Staff Reporter

Chambers welcome step to curb money collection

Two persons arrested in connection with attempts to extort money from trailer lorry driversMeeting of stakeholders held in this connectionPort bans turn system for container trailers

KOCHI: Chairman of the Cochin Port Trust N. Ramachandran has reiterated his warning against illegal collection of money from container lorries serving the port. His warning comes in the wake of the Harbour Police arresting two persons in connection with attempts to extort money from trailer lorry drivers.

According to Port Trust sources, two persons were arrested on Monday after they were found noting down the registration numbers of container carriers in the port area. None of the two persons arrested is a port employee, it is learnt.

Trade and chambers of commerce have welcomed the action. President of the Cochin Chamber of Commerce and Industry N. Sreekumar said that it was time the port acted against those who created a bad name for the port. "Eliminating additional expenses for the port's customers is the only way to attract more cargo to Kochi," he said.

The Port Trust Chairman said that at a meeting last week of trade union representatives and other stakeholders in the port's operations, a warning was issued against the collection of money on the port premises.

The trade union representatives had agreed to cooperate and eliminate any such practice. However, it appeared that on Monday attempts were again made to force money out of trailer lorry drivers on the port premises.

All sort of money extortion had been banned on the port premises. The order came after reports that Rs.100 was being collected from each of the container trailer lorry coming to the port.

The Port Trust Chairman said that practices like collecting `Kettukooli' - money collected in lieu of jobs lost after the introduction of cargo containers - had continued.

Mr. Ramachandran said that the port had also banned the turn system for container trailers. The turn system eliminated competition. The port's customers were forced to take the offered rates, as they had no chance to command the service of anyone quoting lower.