Bengal Govt sees no problem at Haldia Port

Our Bureau Kolkata | Updated on October 30, 2012 Published on October 30, 2012

Haldia Bulk Terminals Private Ltd , run by the ABG-LDA combine, can expect little sympathy from the West Bengal Government to its repeated complaints against law and order issues at Haldia.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday denied any “problem” at the port and indirectly accused the private sector cargo handler for “exaggeration” of facts.

“I have no information of any problems (at Haldia). It is not an issue. It is an exaggeration. The administration and police are doing their work,” Banerjee told newspersons at the State Secretariat this afternoon.

The issue cropped up after three top officials of HBT were allegedly attacked and finally shooed away from Haldia, at gunpoint in the wee hours on Sunday. The incident happened at a time when HBT was reportedly preparing to resume operations.

The operations were suspended since September 25, a day after its employees were attacked and “seriously injured” at the Haldia Dock Complex (HDC). Responding to the company’s allegations of lawlessness, the Calcutta High Court on October 19, criticised the police administration for lack of initiative. The Court had expressed “shock” at the “utter apathy of the local administration” to respond to HBT’s complaints.

Banerjee, however, blamed the principal Opposition CPI(M) and, Congress for spreading “misinformation.”

Taking a cue from Banerjee, the local Trinamool MP Suvendu Adhikari, lambasted HBT management for “blackmailing Kolkata Port Trust and others (stakeholders)”.

In a press conference organised at the Party head office at Trinamool Bhavan, in an East Kolkata location, Adhikari stood forth for “labour rights”.

“We are in favour of industry. But the rights of the labourers have to be looked into also,” he said.

According to Adhikari, “port users have not been harassed in any manner.” He denied that the ongoing impasse is affecting the port users’ interest.

State President of CITU, Shyamal Chakravarti, demanded an inquiry into the Haldia port crisis and urged the Union government to intervene.

Published on October 30, 2012
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