Sonia Gandhi to visit Andhra Pradesh Thursday

July 16th, 2008 - 1:46 pm ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, July 16 (IANS) A hectic schedule awaits Congress president Sonia Gandhi on her day-long visit to Andhra Pradesh Thursday. Gandhi will inaugurate a port, lay the foundation stone for an electricity project, launch a health insurance scheme for the poor and address a public meeting during the visit to Nellore and Prakasam districts in south coastal Andhra, according to an official statement.

She will dedicate Krishnapatnam port in Nellore district to the nation. Built at a cost of Rs.20 billion, the port became operational last month with three out of its four berths being opened for regular cargo traffic.

Each berth has a capacity of handling four vessels, each with 50,000 tonnes of cargo. Officials said the port would emerge as the country’s largest private port by 2020 with a cargo capacity of 125 million tonnes per annum.

Promoted by Navayuga Group with a 50-year BOST (build-operate-share-transfer) contract awarded by the Andhra Pradesh government, the port is expected to give a major boost to the development in Nellore, which is emerging as a key industrial hub.

The Congress president, soon after landing near the port, would dedicate it to the nation. She would also lay the foundation stone for Krishnapatnam supercritical thermal electricity project to generate 1,600 MW.

Being developed by government-owned AP Power Generation Corporation (APGenco) at a cost of Rs.83 billion, it is one of the six electricity projects coming up in the area with a total investment of Rs.350 billion to generate 9,740 MW. The proposed projects include Reliance Energy’s 4,000 MW ultra-mega power project at a cost of Rs.200 billion.

Gandhi, who is also the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson, is expected to address a public meeting on the occasion. Union Minister of State for Health P. Lakshmi and state Information Minister A. Ramnarayan Reddy, who hail from Nellore district, Wednesday reviewed the arrangements for the public meeting.

The Congress president will then fly to Ongole town in Prakasam district to launch the second phase of Rajiv Arogyasri, a comprehensive health insurance scheme for the poor.

She will also interact with women from self help groups to know their experiences in poverty reduction and community service.

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