Experts allege that the board of boards of trustees of the 11 major ports in the country are filled with people who promote their own interests rather than that of the ports.
They point out that the boards are composed of shipping agents, defence and navy personnel, officials of the directorate general of shipping, Indian Railways officers and members of industry bodies, apart from a couple of top port personnel.
The existing set-up also helps the shipping minister to pack people belonging to his own party or loyalists as members on port trust boards under the category of “other interests”.
Each of the 11 port trusts has four members who are appointed as “other interests” out of a total of 17-19 members.
Too many members with vested interests in the board affects decision-making in major ports, experts feel. Therefore, they suggest the union government to abandon the trust structure and corporatise these ports.
It may be noted that earlier in 2010, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh revived the plan and directed the shipping ministry to begin converting the port trusts into corporate entities. But it hasn’t made any headway till date.
11 major ports in the country are run as trusts under a law framed five decades ago known as the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963. Ennore port in Tamil Nadu is the 12th and only exception. Ennore, which opened in 2001, is run as a company under India’s Companies Act.