Row over fertilizers handling at port unresolved

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Kakinada, Oct 27 (UNI) The row over handling of fertilizers between two ports-- Anchorage and Deep Water-- remained unresolved here today despite conciliatory efforts made by the Port authorities.

Official sources said initially the Anchorage workers had agreed to divert the fertilizers to Deep Water, but later demanded Rs 15 per tonne. The shipping agents, however, offered to pay Rs 12 as against Rs seven now and expressed their inability to hike further.

Recently, Director of State, Ports and Special Secretary to Ports K V Brahmannada Reddy, tried to evolve a consensus, but could not succeed.

The rivalry between port union workers had aggrevated the problem, as the Deep Water workers were insisting on a major share in the work while the Anchorage workers were firm that they alone be entrusted with the discharge of fertilizers at the Deep water port.

The entry of another union known as Beedipalem Port Workers Union, staking claim for work in the port and demanding the due share on the ground of being the oldest Union, had brought a new dimension to the affair.

Mr Brahmananda Reddy had assured the workers that diversion of fertilizers to Deep Water was a temporary affair and would be restored to Anchorage soon after the fertilizers demand eased and even had advised them to view things in long term perspective, taking into cosideration the emergence of new ports at Gangavaram, Krishnapatanam, Machilipatnam and Vodalarevu.

With the failure of the conciliatory efforts, the venue of further talks was being shifted to Hyderabad for high level mediation.

Talking to mediapersons here, president of the HMS led Port cargo boats and steel barge workers union said they were assured by the Director of State Ports that talks would be held at Hyderabad in the presence of Minister.

Meanwhile, the Steel Barge Owners Welfare Association sought court's intervention in restraining the authorities from diverting the fertilizer imports to Deep Water port, thus giving a new twist to the episode.

The Kakinada Sea Ports Limited (KSPL) which is operating Deep Water port on privatisation said it has no role to play in the issue as the matter has to be sorted out amicably by both the workers and the shipping agents across the table.


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