Protest brewing up against corporatising major ports

Our Bureau | | Updated on: Mar 02, 2015

Protest is brewing up in the port sector against the budgetary proposal to corporatise major ports, as the workers fear that the move would affect them adversely.

Concerned over the decision, they pointed out that corporatisation would ultimately lead to privatisation of major ports and enable cartelisation by private players. 

By corporatising major ports, successor companies will have the right to do away with the existing wage agreements and provide low wages. This would result in increase in contractual workers and decline of regular jobs in various departments, P.M. Mohammed Haneef, General Secretary of the All India Port and Dock Workers Federation said.

The major reasons projected by the Shipping Ministry for privatisation of major ports are for improving productivity/efficiency and for prudential investments. However the productivity depends on three factors like technological efficiency, management efficiency and labour efficiency.

According to Haneef, the technological efficiency can be easily improved by replacing old equipments with new ones with advanced technology. The management efficiency can be enhanced by appointing professionals.

It has been propagated that privatisation will pave for competition and will reduce port charges. However, in reality, private terminal operators are charging abnormally than major ports for cargo handling. Given the situation, the unions considered opinion is that corporatisation/privatisation of major ports is not a necessity for modernisation of the port sector, he said.  

“We are of the firm opinion that instead of handing over major ports to private monopoly, the government should extent autonomy to major ports by reducing undue interference in the working of ports”, he added.

Published on March 02, 2015
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