Saturday, November 15, 2008

YSR may scrap controversial coastal corridor project

YSR may scrap controversial coastal corridor project
A day before the all-opposition parties' protest against the controversial Coastal Corridor project on Sunday, chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy is likely to take a final call on the issue.
According to highly-placed sources, the CM might take a crucial decision on the issue, which is fast turning out to be an albatross around his neck and giving enough ammunition to the political parties ahead of the polls. Sources in the CMO said a high-level meeting would be held on Saturday to review the situation and scrap the project if it is expedient to do so.
Stung by the negative response to the project from all quarters, the CM had dropped enough hints during his visit to the north coastal districts last month that the project would be withdrawn if people were not in favour of it. Sources said a decision with regard to the scrapping of GOs 34 and 373 on the coastal corridor from Srikakulam to Nellore — could be examined before winding up the project itself.
The government's decision to bring the villages in the entire coast right from Itchapuram in Srikakulam to Tada in Nellore into the corridor purview in the name of developing it as a hub of port-based industries has led to widespread protests, particularly by the Left and TDP. “The project is to benefit the region. At the same time, the government does not want to allow the opposition to mislead the people and take political advantage,” a senior official attached to the project told TOI.
For all those who came in late, the corridor project envisions setting up of infrastructure and ancillary units, SEZs, a petroleum, chemical and petrochemical investment region (PCPIR), ports, airports and a sea port corridor known as Vanpic along the entire 972-kmcoastline right from Itchapuram to Tada.
The land set to be acquired for the project is a staggering 50 lakh acres. The project, which entails an investment of Rs 13 lakh crore, is set to displace nearly 2.3 crore people, according to a report by the National Alliance of People's Movement. After the Centre gave an in-principle nod for the project in May this year, the government went into an overdrive to develop four and six-lane road parallel to the existing national highway to support the corridor project.