Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Paradip, May 30:
Allegations are rife that the Ministry of Shipping of the Central government has knowingly hatched a conspiracy to make Odisha’s Paradip port defunct.
As part of the game plan, the ministry has shifted all Odia officers from Paradip port and has placed the port in the hands of a bunch of non-Odia officers with a south Indian heading it. These non-Odia officers who do not have any sense of belonging and commitment towards Odisha or the port have made a mess of the port.
Their alleged administrative inefficiencies have affected activities at the port. Mainly port traffic mismanagement has resulted in such a situation, alleged insiders. It was the first time in the 30-year history of the port’s existence that several berths remained idle at the port in the last one month.
Notably, the port had crossed its target in cargo handling in 2014-15. The port had achieved the distinction of being the second largest port in the country. Berths’ remaining idle at one of the largest ports in the country has surprised many.
On analysis of the port’s traffic history in the last 20 years, ships had to wait for around nine to twelve days at the anchorage area for berthing at the port. More than 20 ships used to wait at the anchorage area at any given time to avail berthing facilities.
Presently, all important responsibilities of the port have been vested in the hands of non-Odia officials. Chairman of Vizag port M T Krishnababu has been appointed as the chairman of Paradip port. Krishnababu has been given additional charge of Paradip port since last seven months. As he doesn’t belong to Odisha, he allegedly adopts a partisan attitude towards Paradip Port which is evident from the managerial inefficiencies.
Similarly, a non-Odia official from Chennai Port has been shifted as Paradip Port’s deputy chairman. Again an official of Vizag Port has been made the new secretary of Paradip Port.
Besides, another official from Vizag Port has been transferred and posted as the senior deputy secretary of Paradip Port.
While Additional Chief Engineer (Electrical & Mechanical) Suresh Chandra Mohapatra has been sidelined, M Jayasimha, an officer of the same field recently transferred from Chhenai Port and posted at Paradip port is being given importance.
Similarly, Deputy Conservator of Paradip Port Captain G P Biswal, an Odia officer, has been transferred to Cochin Port with alleged malafide intent. In his place, Paul N Joseph has been posted at Paradip Port after being shifted from Cochin Port.
Sudden transfers of Odia officers from Paradip Port to elsewhere within a month smells of a design to cripple Paradip Port. It is high time the Odisha government takes note of the development and intervenes in the matter to salvage the lost glory of Odisha’s pride.