Seattle is Dhamra's ‘sister port'

Our Bureaus | Updated on November 13, 2017


Orissa's Dhamra Port Company Ltd (DPCL), a 50:50 joint venture of L&T and Tata Steel, recently signed an agreement with the Port of Seattle, US, to establish a ‘sister port' relationship aimed at strengthening friendship and promoting cooperation between them and their respective States and countries. There would be sharing of information and ideas on all aspects of port operations, including cargo handling, safety, finance, and port technology.

Both the ports would also assist each other in joint promotional activities in such areas as port infrastructure, trade opportunities and commercial investment from one region/country to the other. Dhamra port, yet to be commissioned, is the first Indian port with which the US port has entered into such an agreement.

The CEO of DPCL, Mr Santosh Kumar Mohapatra, and the CEO of the Port of Seattle, Mr Tay Yoshitani, signed the agreement at a function at Bhubaneswar. Orissa's Minister of State for Commerce and Transport, Mr Sanjeeb Kumar Sahoo, the Principal Secretary, Orissa Government's Department of Commerce and Transport, Mr Gagan Dhal, and the Special Secretary of the same department, Mr Guru Ch. Ray, were present.

Menace of overloaded vehicles

One Rakesh Singh of Gurgaon has appealed to the President of India seeking her intervention to stop the menace of overloading of goods vehicles crisscrossing the country's roads. The appeal reveals several startling facts. Every year, an estimated 130,000 people get killed in road accidents and half of them in accidents caused by overloaded goods vehicles. Mr Singh's own 13-year old son was killed in one such accident. Next, an estimated Rs 22,000 crore is received every year as bribes by various agencies across the States from truckers for permitting overloading. However, the revenue loss to government is much higher, at about Rs 25 lakh crore. The application, filed under the RTI Act to get at the truth, goes unheeded. One State government, the appeal highlights, has even legalised overloading. Worse, the Supreme Court of India passed an order as early as November 2005 directing transporters to stop overloading but nothing has come of the directive. The Ministry of Roads and Highways concedes that the order of the country's apex court is being violated everyday but pleads helplessness. Reports have it that the State governments will now be vested with more powers to tackle the menace. One only hopes that the proposed move will yield result.

International seminar on road safety

As India hands over more and more highway stretches to private developers, there is strong need to incorporate safety procedures and regulations in the concession agreements. This was stated by Prof A.K. Sharma, Director, School of Planning and Architecture (SPA), New Delhi.

Concession agreements are contracts — between Government road-owning agencies such as NHAI, State governments and private developers — listing out duties and responsibilities of all parties. Road safety in India is among the poorest in the world. Over 110,000 lives are lost on Indian roads annually, on an average, causing a financial loss of two-three per cent of GDP, according to estimates.

The National and State highways account for about 53 per cent of total road accidents. “Development has put safety policies in a cold storage,” Prof. Sharma contends drawing attention to the fact that India has witnessed a sudden surge in road accidents and casualties in recent years which were related to “inadequate safety provisions and lack of policy framework”.

With a view to provide a common platform for practitioners to acquire current up to date information on the latest innovative approaches and products which contribute to improved road safety and to share experiences and discuss associated issues and challenges, the SPA, along with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, is organising an international seminar on national road development strategies and road safety on improved highways here from March 14-16, 2011.

Published on March 13, 2011

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