Workers opposing ‘major port’ status for Port Blair

PTI New Delhi | Updated on June 02, 2011 Published on June 02, 2011

Workers in the Port Blair port are opposing its newly accorded status as a major port for fear of losing financial incentives.

Employees of major port trusts are not eligible for the monthly lifetime pension scheme and they get a lumpsum at the end of the service period.

The Port Blair port has been registered as a trust and was in line to be corporatised by the government after it was declared as a major port last year.

“There are many problems associated with that (Port Blair) port...local opposition, issues of employees over salary, pension etc and also the overall structure of the port, you can say that we have only 12 major ports as of now (excluding Port Blair),” a senior Shipping Ministry official told PTI.

Port Blair was declared a major port in June 2010 to boost maritime trade and has been facing workers’ protest since then. The port is of strategic importance to India and is closer to two international shipping lines — Saudi Arabia-Singapore and US-Singapore.

The Port Blair port trust was formed by merging the Port Management Board with the Andaman Harbour Work, which is under the Shipping Ministry’s administrative control.

The Shipping Ministry is hoping to resolve the matter with the local authorities in Andaman and Nicobar Islands and is regularly reviewing the situation.

“We are in talks with the authorities in Port Blair...it (the issue) may take time to get resolved,” the official added.

At present, there are 12 major ports and 200 minor ones, of which 20-30 are privately owned. The other major ports are Kolkata (including the dock complex at Haldia), Paradip, Visakhapatnam, Chennai, Tuticorin, Cochin, New Mangalore, Mormugao, Jawaharlal Nehru, Mumbai, Kandla and Ennore.

The combined capacity of the existing 12 major ports is about 580 million tonnes per annum, while the total capacity of minor ports is around 250 mt per annum.

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Published on June 02, 2011
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