KOCHI: The Union government has released new policy guidelines for major ports to help them leverage optimum commercial advantage from land resources.
As per the new guidelines, tender-cum-auction has been prescribed as the most preferred method of land allotment, while discretionary powers of the port managements have been reduced.
According to the officials of the Union Ministry of Shipping, these guidelines were prepared to help port managements carry out leasing and licensing of land under the possession of ports, in a transparent manner. Major ports in India have between them 2.64 lakh acres of land. So far, the resource has remained under utilised and often yielded lesser returns.
The thrust of the new policy is on linking the value of land with prevailing market rates.
The policy stipulates that the land can be allotted only through licensing in custom bonded areas by inviting competitive bidding, while land outside custom bonded areas can be leased through tender-cum-auction.
There is also a provision to license land outside custom bonded areas, but it should be only for port-related activities.
The boards of respective ports can approve leasing of land for a period of up to 30 years.
For leasing of land beyond 30 years and up to 99 years, approval of the government has to be obtained through an Empowered Committee.
“We understand the new policy is not much different from the existing one. However, reducing discretionary power and giving priority to ‘tender-cum-auction’ method is a comparatively new measure. It means that those who quotes more will get the land.”
“We are yet to look into the guidelines in detail as it has just been released. We will raise objections, if there are any, after studying the policy in detail,” said P M Mohammed Haneef, president of Cochin Port Staff Association and a leader of All-India Port & Dock Workers Federation.