NEW DELHI: To give more autonomy and flexibility to 12 major ports, the government has decided to replace the existing act with a new law that delegates power to ports to raise loans and empower them to lease land for non-port related activities.
The Ministry of Shipping has prepared a draft bill ‘The Central Port Authorities Act, 2016 ’ to replace the ‘Major Port Trust Act, 1963’ to bring in a professional approach in their governance.
Under the draft bill, port-related and non-port related use of land has been defined and a distinction has been made between these two usages in terms of approval of leases.
“The port authorities are empowered to lease land for port related use for upto 40 years and for non-port related use upto 20 years.According to the draft of the proposed legislation, the composition of the board has been simplified and it will comprise nine members including three to four independent members instead of 17-19 under the Port Trust Model. Besides, the need for government approvals for raising loans, appointment of consultants, execution of contracts and creation of service posts have been dispensed with.
The Board of Port Authority have been delegated power to raise loans and issue security for the purpose of capital expenditure and working capital requirement.
An independent Review Board has been proposed to carry out the residual function of the erstwhile TAMP (Tariff Authority for Major Ports) for major ports, to look into disputes between the ports and PPP concessionaires, to review stressed PPP projects and suggest measures to review stressed PPP projects and revive such projects. At present, there is no independent body to look into the above aspects and the Review Board may reduce the extent of litigation between PPP operators and ports.
Port land on lease
“The port authorities are empowered to lease land for port related use for upto 40 years and for non-port related use upto 20 years beyond which the approval of the Central Government is required,” draft bill ‘The Central Port Authorities Act, 2016 said.