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Court restrains Vizag port from taking decision on upgradation - 2013-05-02

The Andhra Pradesh High Court has issued orders to the Visakhapatnam Port Trust from taking a final decision on global tenders for modernisation and upgrading facilities at the ore handling complex of the port on design, build, finance, operate and transfer basis.

The orders were issued in response to a writ petition filed by K. Bhavani Shankarudu, the President of BMS-affiliated Visakhapatnam Port and Dock Mazdoor Sangh. The court issued notices to the first and second respondents — the Union Ministry of Shipping and the Visakhapatnam Port Trust — asking them why the petition of the complainant should not be complied with. The court order said: “While the tender process may go on, its results shall be subject to further orders.” Essar and Vedanta groups are the frontrunners in the bids for the Rs 845-crore project for which the port had obtained clearance from the Planning Commission.

The upfront fee for the project will be Rs 170 crore. VPT wants to increase the capacity of OHC from 12 million tonne to 23 million tonne per annum. Welcoming the order, Bhavani Shankarudu said on Monday that the decision to award the modernisation and improvement of facilities at OHC was nothing but privatisation and would be against the letter and spirit of Major Port Trusts’ Act, 1963. As running OHC was a core area and the nature of work perennial, it should not be handed over to private investors, he contended. He alleged that the decision would be contrary to Section 10 of Contract labour (Abolition & Regulation) Act, 1970. It would lead to engaging contract workers.

Source : Hindu Business Line