The Shipping Ministry on Thursday unveiled the much-awaited land policy guidelines for 12 major ports in the country that will help them to undertake various development projects on a tender-cum-auction basis.

Briefing reporters, Chennai Port Trust chairman Atulya Misra said the new policy guidelines provides for a transparent mechanism for leasing and licensing of land in possession of major ports inside the custom bounded areas for short term licenses (from 11 months to five years) and outside the custom bounded areas on long term leases (for a maximum of 30 years).

“With the approval of the Union Cabinet, a major hurdle that prevented the growth of major ports had been removed. Till recently, major ports were not permitted to allot lands on long term licenses or leases, whereas the minor ports were not having such problems. The new policy would enable us to become competitive. Even those who do not have exposure to port activities can take part in port projects,” he said.

Currently, the Chennai Port has 200 acres in custom bound area and can be allotted through the new method. Having exhausted the available land, the Ennore Port is in the process of acquiring 735 acres from the Salt department for expansion activities.

One of the salient features of the new policy states that the land can be allotted to government agencies, public sector undertakings and statutory authorities on nomination basis. It cannot be given to religious institutions or political institutions. The policy also provides guidelines for mortgages, sub-leases, transfer and right of way permissions.

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