The Major Authorities bill 2020 was passed in the Rajya Sabha. As many as 84 members of parliament supported the bill while 44 opposed the bill in the upper house.
BJP MP Suresh Prabhu, while supporting the Bill, said that earlier the Ports were developed the way they should have and therefore, the Bill will fill the gap keeping in view of present requirements. He also advocated linking of multi-mode transport to port management.
TMC Sukhendu Sekhar Ray, while opposing the Bill, accused that this Government has become a seller. “They are copying Singapore to ultimately privatise the ports. This is a step in that direction only and the Parliament is being taken for a ride”.This Bill also intended major change in land use and the state government has no say in it . If the land is sold, the share must come to the state governments, he added.
BJD Member Subhash Chandra Singh while supporting the Bill, said, “India is 16th largest maritime country in the world. But look at Paradip port. Sixty years have passed but no infrastructure has been developed so far and there has no development in the hospital at Paradip for the last 30 years.
Opposition the Bill, the DMK lawmaker P Wilson while hitting hard on the Government said that the ‘trust’ has been taken away through this Bill. "This Bill has been brought to serve the interest of a particular business house and this also supersedes the State's master plan”.
He also raised question on the constitution of the Board which will settle all disputes.
The Boards will be constituted comprising a retired SC judge and the Chief Secretary of a State, he said, adding that retired persons would not be competent to resolve disputes.
He also alleged that the Government wanted to sell even the Chennai port and brought up the environmental impact of expanding ports.
Accusing the Government of selling Government’s assets to the private hands, Congress Member Shaktisinh Gohil on Wednesday said that the Major Ports Authorities Bill, 2020 has several weaknesses and lacunae which will not only impact people working there but also benefit some private players.
Initiating a discussion on the Bill introduced by the Shipping Minister Mansukh Mandavia, for consideration and passing in the Upper House, the Congress Member Gohil said, “Airports have been named after their friends, now the intention seems to hand over the 12 sea ports to a particular friend”.