Bhubaneswar, May 31:
A conspiracy was being hatched to weaken Odisha’s state-run Paradip Port and promote a private one in neighbouring Bhadrak district, the state’s Excise Minister Damodar Rout alleged on Sunday.
Addressing the media, the minister said “a group of influential people sponsored by the central government” has hatched a conspiracy to ruin the Paradip Port.
Rout, the legislator from Paradip, said the port, which had received the Golden Peacock National Quality Award for 2014 and was the second among the major ports in India, was going through a bad period.
“Earlier, vessels had to wait for 9-12 days for berthing. But since the last one month, the berths are lying vacant. The situation has arisen as the vessels are being diverted to other ports,” he said.
“It shows that the traffic at Paradip port has been reduced substantially, which is a serious indicator,” the Biju Janata Dal leader added.
He said the port did not have even a regular chairman, and the chairman of the Vizag Port has been made in-charge of Paradip too.
“Aiming to spoil the port, the Centre is appointing all non-Odia officers. The chairman, deputy chairman, secretary and other top posts are held by non-Odia officers. The efficient Odia officers are transferred to other ports in the country,” he said.
He also said that around 1,200 workers engaged in manual unloading of wagons were deprived of their jobs due to introduction of mechanics.
BJP leader Bijay Mohapatra termed the allegations baseless.
“There is no question of weakening the Paradip port. The Centre is planning to strengthen the port. The Centre is planning to develop Paradip as a smart city. If Damodar Rout, being a minister, has any suggestion for development of the port, the Centre would accept it,” he said. (IANS)