VIJAYAWADA: The Andhra Pradesh government has objected to certain provisions of the proposed Indian Ports Act, 2020, amendment bill mooted by the Union Ministry of Shipping at a virtual meeting of the Maritime State Development Council held on Thursday.
Industries minister Mekapati Goutham Reddy, who attended the virtual meet chaired by shipping minister Mansukh L Mandaviya, conveyed the AP government’s objection to the proposed port bill, saying its provisions went against the Constitution.
“We support the good deeds and decisions taken by the Centre. But we told them that they cannot take away our rights. The power of supervision and control over the ports is vested in the state governments. We have to study the draft bill and sought one month's time for this to present our views. A committee will be appointed to study the provisions,” the minister said in a statement.
The minister made it clear that the Indian Ports Bill-2020 is welcome only if the Centre agreed to some changes. The AP judiciary department is reviewing the draft bill.
Goutham Reddy said the bill provides the setting up of a Maritime Port Regulatory Authority for 160 minor ports in the country. “As per the same Act, 13 major ports have 13 regulatory authorities. This increased discrimination between minor and major ports. Hence, as in the case of major ports, each state should delegate the powers of Maritime Port Regulatory Authority to the respective State Maritime Boards,” he said.
He said the central government should not interfere in the regulatory responsibilities of minor ports. Instead, state governments should be empowered to control ports.
“In order to take the economy of the states forward, the role of ports within those states is crucial. This is because only states provide the key infrastructure and land allocation for minor ports. If the ports are centrally controlled, the respective states will lose the right and opportunity to move forward in the economic sphere,” he said....