Even as the signing of concession agreement with Essar Group for upgradation of Ore Handling Complex (OHC) and addition of new facilities is raging into a controversy, the Visakhapatnam Port has allayed fears on threat to job security to the existing workforce.
While unions upped the ante against the concession agreement signed by the Visakhapatnam Port Trust with the Vadinar Oil Terminal of Essar Group in Chennai on Friday for the Rs.845.41crore project, VPT Deputy Chairman G.V.L. Satya Kumar told The Hindu that the workers’ interest would be fully protected. To a question, he said there would be no retrenchment due to the new projects and the interest of the workforce would be fully protected. Asked to comment on claim by certain union leaders questioning the rationale behind signing the 30-year concession agreement when the AP High Court had issued a stay on the issue, he said the court had permitted to go ahead with tender work pending final verdict.
In response to a petition filed by Visakhapatnam Port and Dock Mazdoor Sangh president K. Bhavani Shankarudu, the high court in its order on April 16, 2013 had stated that the tender process shall go on and its result be a subject to further orders. Mr. Shankarudu told The Hindu that their bone of contention was that iron ore handling at the complex was a core area and as per the Major Port Trusts’ Act, core areas of work should not be privatised to prevent outsourcing.
He said the signing of the agreement to go ahead with work by Essar under Design, Build, Finance, Operate and Transfer (DBFOT) scheme was nothing but privatisation and handing over a profit-making activity on a platter to a private firm.