National assets are being destroyed only to promote private capital and this makes no economic sense, said Sitaram Yechury, Polit Bureau member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), here on Sunday.
Speaking at a convention to “Save Kolkata Port Complex,” Mr. Yechury said there was an urgent need to save the maritime industry in the country “that is on the verge of collapse and will soon be taken over by private ports.”
The CPI(M) MP, who is the Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture, said that when a majority share of the budgetary allocation for developing infrastructure of ports “is not being utilised, the government is suffering from a pathological compulsion of public-private partnership.”
“Instead of using private wealth for public good, the government is utilising public resources for creating private wealth,” Mr. Yechury added.
“In the name of public-private partnerships, private capital is being encouraged at the cost of the public sector,” he emphasised.
Mr. Yechury referred to the Visakhapatnam port along the east coast and Kandala port on the western coast whose revenue was being adversely affected by the private ports in the vicinity.
The standing committee had said that major ports in the country “have turned out to be landlords.”
“They are not interested in modernisation; only in the revenue coming from the rent earned from their property,” he pointed out.
Mr. Yechury said that the “Look East” policy of the Centre was not possible without developing the Kolkata Port system. Dredgers should be arranged to take care of the draught at the Kolkata and Haldia ports. Inter-linkages with inland waterways should also be made to make the Kolkata port economically viable, he added.