[sbinews] APEX Authority for Sagar Mala Project

  • From: sbistcbangalore@xxxxxxxx
  • To: sbinews@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 24 Dec 2003 12:57:56 +0500

The shipping ministry is contemplating setting up an apex body — along the 
lines of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI), which implemented the 
PM’s highway programme — to monitor and implement the PM’s Sagar Mala project. 
According to sources in the ministry, this could be an existing body like the 
National Maritime Board or a fresh body. The shipping ministry is also 
proposing to strengthen the Tariff Authority for Major Ports (TAMP). Both 
proposals have significant implications for the maritime sector and merely 
require a notification from the ministry for enforcement. 

TAMP, which is currently run by a chairman and two part-time members, is likely 
to get additional two full-time members — a judicial expert and a shipping 
expert — to make the body more democratic in its functioning. 

This brings to a close over two-year long deliberations on converting TAMP — 
the tariff regulator for the 13 government-owned major ports — into an 
appellate authority. Converting TAMP into an appellate authority would have 
freed major port trusts and private operators at major ports to fix and revise 
their own tariffs, and TAMP would only be approached if they had any 
complaints. New tariffs would be enforced only after the complaint is disposed 
off by the appellate authority. 

It is felt that the concept of appellate authority may not work in a country 
like India where every action is likely to be contested by the public, creating 
more dissent and delays in a sector that is now targeting rapid growth under 
Sagar Mala. The move also reinforces Sagar Mala’s guiding principles of 
opposing anything which imposes an additional cost burden on consumers by 
preventing private operators from charging exorbitant rates. 

Ports other than those designated as ‘major’ have been posing a threat to the 
business of major ports, reportedly accounting for about 25% of the total 
traffic handled in the country. The major ports have therefore been lobbying to 
bring the minor ports also under the purview of TAMP, though there is as yet no 
firm signal from the ministry that this is also being considered. 

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