The government extended the Indian Ports Act (IPA), 1908, to the entire coastline excluding the waters of the Visakhapatnam Port Trust (VPT), notified reserve forests and the mangrove forest land. The Director of Ports at Kakinada had been designated as the coastal conservator.
As per the order issued on behalf of Principal Secretary (energy, infrastructure and investment) Ajay Jain, the decision was based on the need for a nodal agency for monitoring the maritime activities undertaken by various agencies and to fetch additional revenue.
The coastline, the second largest in India, is booming with significant activity including oil exploration in the Krishna-Godavari (KG) basin and hence the government felt that the absence of a regulator limited its capacity to position the State as the gateway to the South East Asian countries as part of the ‘Act East’ policy.
The decision would enable the government keep track of the significant activities comprising oil exploration and drilling under production sharing contracts with the Centre, laying of industrial effluent discharge pipelines, water pipelines, tourism projects etc.
The coastal conservator had been authorised to collect charges for the activities. Applications are to be made through Mee Seva Centres and other designated officers.