The All-India Port and Dock Workers’ Federation has demanded that the Shipping Ministry either dispense with the functioning of the Tariff Authority for Major Ports (TAMP) or bring minor ports under its purview.

The Federation is of the view that the approach of TAMP has resulted in cargo diversion from major ports to privately-managed minor ports as these ports are not in the ambit of TAMP.

Hence, there are no rules to regulate handling charges and protect labour engaged in the minor ports.

The present policy of TAMP is very much detrimental to the viable functioning and existence of major ports, the Federation alleged in a resolution unanimously adopted at the delegates’ meeting held in Mumbai.

Mr S. R. Kulkarni, President, and Mr P. M. Mohammed Haneef, General Secretary of the Federation, alleged that surplus capacity has been created in the port sector due to the unscientific policy of the Ministry.

This will ultimately create a situation of idling of several ports in future.

To avoid the crisis, they suggested that the Ministry carry out a scientific and productive fact-finding study before sanctioning new ports, and discuss the matter with all stakeholders.

The Government should adopt a policy to prevent cargo diversion from major ports to minor ports by permitting only surplus/over flow cargo, which cannot be handled by major ports. The Government should also clear all the proposals submitted by various major ports for its developmental activities, they added. The resolution also demanded that the Government restore the autonomy of the major ports as provided in the Major Port Trust Act. The port authorities may be permitted to manage ports efficiently, effectively, competitively and viably.

The Federation was of the view that the management and operation of major ports are seriously affected due to lack of professional hands at ports.

The Government should appoint only port cadre officers who are professionally competent to manage the ports, instead of other cadre officers who do not have any knowledge and experience of the port transport industry.

Referring to exorbitant dredging expenditure at major ports, the resolution urged the Government to bear the entire dredging cost for maintaining the navigation channel of major ports as is prevailing in international ports.

sajeevkumar.v@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on July 20, 2012)
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