June 30, 2021 4:16:59 am
Odisha’s government sought modifications to the draft Indian Ports Bill 2021, which deals with management of minor ports, with Commerce and Transport Minister Padmanabha Behera writing to Union Minister Mansukh Mandaviya seeking changes to address concerns of coastal states.
The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways has framed the draft Bill to modify the current management model of minor ports. “Odisha is in the process of constituting ‘The Odisha State Maritime Board’. The Bill for it is now with the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India now awaiting the assent of the President, after being passed by the Odisha Legislative Assembly in February 2021. There is no provision in the ‘Indian Ports Bill, 2021’ to include a State Maritime Board which is constituted at a later date by a State enactment. A provision is required to be made for the same,” Behera said in the letter.
According to the existing Indian Ports Act, 1908, state governments of coastal regions have the powers to plan, develop, regulate and control minor ports. The latest draft of the Bill proposes to transfer these powers to Maritime State Development Council, which is an advisory body since 1997, and give it statutory status.
“The Union Government through Maritime States Development Council seeks to appropriate this authority of the State through the proposed Bill. We object to this proposed appropriation of State authority by the Union Govt. The proposed provision instead of making India a strong maritime nation, through its centralization of authority, will stunt the growth of port led development in the nation. Also, this proposal is against the very spirit of cooperative federalism and empowerment of states.” Behera said.