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BJP govt in Goa opposed Major Ports Authorities Bill; asked Centre to reconsider

The Major Ports Authorities Bill, 2020 was passed in the Rajya Sabha in February. The Bill was passed with 88 votes for and 44 against.

By: Express News Service | Panaji |
July 31, 2021 10:49:39 pm
Goa Chief Minister Pramod Sawant (File)

The BJP government in Goa had, in June, written to the union ministry of shipping asking it to reconsider the Major Port Authorities Bill “in view of State laws and its conflict with the Land Revenue Code and other State Acts”.

Answering a question raised by senior Congress legislator Luizinho Faleiro in the Goa legislative assembly that concluded on Friday, Goa deputy chief minister and minister for town and country planning (TCP) Chandrakant Kavlekar stated in his written reply, “A letter has been sent by Revenue Department, Government of Goa to Ministry of Shipping, New Delhi to reconsider the bill in view of State laws and its conflict with the Land Revenue Code and other State Acts. The concerns raised by the Members of the Legislative Assembly have also been brought to the notice of (then) Hon’ble Minister for State, Ministry of Shipping, Govt. of India by the Hon’ble Chief Minister Shri Mansukh Mandavia vide D.O. letter dated 17/06/2021”

Faleiro, former chief minister of Goa, had asked on July 29 whether the Goa government was aware that the Major Port Authorities Bill, 2020 which has been tabled in the Parliament has the potential to usurp the powers of the state and local bodies with regard to land use and town planning. Faleiro had asked the TCP minister to state the likely implications of the Bill.

In his reply, Kavlekar stated that the likely implications include “redundancy of Goa Town & Country Planning Act and the Regional Plan/ODPs prepared there under, Goa Municipalities Act, Goa Panchayat Raj Act, Goa Land Development and Building Construction Regulations, 2010 and Goa Land Revenue Code in respect of area under the port limits constituted by Major Ports, subject to any rights of private property therein and consequent revenue loss on account of the same”.

The Major Ports Authorities Bill, 2020 was passed in the Rajya Sabha in February. The Bill was passed with 88 votes for and 44 against. Opposition parties including the Congress, the Left parties, DMK, Trinamool Congress, RJD and the SP had opposed the legislation in the Upper House alleging that it was aimed at privatising ports. Many Opposition MPs had said the legislation would adversely affect states’ rights.

In his question, Faleiro had also asked if the BJP government in Goa had opposed the Bill, Kavlekar replied in the affirmative.

The Bill provides for regulation of major ports and will replace the Major Port Trusts Act of 1963, and a board of Major Port Authority for each major port will replace the current port trusts.

Then Minister of State (Independent Charge) Mansukh Madaviya had said that in the new Bill, the government has “brought in a provision that will allow ports to take their own decisions”. He mentioned that to change tariffs, the ports have to now approach the ministry.

Goa’s Mormugao Port Trust (MPT) is the major port that handled traffic of 21.99 Million Tonnes in the financial year 2020-21. According to the MPT’s website 7.01 Million Tonnes of the traffic was iron ore, 9.34 million tonnes of coal/coke and 0.61 million tonnes of petroleum products and liquid cargo.

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