Haldia dock workers allege irregularities in new KoPT tender

Members of Haldia Dock Bachao Committee, a group constituting members of four labour unions and Haldia Dock Officers' Forum, on Friday sent a letter to Central Bureau of Investigation (SBI) and Chief Vigilance Commission (CVC) alleging irregularities in the tender floated by Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) on August 21 for the mechanisation of berth number 4B of Haldia Dock Complex.

The committee alleged that KoPT deliberately kept "shore operations", which constitutes 80 per cent of the total operations of vessels, out of the tender so as to ensure free shore-handling operations by some private handling agents who have been working inside the port for the many years without signing any contract with the port authorities. These private handling agents working inside the port handle around 10 million tonnes of cargo yearly per and earn over Rs 200 crores but they don't share a single paise of the revenue earned with the KoPT, the committee alleged.

They claimed that if tender is proceeded in the present form, the annual loss to KoPT from the berth as compared to the model followed at berth numbers 2 and 8 where HBT was employed would be around Rs 32 crore.

Following labour unrest and law and order problem at the dock, HBT, a cargo-handling firm, recently announced its decision to quit Haldia.

Meanwhile, the members of the committee said they had raised the tendering issue with Acting Chairman of KoPT Manish Jain, but he did not pay heed to it.

Jain gets 3-month extension as KoPT acting-chairman Union Ministry of Shipping has decided to give three months extension to acting-chairman of Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) Manish Jain. N Muruganandam, joint secretary, Ministry of Shipping, confirmed this. He, however, said there was nothing unusual in giving extension to Jain and termed it as a regular matter.

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