Stevedoring logjam continues in Paradip port

Pradip: Even though the transportation work resumed at Paradip port since yesterday amid tight security, situation arising out of the stand-off between Paradip Port authorities and Paradip Port Stevedores Association (PPSA) shows no sign of abating as the service providers are still on agitation.

Seaways Shipping and Logistics Private Limited (SSPL) engaged 25 highway dumper on Saturday morning and another 35 including some from local owners and Nirakar dumper owners’ association in the afternoon for cargo transportation. The work resumed at only one berth while others have remained closed due to ongoing stevedores’ stir. The port authorities slapped show cause notice on some of the transportation units.

Reacting on the situation at the port, Paradip ADM Ramakrushna Sahu said, “On behalf of the district administration, I can say that the law and order situation is under control. Though the situation at the port has not been normalised, some work has been started.”

Seaways Shipping DGM Mahendra Swain said, “We had work contracts from JSPL. To transport the materials we requested for dumpers, but they are asking us not to take the contract of JSPL. We cannot do this.”

Paradip Stevedores’ Association president Mahimananda Mishra alleged, “Authorities of Paradip Port Trust, Seaways Shipping and JSPL are jointly trying to defame the Paradip port.”

Meanwhile, the stevedoring row has got political colours as BJD MLA Damodar Rout alleged, “Congress and BJP are getting associated with the issue to take political mileage.”

Further, Rout added, “Bapi Sarkhel, a person with criminal background and president of the dumpers’ association, joined the strike on the basis of request from the stevedores’ association creating the stalemate at the port.”

Criticising Rout, Sarkhel, a Congress leader and president of Dumper Drivers & Helpers’ Association, said around 2500-4000 workers working at the Pradip port are members of the trade union. The strike has affected the income of those workers.

“We are waiting for the further steps of stevedores’ association,” he added.

Maintaining a neutral approach to the issue, BJP vice president Pratap Sadangi, said “He is a senior person and most of the time people do not understand what he is talking about. Local MLAs of those areas support the criminals and make use of them for political gain.”