Interim chairman likely for port tariff regulatory body

Interim chairman likely for port tariff regulatory body

Mumbai: The Union government is yet to name a person to head the port tariff regulatory body that sets prices for the services provided at the 12 government-owned ports in the country after the earlier chairman, A.L. Bongirwar, completed his five-year term on Wednesday.

The Union ministry of shipping is now expected to name an interim head of the Tariff Authority for Major Ports (TAMP), till a full-time chairman is appointed by the appointments committee of cabinet (ACC) headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, said a ministry official, who did not want to be named.

The chairman of TAMP is appointed for a period of five years with an age limit of 65 years.

Several contenders have applied for the post. These include the Union shipping secretary A.K. Mohapatra, chairperson of Mumbai Port Rani A. Jadhav and the former chief secretary of Maharashtra D.K. Shankaran. The department of personnel and training will shortlist candidates and forward it to ACC for a final decision, the official said. Mohapatra, a 1971 batch officer of the Indian Administrative Service (IAS), will retire on 31 January 2008. Rani Jadhav is a 1970 batch IAS officer.

India’s 12 major ports are located at Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, Kandla, Kochi, New Mangalore, Mormugao, Chennai, Tuticorin, Visakhapatnam, Kolkata, Haldia and Paradip. These ports together handled 463.84 million tonnes of cargo in the 12 months to March, accounting for about 73% of the cargo handled at all the ports in the country.

It is not clear why the shipping ministry did not finalize a successor to Bongirwar though it was known months in advance that his term would end in October.

The ministry had also decided not to extend the term of Bongirwar till a new person was selected to head the tariff regulatory body, an exercise that typically takes the government a few months to conclude.