Gone with the wind: Vizag's Mega City plan takes a big hit

Gone with the wind: Vizag's Mega City plan takes a big hit

Gone with the wind: Vizag's Mega City plan takes a big hit

The very severe cyclonic storm `Hudhud' couldn't have come at a much worse time for Andhra Pradesh in general and Visakhapatnam, the 'city of destiny', in particular.

The State, post-bifurcation, is in the process of rebuilding and foundations for that are being laid.

Visakhapatnam, the largest city in the truncated State, has been getting ready to transform into a Mega City and plans for this have already been laid out.

Everything was being set on course to alter the face of Andhra Pradesh as well as the port city in terms of development when `Hudhud' came striking on Sunday as a bolt from the blue, throwing all plans in disarray.

Now, the State Government will have to re-double its efforts, first to bring Visakhapatnam back to shape and next go ahead with the other development plans.
The primary focus will now be on rebuilding the basic infrastructure that was left battered in the port city.

From the roads to telecommunications network to the seaport and airport, all major infrastructure facilities here suffered massive damage and may take a while for restoration.

The Visakhapatnam Steel Plant, the pride of the city, too requires massive repair and this may hamper its expansion.

The Cyclone Warning Centre, the most critical unit here, has to be re-established after `Hudhud' destroyed it. It has to be done in quick time before another storm looms.

As Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has pointed out the cost of damage caused by the calamity may be well over Rs 1 lakh crore in Visakhapatnam and other affected neighbouring districts of Vizianagaram and Srikakulam.

Mobilising funds for this gigantic restoration task is the main challenge before the cash-starved Government that is already looking for liberal assistance from various quarters, including the Government of India, for rebuilding the State.

Massive investment plans had been lined up for the city, post-bifurcation, with primary focus on development of infotech. About 20 firms from India and abroad have chosen it as their IT hub and planned to invest Rs 1820 crore.

"Hudhud will certainly slowdown our plans as we will have to now build required infrastructure for these companies simultaneously rebuilding the city's basic infrastructure," a top Government functionary noted.

J Satyanarayana, Government's advisor on Electronics & IT, told PTI, "we have to put the clock back first. Our primary focus is on relief and restoration as we have to rebuild all the infrastructure."

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