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Oppose new draft Indian Ports Bill 2021, Stalin urges CMs of nine States

Our Bureau Chennai | Updated on June 22, 2021

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, MK Stalin   -  PTI

If passed, the Bill will dilute powers vested with the States, says letter to CMs

The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, MK Stalin, on Tuesday urged chief ministers of coastal States to express their objections to the new draft Indian Ports Bill 2021, and take joint action to prevent any move to dilute the powers already vested with the States.

The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways has framed a new “Draft Indian Ports Bill 2021” to modify the current management model of minor ports and a meeting of the Maritime State Development Council (MSDC) has been called with the State ministers on June 24 to discuss this Bill. As per the existing Indian Ports Act, 1908, the powers to plan, develop, regulate and control the minor ports vest with the State governments. However, the new draft Indian Ports Bill 2021 proposes to change this and transfer many of these powers to MSDC, which has so far been only an advisory body. Further to this, many powers currently exercised by State governments would be taken over by the Union Government.

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‘Adverse implications’

The present system has led to good development of minor ports, under the States, he said. This move of the Central Government to bring a new Bill will have long-term adverse implications for the management of minor ports, since the State governments will not have any major role any more if the Bill is passed.

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“We have already taken up the issue with the Union Ministry for Ports and Shipping, strongly opposing such steps to reduce the autonomous role of States in the regulation and management of Minor Ports,” he said.

“I also request that all our State Governments must communicate these comments on similar lines, opposing the above Bill during the MSDC meeting on June 25,” he wrote to chief ministers of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal and Puducherry.

Published on June 22, 2021

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