Visakhapatnam port union flays handing over of OHC to Essar
The United Port and Dock Employees’ Federation, affiliated to the CITU, has condemned the handing of the iron ore handling complex (OHC) at the Visakhapatnam port to Essar as an outrageous decision intended to benefit the private company and inimical to the interests of the port and its workers.
The union has urged the authorities to abrogate the agreement and take back the OHC.
In a press release issued here on Friday, the union president, K.S Kumar, and general secretary, V.S Padmanabha Raju, said the OHC, considered the heart of Vizag port, should have been developed with the reserve funds of the port or taking a loan from multilateral lending agency.
In fact, there was a proposal to take a loan from a Japanese Bank, and even the Union Government had given its approval. Subsequently, on some flimsy ground, the proposal was dropped and it was decided to handover the OHC to Essar in the face of stiff opposition from the workforce and the unions.
There were many flaws and lacunae in the valuation of assets, fixing the upfront fees to be paid by Essar and also the project cost. In all tnese matters, the interests of the port had been compromised, they alleged.
They said the service conditions and job prospects of the OHC workers would also be affected by “the retrograde move” and the union would fight any steps taken by the Essar management against the interests of workers. Already, a case filed by the union against privatisation of OHC was pending before the AP High court, they added.