Parliamentary panel favours five maritime universities

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New Delhi, Apr 17 (UNI) Strongly disagreeing with the Shipping Ministry, a parliamentary committee has observed that the existing bill to set up a Maritime University in Chennai was ''not sufficient'' and five such universities be set up in the country in view of the increasing demand for skilled maritime human resources in the domestic and global markets.

The report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on The Indian Martitime University Bill, 2007, which was tabled in the Rajya Sabha today, favours setting up of five full-fledged Maritime Universities in Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Kochi and Visakhapatnam.

The bill, which was introduced in Parliament by Shipping Minister T R Baalu in April this year, envisages setting up of just one Maritime University in Chennai, with its campuses at Mumbai, Kolkata and Visakhapatnam.

The proposed bill could not be taken up for a discussion in Parliament in the face of strong opposition from the Left members, who demanded that a Maritime University should also be established in Kolkata.

CPM leader Sitaram Yechury, Chairman of the Standing Committee who presented the report in the House, later told reporters that the existing bill was not sufficient in achieving its desired objectives of providing education, training and research to meet the growing demand of maritime human resources in the domestic and global markets.

Mr Yechury said the government should bring in a new comprehensive bill in Parliament for the creation of five maritime universities.

He said the need for augmenting trained maritime manpower was buttressed by the fact that the sector had been witnessing an annual growth of 20 per cent.

''There is a need to augment the training capacity and capabilities in the country to meet the projected global shortage of 27,000 maritime officers by 2015 and achieve the share of India in the world martime manpower fleet from the current six per cent to at least 20 per cent,'' he added.

In view of the geographical spread of India and the vastness of the maritime activity going on in the country, he said there was an imperative need for a large number of institutions imparting education, research and training in various fields of maritime and marine activities.

''The committee is not convinced about the reasons for establishing a single university for the entire country when other countries such as Japan, Vietnam, Poland, Turkey, Ukraine, Russia, China, among others. are having more than one martitime university to their credit,'' he pointed out.

He said the committee also felt that availability of land should not be the sole criterion for establishing a university. ''...the existence of established institutions imparting training in the field and the other maritime infrastructure available may also be taken into account.'' In case of proposed university at Kolkata, he said the Indian Institute of Port Management (IIPM) should also be integrated with it.

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