Opposition Parties In Rajya Sabha Object To Bill For Developing Major Ports On Thursday

Various opposition parties, including the TMC, SP, RJD, DMK, AAP, CPI(M) and CPI, raised strong objections in the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday to a bill for developing the major ports in the country and alleged that it is aimed at privatising the ports and diluting the powers of the states on land use. However the BJD, JD(U), YSRCP supported the Major Port Authorities Bill, 2020, saying it is a welcome move to expand the port development infrastructure. Opposing the bill, Sukhendu Sekhar Ray of the Trinamool Congress (TMC) said there is nothing in it as it follows the Singapore model of corporatisation. “This is the first stage of corporatisation and the next step in the offing is privatisation. Parliament is being taken for a ride…. I strongly oppose this bill on behalf of the TMC,” he said, participating in the debate on the bill. Ray said said the recommendations of the Standing Committee in this regard have not been taken into consideration. He said according to the bill, a state government will have no authority in either the sale of land or change of land use, even though the land belongs to the state. “The powers of the state government have been diluted as it has no say on land,” Ray said, adding that the land should go back to the state or the profits from its sale proceeds should go to it. On a provision in the bill that says the port’s master plan will overtake the state’s master plan, he said, “the master plan has been hijacked”. Willson also sought that technical members be given a place in the running of ports. He also alleged that the bill will lead to the mushrooming of private ports, which will come up like “bus stands”, and this will affect the flora and fauna of the area.

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