HYDERABAD: Visakhapatnam Port Trust’s (VPT) plan to lease some of its land in the port city is waiting for a new policy by the Union ministry of shipping on how to use its surplus land in the city.
VPT owns 7,618 acres of land in and around Visakhapatnam, including over 100 acres in the city centre. This includes 62 acres in the Saligramapuram neighbourhood and 7 acres in Harbour Park, overlooking the Bay of Bengal. Harbour Park also houses the top official of the port.
A senior VPT official said on Monday said that while they have been waiting for approval from the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corp to rezone the land in the city for commercial development under the Public Private Partnership model, the Union shipping ministry is working on a policy that will allow the major ports to monetise their land. VPT is yet to receive the approval from GVMC, though the permission was sought earlier this year.
The official said that under the proposed Union shipping ministry’s policy, it would become easier for the 12 major ports, which are supervised by the ministry, to lease their land for commercial development. The official however did not disclose when the land-use policy is expected to be announced.
Under the PPP model, the land would be leased to real-estate developers to build commercial buildings. The land was to be leased for the construction of office blocks or shopping malls. Developers offering the highest lease fee to VPT were to be given the lease.
The official said that apart from Harbour Park and Saligramapuram, VPT also owns about 10 acres of land in Malkapuram. VPT wanted to monetise the land by leasing it out, but somehow there has been a delay in getting approvals from the local civic authorities.
He surmised that the YSRCP administration, which assumed office in May, was probably reviewing the land-use policy in the state as well, as it was doing with infrastructure projects. Another reason, not linked to government policy, was that the real-estate market in the port city, like in other cities, was in a slump because of declining demand.
VPT had hired a Vadodara, Gujarat-based land valuation company in 2017 to survey the land the port owned and suggest measures to get optimum value out of its landholdings.
The report had said at VPT had not utilized 50% of the 7,618 acres of land controlled by the port trust in and around the city. The report had also highlighted the availability of the 100 acres of land which could be used for commercial development.
The report said that VPT had leased out 3,612 acres of land to industrial use. Another 1,518 acres is being used for infrastructure like railroads, docks, utilities and buildings. About 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 Bheemunipatnam, on the coastal road.
Source: ET Realty