Amaravati: Close on the heels of its neighbour Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh on Thursday said it was opposed to the proposed Indian Ports Act, 2021 mooted by the Union Ministry of Shipping.
APs Infrastructure and Investments Minister Mekapati Goutham Reddy conveyed the states objection to the proposed law to Union Shipping Minister Mansukh Mandaviya, saying it was "going against the Constitution."
"We have not yet studied the (draft) Bill. We have sought one month time to study the Bill and present our views but we told him that they cannot take away our rights," Mekapati told reporters at the end of the virtual Maritime State Development Council meeting.
This could be a "draconian law" that could curtail market access to the state, he apprehended. The minister said the state was objected to the structure of the proposed Act as it could destroy the federal structure of the country.
"Today this (Bill), tomorrow it could be something else. It is going against the Constitution. The Centre cant infringe on the rights of the state," Mekapati said. He said a group of experts would be constituted to study the draft Bill and give its comments.
"We will then take up the issue with the Chief Minister for further action," he added. He pointed out that it was the prerogative of the states to develop ports.
"AP has the second largest coastline in the country and we are in a strategic and advantageous position on the east coast. The proposed law seems to be curtailing the growth of the state," the Minister remarked.
He said the "character of the Bill" was different from what they were actually told. Mekapati said they were accepting in toto the views of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin on the issue. "We will reach out to all the states and go to the Government of India (with the objections). Our CM will decide on a (joint) fight as suggested by the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister," the Infrastructure Minister added.