Plan panel has pathological compulsion for PPP: Yechury

Kolkata, June 16 (IANS) Sitaram Yechury, chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture, Sunday slammed the Planning Commission for its “pathological compulsion” for Public-Private Partnership (PPP).

Yechury said the obsession with PPP was destroying precious national assets.

“The country is suffering because of the Planning Commission’s pathological compulsion to go PPP. Our ports are being rented out for meagre sums to foreign companies who are exploiting them to gain huge profits,” Yechury said, while speaking at a convention here.

He said the government’s apathy was hurtling the country’s maritime industry towards collapse, as well as facilitating private and foreign capital to take it over.

“The centre has turned ports into rent-earning landlords. It doesn’t intend to earn profits through them, but to allow private capital to loot national assets. This policy is neither acceptable economically nor politically,” said Yechury, also a CPI-M politburo member.

Speaking at the “Save Kolkata Port Convention” organised by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) affiliated labour unions, Yechury accused the Ministry of Shipping of deliberately underutilising funds meant for the development of the ports.

“The ministry has been deliberately underutilising funds meant for the development of the ports. In 2011-12, only around 50 percent of the Rs.2,071.6 crore allocated amount and 60 percent of the planned expenditure was made,” said Yechury.

“There is a need to undertake a holistic approach to resurrect our maritime industry, which is hurtling towards collapse due to government apathy. The centre’s approach, unfortunately, has been to destroy national assets to serve private interests,” he said.

Observing that the Kolkata Port can be turned into an international hub, especially in the wake of the centre’s “Look East Policy”, Yechury urged the government that capital dredging be undertaken to save the riverine port, which could also be made into a deep sea port.

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