HC restrains govt from MoU route to develop new ports

Cuttack: The High Court on Monday restrained the state government from signing any further MoU with developers for setting up new ports.

"The state shall not go ahead with signing of any MoUs and concession agreement with any developers for setting up any ports without the leave of this court," said a vacation bench of Orissa High Court comprising Justices Indrajit Mahanty and S K Mishra in an interim order.

The bench posted the matter for further hearing on June 21 next.

The interim order of the HC came while adjudicating a PIL which termed the orders of the state government in setting up ports in private-public participation (PPP) mode as arbitrary and discriminatory.

The PIL, filed by environmentalist Biswajit Mohanty, contended that the government had gone on MoU signing spree for setting at least three minor ports in the state in contravention of the binding directions laid down by the union government.

The state government failed to explain as to what guidelines the developers were allotted the ports.