhachalam temple in Vizag.
HYDERABAD: Finding fault with the authorities of the Simhachalam temple in Visakhapatnam for not protecting the temple’s land, Justice Challa Kodanda Ram of the Hyderabad high court has directed Andhra Pradesh, its principal secretaries of revenue and endowment departments and the executive officer of Simhachalam temple to list all the temple land, publish a statutory notice under the Endowments Act and start civil and criminal proceedings against squatters.
The judge pronounced this order on the last day of the common high court after hearing a few pleas filed by individuals as well as temple authorities. Taking a serious note of the negligent manner in which the temple property was dealt with, the judge directed the authorities to “take all necessary steps to gather, collect and preserve all the records relating to the devasthanam properties, particularly immovable properties, and publish the necessary statutory notices as mandated under the Endowments Act and the Inams Abolition Act.”
He also directed the temple and state authorities to take necessary steps to initiate civil and criminal proceedings against individuals and institutions in physical possession of properties belonging to the devasthanam.
The judge also directed the authorities not to take a lenient view of the actions of those who resorted to dubious means to grab temple property. “Take necessary steps to nullify various documents that have been created to claim title and possession by invoking the provisions of the Registration Act and its rules for cancelling sale deeds etc,” he said.
“The Registration Act gives you enough power to cancel the deeds even in a unilateral manner. Nullify all such dubious titles acquired by unscrupulous elements,” Justice Kodanda Ram said.
The negligent officials, who allowed things to come to such a pass, also came in for scathing criticism from Justice Kodanda Ram, who directed the authorities to initiate an enquiry on the civil, criminal and departmental side to identify and fix responsibility on the individual officers aiding and abetting the falsification of documents and enabling unscrupulous elements to deal with the temple properties.
“One disturbing factor, which this court found in the proceedings conducted by the MRO, is that no effective objections were filed before the MRO in the inquiry. The MRO’s action in keeping the temple in the dark, without even notifying it when its properties are being claimed by individuals, is incorrect. These were the authorities, who were supposed to be quasi-judicial authorities, on whom great trust and responsibility with ample powers are conferred supposedly on account of their experience in dealing with matters relating to land under various enactments,” the judge said. The Devasthanam authorities also do not appear to be having any precise knowledge about the vast properties that were endowed to the devasthanam by the erstwhile kings and the method and management in place.
“Before parting with the case, with great pain, this court desires to record the anguish over the poor assistance rendered by the temple authorities to enable the court to arrive at truth,” the judge said.
- Illegal statues on Beach Road come under GVMC’s scanner Siva G | TNN | Jan 20, 2019, 02:43 IST
Visakhapatnam: After the outcry from civil society following the illegalinstallation of three statues — that of Akkineni Nageswara Rao, director Dasari Narayana Rao and Nandamuri Harikrishna — at the Beach Road, the Greater Visakha Municipal Corporation (GVMC) has now instructed its officials to find out the number of illegal statues at the beach road.
The statues were installed on November 30. The entireprise was spearheaded by former Rajya Sabha member and Padma Bhushan recipient, Yarlagadda Lakshmi Prasad. The human resource development minister Ganta Srinivasa Rao attended the programme and unveiled the statues.
But demolishing the statues have not been easy for any of the authorities concerned given that one of the statues is that of Harikrishna, who was a famous actor and Telugu Desam Party leader and the action could lead to unrest not just in the city but also across the state, sources in the GVMC said.
GVMC commissioner M Hari Narayanan told TOI that they have served notices on the concerned persons. The issue was brought to the notice of the statues committee chairman for necessary action,” he said.
And Prasad has replied through a lawyer. While avoiding a direct answer, his lawyers raised questions such as why has the GVMC not taken any action against other illegal statues installed across the city. Hence, the GVMC is preparing a report on all the illegal statues in the city. Once it will be ready, the commissioner will share it with the statues committee and the collector,” the sources revealed. It was no different at the press meet that Prasad held on Friday. At the meet, when media persons asked him about the statues, he evaded the questions.
Sources in the civic body further said that they are making a list of all the illegal statues erected in the city since the release of the government order number 18 on February 18 in 2013. Besides, permissions for new statues will not be given citing the Supreme Court orders in SLP No 8519/2006.
- App planned to ensure proper disposal of biomedical waste
Special Correspondent VISAKHAPATNAM
APPCB Member Secretary Vivek Yadav speaking at the workshop.C.V.Subrahmanyam
New hospitals in district to have proper waste management systems in place before applying for licence
Member Secretary of AP Pollution Control Board (APPCB) Vivek Yadav said on Tuesday that committees have been formed at the State and district levels for the effective implementation of Bio-Medical Waste Management (BMW) Rules.
At the inaugural of a zonal workshop on ‘Bio-Medical Waste Management Rules-2016’, organised by APPCB, Visakahapatnam, here on Tuesday, the Member Secretary said there were plans to introduce ‘bar coding’, GPS and an app to ensure that the rules were being implemented properly.
Common treatment facilities have been established in all districts in Andhra Pradesh, except Kadapa and Vizianagaram.
A second treatment facility should be considered, if the bed strength was more than 10,000 in any district.
A second common treatment facility was planned in Visakhapatnam, Krishna and a few other districts, Mr. Yadav said. The APPCB Member Secretary said training programmes in biomedical waste management were started about six months ago at major hospitals in the State.
He suggested that small hospitals and healthcare institutes should form committees to handle biomedical waste with a nurse as the nodal in-charge. APPCB could coordinate with the nodal in-charge for conduct of training programmes in future.
Mr. Yadav commended DM&HO of Visakhapatnam, S. Tirupathi Rao, for mandating new hospitals to have proper biomedical waste disposal systems in place before applying for licences.
- Shops and eateries in residential areas lack approval of VMRDA Sulogna Mehta | TNN | Jan 27, 2019, 02:27 IST
Visakhapatnam: Not all shops, schools, eateries and other commercial outlets being run from residential buildings in the city have the required permission. As per rules, when residences are fully or partly converted for commercial purpose, special permission needs to be obtained from VMRDA (Visakhapatnam Metropolitan Region Development Authority).
VMRDA authorities get four to five applications to change the land use. But there are also buildings that convert their purpose of use without seeking permission. Authorities point out that although it is a punishable offence, they cannot take action suo motu. When complaints are lodged against such commercial activity in a residential area that has caused some kind of disturbance or nuisance, only then can they act.
J Aruna, a Rockdale Layout resident, said, “A parking cellar of an apartment in our area has started functioning as a school. Due to this, cars, autorickshaws and other vehicles are parked on either side of the inclined road during school hours. The waiting drivers also urinate in the open. We had complained to the civic authorities who had advised us to take the matter to the traffic department, which we did, but no action has been taken so far.”
A V Ramana Rao, general secretary of AP Federation of Residents Welfare Association (APFRWA) said, “Despite the presence of the government’s building penalization scheme (BPS) forbidding deviation from sanctioned plans and unauthorized construction, buildings continue to be converted from residential to commercial without following proper norms.”
According to him, there is nobody to check the deviations unless public voices are raised and formal complaints are lodged. “But such action is rare and most of the time, disputes remain limited to internal bickering within the residents of the colony concerned. At times unauthorised buildings get legalised by the authorities even if the master plan is not adhered to. There needs to be proper urban planning and active implementation and inspection by the civic machinery,” Rao said.
GVMC authorities said that they just implement the orders of VMRDA regarding change of land use from residential to commercial and taxes are imposed accordingly.
VMRDA metropolitan commissioner P Basant Kumar said that a committee comprising various stakeholders, including the government, GVMC, revenue, police are involved in land-use changes. Once the committee approves a particular project, a draft notification in two newspapers are published calling for objection from public within 15 days. If no objections are received and the changes are approved by the government, the land use will be converted from residential to commercial. The entire process may take around six months.
“However, if we get complaints from the neighbourhood about any such commercial outlets causing problems, only then our team inspects. We cannot file complaints or take action suo motu. Every quarter, we call for meetings pertaining to change of land use. We usually get 20-30 proposals throughout the state, including four-five applications from the city,” Kumar said.
- Vizag lags behind 8 cities in citizens’ feedback of SS ’19 Umamaheswara Rao | TNN | Feb 4, 2019, 03:12 IST
Visakhapatnam: Visakhapatnam, which outscored all other Indian cities in the citizen feedback component of Swachh Survekshan 2018, is lagging behind eight other cities this time.
About 53,000 Vizagites sent their responses by January 31, the last day for the residents of the city to provide their feedback for Swachh Survekshan 2019.
Lucknow garnered the highest number of responses (3.56 lakh) followed by Agra with about 2.86 lakh responses. They are followed by Kanpur (2.76 lakh), Greater Hyderabad (1.31 lakh), Indore (0.91 lakh), etc.
Citizens’ feedback forms a crucial part of the survey as citizens’ feedback and utilisation of Swachhata App carry 1,250 marks or 25% weightage out of the total 5000 marks.
About 3.16 lakh people from Andhra Pradesh participated in the survey by providing their feedback about the cleanliness of their cities and towns. About 46,000 residents of Vijayawada had submitted their responses, followed by Tirupati (36,343 responses).
As part of the revised Swachh Survekshan guidelines, the GVMC has rated itself a 2-star on a seven star scale. The star rating is a prerequisite for the Swachh Survekshan 2019 and it has a 20% weightage in the survey.
From creating videos and setting up hoardings across the city on Swachh Bharat Mission, Swachh Survekshan and the citizen feedback components, the civic body has left no stone unturned towards attaining the highest number of responses from the residents of the city and make them actively take part in the survey. Apart from the GVMC officials, Swachh Visakha brand ambassadors also conducted several programmes at various institutions to create awareness about the survey.
A GVMC health wing official said that the limited number of days for SS 2019 might be the reason for the decline in the number of responses. “Last year, it continued till March,” said the official.
- Cement price hike stumps builders, real estate sector Siva G | TNN | Feb 6, 2019, 02:24 IST
Visakhapatnam: The sudden hike in prices of cement in the two Telugu states in the last five days has led to an uproar in the construction and real estate industries.
Representatives from the construction industry are urging the governments to crack down on what they are calling the ‘cement manufacturers’ syndicate’.
Five days ago, a 50-kg bag of cement was priced at Rs 225. The same bag now costs around Rs 310, and at some places it is being sold at Rs 325, revealed chairman of National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO), Visakhapatnam, T Sivaji.
“We have been witnessing the same trend every year between January to March end. “This is because the cement companies are forming a syndicate” he alleged. “If we increase the price of flats, we will not get customers and the industry is slowing down anyway, he said.
Currently, around 30,000 constructions of various apartments, commercial structures, various houses and others are underway in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, according to industry sources. “The governments have taken up various housing projects, some include thousands of units, said a builder, M Rajesh. According to industry sources, consumption of cement in AP and Telangana is more than two crore tonnes annually. The percentage may be higher as construction activities received an impetus after the Telangana Rashtra Samithi retained its power in the state elections in 2018. In Visakhapatnam city alone, more than 400 apartments are under construction.
The construction industry in north Andhra districts has more than 3,500 builders, including 2,000 in Visakhapatnam city alone. Of which around 500 builders are involved in ongoing projects. Owing to the sudden rise in the prices of cement, many builders have suspended operations.
“This has become a kind of routine for the cement manufacturers. The prices of no other raw material has changed. Every four to five months they create a temporary shortage and hike the prices for no reason. We have submitted representations to the government, but so far there has been no response, alleged one of the representative of the Confederation of Real Estate Developers Association of India (Credai) Visakhapatnam, MVV Satyanarayana.
- Visakhapatnam development body agrees to Rs 96 crore as one-time settlement
The developer had invoked the arbitration clause with a claim of about Rs 350 crore, stating that they had already spent around Rs 75 crore towards site levelling and other works, interest payments, opportunity loss, etc. Umamaheswara Rao | TNN | February 17, 2019, 13:24 IST
VISAKHAPATNAM: The Visakhapatnam Metropolitan Region Development Authority (VMRDA) will get nearly Rs 96 crore in a net one-time settlement with a private developer.
The VMRDA had signed an agreement with the Radiant Developers Pvt Ltd (the special purpose vehicle floated to execute the project) in 2005 for the development of an integrated housing project in about 50 acres land in Rushikonda, Madhurawada in a public-private partnership model. However, the project is yet to begin amidst a lot of confusion in terms of modalities during the last 14 years.
The developer had invoked the arbitration clause with a claim of about Rs 350 crore, stating that they had already spent around Rs 75 crore towards site levelling and other works, interest payments, opportunity loss, etc.
The state government recently gave its permission to VMRDA to accept the one-time settlement offer based on the cabinet’s decision.
Speaking to TOI, VMRDA metropolitan commissioner P Basanth Kumar said that they negotiated with the developer to end the legal battle, which would otherwise take more time. “Now the VMRDA will get Rs 96 crore as its share from the project, which was initially proposed at Rs 24 crore, as per the orders of the state government. The developer will also withdraw the arbitration claim,” said Basanth Kumar.
VMRDA first mooted the project in 2003 . The extent of the project was later increased to 50 acres considering factors such as a lack of response from bidders and commercial viability. Subsequently, the letter of acceptance (LOA) was issued to Ambiance Properties Ltd. But, later in 2004, the state government directed the VMRDA to cancel the tender process given the steep hike in real-estate prices in the vicinity. Then the developer approached the high court. After negotiations with the developer, the state government directed the VMRDA to enter into a fresh agreement.
The VMRDA approved the building plans submitted by the developer in 2009. As per the DPR, the total project cost was pegged at Rs 257.45 crore and the total sales realization at Rs 310.07 crore. The VMRDA was to get Rs 24.21 crore as its share.
Meanwhile, in 2011, the then minister of state for human resource development and Visakhapatnam MP D Purandeswari represented to the state government that VMRDA had lost huge revenue in the project. She stated that as per the revenue sharing pattern of similar projects in the vicinity, 40% share must be given to the land owner (VMRDA) and 60% to the developer. She claimed that the project would fetch a total of Rs 430 crores for 50 acres and even if the VMRDA were to get a share of 30%, the VMRDA would get about Rs 130 crore.
The Comptroller and Auditor General, while conducting a performance audit of the VMRDA, that it did not take advantage of highest bidding in re-tender process. The state government had been requested in 2012 to take an appropriate decision to terminate the agreement with the developer since it is neither beneficial to the VMRDA nor was in public interest. Then the developer invoked the arbitration clause and it was finally settled out of court through negotiations.
- Visakhapatnam port trust set to lease out land for real estate
The port, which opened for business in 1933, has about 100 acres of land in several prime areas of the city, including Saligramapuram.Shaukat Mohammed | TNN | February 21, 2019, 15:00 IST
VISAKHAPATNAM: The port of Visakhapatnam is waiting for approval from the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) to lease some of the land it owns here for commercial real-estate development, Visakhapatnam Port Trustdeputy chairman P L Haranadh said.
“We are hoping to get the approval soon, and plan to develop it into commercial real-estate under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model,” Haranadh told TOI. The port, which opened for business in 1933, has about 100 acres of land in several prime areas of the city, including Saligramapuram.
VPT had taken a decision in late 2017 to lease the surplus land. The decision was based on the recommendations of a Vadodara, Gujarat-based land valuation company, which the port had engaged to evaluate the surplus land available with it.
The report had determined that VPT had not utilized 50% of the 7,618 acres of land controlled by the port trust in and around the city. It had also highlighted the availability of the 100 acres of land, which could be used for commercial development.
The report said that VPT, one of the 12 ‘major’ ports controlled by the ministry of shipping, had leased out 3,612 acres of land to industrial use, while another 1,518 acres is being used for infrastructure like a railroad, docks, utilities and buildings. Another 912 acres of land included hills, vegetation and water bodies.
Finally, a total extent of 1,576 acres of land was vacant, including land in Lankelapalem and Mulakuddu villages. Lankelapalem is about 40 km from the port, on the road to Anakapalle, while Mulakuddu village is near Bheemili, on the coastal road.
VPT also owns prime plots of land in the city itself, including about 7 acres of under-utilized land in Harbour Park, which houses top officials of the port trust, about 10 acres in Malkapuram, and 62 acres in Kailasapuram.
Under the PPP model, VPT will be leasing the land to companies, which offer the highest lease fees. The land could be used to build office blocks, or shopping complexes.