OST Business Bureau
New Delhi, Jan 16:
The Union Shipping ministry on Thursday unveiled a policy framework for major ports in the country to draw more business for the sector and make optimum use of their land resources by providing for lease and licensing of such unused land.
The guidelines, unveiled by Dr. Vishwapati Trivedi, secretary of the Ministry of Shipping in Mumbai on Thursday, however, do not apply to the township areas of Kandla, Mumbai and Kolkata Ports.
The cabinet had approved the policy on 2nd January 2014 following widespread consultations with various stake-holders, including different Ministries.
Recently the Ministry had come out with new tariff guidelines, procedures to streamline security clearances and other measures to expedite approval to PPP projects.
The salient features of the new policy are tender cum auction as the dominant method of allotment; allotment of land to government and security agencies and joint ventures of PSUs/statutory authorities on nomination basis.
The tenures of lease/license will vary depending upon the location of the Land. Inside the custom bonded areas, there will be short term license valid for a maximum of 5 years. Outside the custom bonded areas, long-term leases stretching up to a maximum of 30 years can be granted by ports. Beyond 30 years, the proposals will be recommended by the Empowered Committee Mechanism and approved by the Ministry of Shipping.
Besides, land will be allocated for PPP projects automatically on license basis along with project approval.
A concessional regime has been prescribed in respect of land allotted to Government schools and colleges and for government organizations engaged in essential port services and core security functions.
The policy also provides for a renewal mechanism for existing lessees. In respect of agreements providing for renewal, the leases are to be renewed at the latest schedule of rates. In respect of agreements not providing for renewal, the leases are to be put on tender cum auction, with the first right of refusal to the existing lessees.
It also provides guidelines for mortgages, sub-leases, transfer of lease and right of way permissions. The policy has many provisions to ensure transparency and accountability in the management of port land.