Court stays order to retain box terminal at Willingdon Island for 3 months

K. C. Gopakumar Kochi | Updated on November 10, 2017 Published on February 18, 2011

rgct   -  Business Line

A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Friday stayed a single judge's interim order directing the Central Government and Cochin Port Trust to retain the Rajiv Gandhi Container Terminal at Willingdon Island for a further period of three months for handling coastal cargoes.

Acting on an appeal filed by India Gateway Terminal Private Ltd, the Division Bench, however, ordered that the other directive in the single judge's order would continue. The single judge had directed that the Union Government, the Kerala Government and the port authorities to address the concern expressed by the trade unions over the loss of job of 1,000 workers in consultation with India Gateway Terminal Private Ltd. The unions feared that workers would lose jobs once the terminal operations were shifted to Vallarpadam.

Workers interest

The Bench also directed the port to ensure shipment of the entire cargo of the seafood exporters and other petitioners. The court also ordered that the State and Central governments and the port should take all effective measures to ensure that the claims and rights of the labourers were considered during negotiations.

In its appeal, Indian Gateway Terminal submitted that it was impossible to operate the terminal at Willingdon Island as all the container handling equipment had been shifted to the ICTT at Vallarpadam. The container tracking and terminal operation system for running the terminal had also been shifted to Vallarpadam.

The usage of licences software beyond the valid period would result in huge additional payment to the software companies. Besides, vessels carrying international and coastal containers could be handled viably at a single port.

Not viable

According to the company, it was impossible to run two parallel terminals at the same time as it would entail huge cost. Such a proposition would not be economically viable, having invested more than Rs 1,200 crore for setting up the new terminal at Vallarpadam. Besides, there were other legal and technical impediments if it continued to operate the RGCT.

The Single Judge's order came on a writ petition filed by the Seafood Exporters' Association of India, Mangala Seafood Exim Private Ltd, and Kitex Garments Ltd seeking a direction to despatch their cargoes lying in the terminal.

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Published on February 18, 2011
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