Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Paradip/Bhubaneswar, Sep 22:
While the dispute over loading and unloading of cargo continues in Odisha’s Paradip port, an unrelenting Paradip Port Trust (PPT) management has toughened its stand against the striking Paradip Port Stevedores Association.
PPT chairman M T Krishna Babu Monday warned that strong action will be taken against those violating port rules. If the situation so demands, the port management may float open tender for stevedoring.
Dispute has erupted at the port over handing over of stevedoring job to Seaways Shipping & Logistics Pvt Ltd (SSLPL), an Andhra Pradesh based stevedoring firm which is not a member of PPSA.
“For 12 major ports in the country, there is one set of rules and regulations. Nowhere are ports run according to the rules of the stevedoring association. If one quits, others will come; we will do stevedoring on our own. In such a big state like Odisha, can’t we find people for doing stevedoring work? We will go for open tender, whosoever will bid the lowest will be awarded the job. We won’t allow industrialists to suffer. Those who will or try to violate port rules and obstruct work, action will be taken against them,” M T Krishna Babu Chairman PPT told reporters here today.
However, the Paradip Port Stevedores Association (PPSA) has called it a conspiracy. President of the PPSA Mahimananda Mishra said today that the 10 associations on strike will sit together to prepare a roadmap and meet the state government and the central government to resolve the issue.
“All stakeholders are united. The Paradip port management claims that work has begun; but how much? It can be at best five percent; nothing more than that. The operation in the port has come to a halt. It’s all being done to establish one private firm. If they can allot the job to any stevedore other than SSPL, the matter will be solved within five minutes. But port authorities are not in favour of that because it’s a conspiracy I have been telling it repeatedly. If the port goes for stevedoring on its own, it will be good. Now Biswakarma puja is on in Paradip. After it’s over, we will sit together and prepare our roadmap. If the need so arise,s we will go to the state government and even to the Central government,” Mishra said in his reaction to the PPT chairman’s statement.
On the other hand, Commerce and Transport Minister Ramesh Majhi has said that the Union Shipping Ministry should intervene to solve the ongoing dispute over loading and unloading of cargo at Paradip port.
“The chief secretary has, in the meanwhile, visited the port and had a meeting with the port management and has sought to resolve the dispute soon. I feel the Union Ministry of Shipping should intervene to resolve the dispute,” said Commerce and Transport Minister Ramesh Majhi to reporters at Bhubaneswar.