Port development fails to gather pace in Andhra Pradesh

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MoUs worth Rs 9000 crore signed at partnership summit.

VIJAYAWADA: Contrary to the expectations of the Customs department, the development of ports in Andhra Pradesh has not picked up since bifurcation. The customs department had started preparation in 2013, well before the state bifurcation, to establish customs infrastructure at all possible locations in the state. It was the first department to establish its office here.

The Andhra Pradesh Customs Commissionerate, Vijayawada, was formed on October 15, 2014, with the entire state under its jurisdiction, excluding the Visakhapatnam custom house. As many as 369 staff were sanctioned to the AP commissionerate and offices established in Vijayawada, Kakinada, Visakhapatnam, Nellore, Ongole, Guntur and Srikakulam. Of these 369 sanctioned staff, 174 were deputed at various locations, most of them were kept idle without any major work.

The state government has announced that it would take leverage of the 978-km coastline and 14 minor and intermediate ports will be developed in the state. Machilipatnam, Vodare-vu, Bhavanapadu, Kalingapatnam, Bheemunipat-nam, Meghavaram, Nakkapalli, Rawa, Narsapur and Nizampatnam ports were notified by the state government. But, work has not begun so far at any of the ports.

However, the state gover-nment hopes that the current year will give boost to the ports in the state. Andhra Pradesh ports director Prasanna Venkatesh observed that many big companies entered into MoUs worth Rs 9,000 crore with the state government in the recently held partnership summit. Also, the central government has made Budget allocations for infrastructure development, which will speed up the development process, he said.

Customs commissioner for Andhra Pradesh S. Khader Rehaman told this newspaper that they had anticipated port-based development post-bifurcation in Andhra Pradesh and made preparations accordingly. “However, things are not moving fast as we have expected. Today, we are ready from the next minute to operate from any port in the state,” he said.

Kakinada Customs House bags first rank in EQUIP-2016:

The Customs Commissionerate in Andhra Pradesh has set its standards high in delivering quality services. As port development is taking time, the department has focused on improving the infrastructure and has developed robust systems in clearing exports and imports. Kakinada Customs House stood first in Enhaned Quality Index of Performance (EQUIP) in 2016. The Indian Customs EDI System (ICES), which receives and processes import and export documents online, is part of the government’s e-governance vision and plays an important role in trade facilitation.

The EQUIP calculates the performance parameters of use of email and user access, review and verification (UARV) toll, implementation of SEZ module, import dwell time, drawback dwell time and post clearances audit. The directorate of systems and data Management assessed the performances of 134 ports based cargos under customs offices in the country and the Kakinada Customs House bagged first rank, said Customs preventive commissioner S.K. Rahaman.

The average dwell time for bill of entry (BE) to assessment at Kakinada port was only 7.31 hours and at Krishnapatnam, BE to assessment time was 19.91 hours. The dwell time at Mumbai and Chennai ports for the same period was at 18.71 hours and 12.16 hours, respectively. The export clearances were also being made in record time at Kakinada and Inland Container Depot (ICD) at Marripa-lem of Guntur district. The average dwell time to clear the exports at Kakinada was 0.84 hours, at Krishnapatnam, it was 16.53 hours, and at ICD Marripalem, just 0.01 hour. Rahaman said, “Now we are able to achieve dwell time lower than 24 hours and we are working to achieve ‘Mission Zero’, which means no file will be kept in pending for more than 24 hours.”

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