Paradip: The Competition Commission of India (CCI) on Thursday imposed a fine of Rs 1.17 crore on Dumper Owners Association on account of the strike held by the association in 2015 that led to disruption of work at Paradip Port in Jagatsinghpur district.
The association’s president and secretary have also been slapped with a fine of Rs 29.35 lakh each.
Earlier on September 18, 2015, operations at Paradip Port had come to a halt due to a strike called by several organisations alleging large-scale irregularities in cargo handling operations.
Members of around ten outfits including Stevedores’ Association, Dumper Owners’ Association and Drivers and Helpers Association had taken out a rally to the office of the additional district magistrate (ADM) here holding placards and submitted a memorandum, protesting against a particular private shipping and logistics company being allowed to do stevedoring work at the port.
Prior to the strike, the port management in a press note had mentioned that while the Paradip Port was creating a level playing field for all port customers to do business with ease, a section of Port Stevedores, under the banner of ‘Paradip Port Stevedores Association’ and the ‘Dumper Owners’ Association’ have created a monopoly situation at the port for a long time now and was bent on frustrating free market economy to prevail at the port.
It is worthwhile to mention that the CCI had earlier in January, 2015 had also slapped a fine of Rs 3.86 lakh on Dumper Owners’ Association and its office bearers.
In an order dated January 21, the CCI said that the association “has indulged in the practice of determining the rates of the provision of dumper services for intra-port transport operations within Paradip Port restricted area which amounts to determination of sale price of the services of dumpers which is in violation of …the (Competition) Act”.
It also noted that the association’s office bearers “are equally responsible along with the opposite party no 1 in the anti-competitive practices of controlling and limiting the provisions of dumper services for intra-port transportation of cargos inside the Paradip Port prohibited area…”.
Accordingly, CCI had slapped a fine of Rs 2.60 lakh on the association and Rs 1.26 lakh on its five office bearers.