Tamil Nadu Chief Minister requests nine states to oppose draft Indian Ports Bill

Tamil Nadu chief minister MK Stalin has written to his counterparts in nine states, proposing that all coastal states and Union territories object to the new draft Indian Ports Bill, 2021, and take joint action to prevent any move to dilute the powers vested with the states.

He has requested the Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, West Bengal and Puducherry governments to communicate their opposition to the Bill during the Maritime State Development Council (MSDC) meeting.

Stalin said the Union ministry of ports, shipping and waterways has framed a new draft Indian Ports Bill, 2021, to modify the current management model of minor ports. A meeting of the MSDC has been called with the state ministers to discuss the Bill.

As per the Indian Ports Act, 1908, the powers to plan, develop, regulate and control minor ports vests with the state governments concerned. However, the new draft Bill proposes to transfer many of these powers to the MSDC, which has so far only been an advisory body. Further, many powers exercised by state governments will be taken over by the Union government, the letter said.

Stalin said the Bill, if passed, will have long-term adverse implications for the management of minor ports. “We have already taken up the issue with the Union ministry for ports and shipping, strongly opposing such steps to reduce the autonomous role of states in the regulation and management of minor ports,” he said.

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