Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Thursday has asked the Prime Minister to rethink over revised Draft Indian Ports Bill 2022 arguing that it would pave wave for “centralising” the sector.
In the letter, a copy of which was circulated to the media, he said that the revised draft arguably continue to ignore international and domestic experience that ports are best managed by local and regional governments.
The proposed Bill, he said, would stifle state-specific initiatives by imposing a centralised regulatory regime on non-major ports. “The attempt to convert the Maritime State Development Council (MSDC), presently an advisory body, into a regulatory body with permanent staff would surely encroach upon the powers of States. This may end up choking the future development of minor ports,” he said.
Contending that the Draft excludes representatives of maritime States and Union Territories in the Council, he said “like the GST Council, the MSDC must continue only as an advisory body with the ministers concerned of the union and the maritime states and UTs as members and officers should only be special invitees.”
“As per the proposed bill, if any amendments are required to these Acts, they can be made by the State Legislatures based only on the recommendations of the Centre or the MSDC. This would make the legislative process dysfunctional. Also, the appellate powers against the orders of the State Maritime Boards currently lie with the respective State governments,” Stalin pointed out.
He urged the prime minister that Chapters II and III of the draft Bill relating to the MSDC be deleted entirely and that the MSDC remain an apex advisory body as before.