Maritime Board Hits Hurdle

While the Centre is repeatedly urging the State Government to set up Odisha Maritime Board (OMB) for development of maritime sector and taking care of coastal Security, legal hurdles seems to be coming under way for its establishment.

 
Long ago it was planned that the State Government will set up OMB, which will act as a single window agency for development of ports and inland waterways.
 
Accordingly a Bill was prepared by the Department of Commerce & Transport.
 
According to the Bill the Board was to be vested with the authority and powers to plan direct and implement the maritime development in the State with private sector participation.
 
However the Bill is yet to be cleared by the Department of Law, which is pending since long, admit sources.
 
As the State has a 485 Kilometers of long coastline from Balasore to Ganjam and vulnerable coastline was needed to be protected, pointed out the Union Government.
 
Accordingly Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), which is the Nodal Agency for implementation of Coastal Security Scheme, is requesting the State Administration time and again to establish State Maritime Board.
 
Recently, Additional Secretary Home Affairs, B R Sharma chaired a review meeting of the Coastal Security Scheme, by the National Steering Committee, where the State Government has been urged to go for Maritime Board.
 
While several other State Governments have already set up State Maritime Board, Odisha and Kerala are yet to set up this crucial institution, which is supposed to evolve an integrated ‘Maritime Master Plan’ for proper development of the Coastal Zone.
 
While the State Government is planning large scale expansion of the Port Sector, the Board, which will have a technical wing to assess the likely new cargo generation from time to time and to look for new investment avenues in the ports and inland waterways.
 
 
It was planned that Odisha Maritime Board will evolve an integrated approach covering port and infrastructural development.
 
The Board was to be empowered to receive funds from Government of India, and absence of the OMB funds flow from the Centre is just not happening.
 
 
The Maritime Institution was to be vested with powers to impose, review and modify the existing port charges in the minor ports, subject to approval of the Government, which was to enter into agreements for capital participation with Government of India Ministries and other major ports.
 
 
OMB was to plan and implement the process of attracting private sector investments in inland waterways in tune with the policies of the Ministry of Shipping, Government of India.
 
 
So in absence of such an institution in the State, maritime development is just not taking its proper shape, said sources.
 


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