Opposing Port Bill,Naveen urges nine CMs

Bhubaneswar: Opposing certain provisions in the proposed Indian Port Bill, 2011, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today urged nine coastal states and a union territory to jointly protest the Bill. Patnaik wrote to chiefs ministers of West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Puducherry and the Lt governor of Andaman and Nicobar saying the Bill would encroach into the rights of the states in terms of port management and functioning.

"The proposed Bill will come as a hindrance towards port development in the coastal states. Besides, the Centre will have authority over the land and water near major ports," Patnaik said in the letters. Stating that the state governments would also lose their rights over the fixation of limits of majors ports, Patnaik said there was no provision of seeking the views of states concerned before the ministry of shipping fixed the jurisdiction of any major port.

Rejecting the provision of appointing an arbitrator to resolve any dispute over the limits of ports, he demanded that either courts or any independent body examine the dispute instead of any centrally appointed arbitrator. As the states would lose their rights, it is time to raise voice against the proposed Bill, Patnaik said.

The ministry mooted the idea of bringing a new Bill in order to replace old laws under Indian Ports Act 1908 and Major Port Trust Act, 1963.