Chennai, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin today wrote to Chief Minister of nine states urging them to strongly oppose the Centre’s draft Indian ports Bill-2021 as it would have long term implications on management of minor ports.
In a Demi-Official to the Chief Ministers of Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal and Puducherry, he said ‘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.” All the Coastal States and Union Territories should express their objection to this new draft Bill and take joint action to prevent any move to dilute the powers already vested with the States, 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 24′, he added. .’I invite your kind attention to the recent actions initiated by the Union Government on management of Minor Ports, hitherto managed and regulated by State Governments’, Mr Stalin said. Stating that the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways has framed the new “Draft Indian Ports Bill 2021” to modify the current management model of minor ports, he said a meeting of the Maritime State Development Council (MSDC) has been called with the State Ministers on June 24 to discuss this issue.
As per the existing Indian Ports Act, 1908, the powers to plan, develop, regulate and control the minor ports vests with the State Governments concerned.
However, the new draft Bill proposes to change this and transfer many of these powers to MSDC, which has so far been only an advisory body, he pointed out.
“Further to this, many powers currently exercised by State Governments would be taken over by the Union Government”, he said.
Pointing out that the present system has led to good development of minor ports, under the States, Mr Stalin said this move of the Central Government to bring in a new Bill will have long term adverse implications on the management of minor ports, since the State Governments will not have any major role anymore, if the Bill is passed.