RS passes Bill to ‘professionalise’ major ports, Oppn says it will favour crony capitalists

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on February 10, 2021

Minister of State (Independent Charge) Mansukh Madaviya said it is wrong to say that the ports sector will be finished by this bill

Rajya Sabha passed the Major Ports Authorities Bill on Wednesday. The Centre said the Bill will is provide greater autonomy, flexibility to the major ports and to professionalise their governance. The Opposition alleged that the Bill is tuned for the crony capitalists close to the ruling party.

Minister of State (Independent Charge) Mansukh Madaviya said it is wrong to say that the ports sector will be finished by this bill. “This Bill is not to privatise any ports. It is for equipping our major ports to compete with private ports,” he said replying to the debate on the Bill.

Mandaviya said the current model of the Board of Trustees of major ports has operational restrictions due to diverse representation of the trustees on the board. He added that with the growth and development of private ports, the Major Ports are facing severe competition and difficulties in implementing the changes which may help the Major Ports compete in the evolving market conditions. He said adequate provisions have been made to bring experts and representatives of the State governments into the board of trustees.

Also read: Stevedores face crisis as major port trusts-run berths head for privatisation

Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil said the Bill is aimed at helping one particular friend industrialist of the government. He said the provision of constitution of board of trustees is done in such a manner that only those who agree with the government’s views can be seen there.

He urged the Centre to modify the Bill to ensure that experts on the field can become members of the board of trustees. DMK leader P Wilson said the Bill is for the Adani group. Other Opposition members too criticised the Bill. BJP leader Suresh Prabhu said the Bill is in the right direction and will help in professionalising the management of major ports.

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Published on February 10, 2021
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