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Friday, September 17, 2021

Tamil Nadu opposes Centre’s Draft Indian Ports Bill

Tamil Nadu’s Minister for Public Works, Highways and Minor Ports E.V. Velu on Thursday opposed the Draft Indian Ports Bill, 2021. He said the current system with regard to the powers of the state governments in matters of minor ports should not be disturbed.

Speaking at the 18th Maritime State Development Council held through video conferencing, Velu said, the Maritime State Development Council (MSDC) is at present an advisory body.

The provisions of the draft bill are such that it would start functioning as a regulatory body for the minor ports. Further, the composition of the MSDC is being modified with the addition of the officials of only the central government and not the state governments, Velu said.

Pointing out that the rule making power with regard to minor ports at present vests with the state governments, Velu said, as per the draft bill, this power will go to the central government.

“At present, the appellate powers against the orders of the State Maritime Board lies with the respective state governments. However, as per the draft bill, this power will go to the Appellate Tribunal which has been constituted by the central government basically for the major ports,” he added.

Velu said the Tamil Nadu government will send its detailed comments after due scrutiny of the draft bill.

According to him, under the provisions of the Indian Ports Act, 1908, the minor ports in the country have developed well. The draft bill will totally dilute this good system.

“I would like to express the government’s opposition to the move of diluting the powers of the state government and converting MSDC into a regulatory body. I would like to request that the present system with regard to the powers of the state governments in matters of minor ports should not be disturbed in any manner,” Velu remarked.

Velu also requested the union minister of state for Ports, Shipping & Waterways Mansukh Mandaviya, who chaired the meeting, that the Sethusamudram Ship Canal project be taken up by the central government and also expand the V.O. Chidambaranar Port into a transhipment hub.

Recently Tamil Nadu chief minister M.K. Stalin urged his counterparts in eight coastal states and the Union Territory of Puducherry to oppose the Draft Indian Ports Bill, 2021 proposed by the central government.

In a letter to the chief ministers of Gujarat, Goa, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal and Puducherry, Stalin also proposed joint action to check moves to dilute the powers of the states.

(The story has been published via a syndicated feed.)

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