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BJP sees red over port privatisation

By Staff
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New Delhi, May 5 (UNI) After itself initiating disinvestment in ports, the BJP is now seeing red after the Dubai Ports, a PSU of Dubai has taken over Australia based P and O, which now controls every major port in the Arabian sea.

A top BJP and a former Union Minister, who did not want to be identified at this stage, said that the acquisition is fraught with national and international security ramifications. India has become a ''laughing stock'' because she has offloaded her shares not to an Indian company but virtually to a ''foreign country'' as Dubai Ports was an autonomous concern of the West Asian country, he said.

''As far as its autonomy was concerned it is as autonomous as Air India and Indian Oil Corporation,'' the BJP leader said.

P and O managed the ports of Navasheva and Chennai ports and has operational control of Colombo port.

Even the United States, privatisation was allowed in the ports sector, did not allowed such divestment for national security reasons and the Bush administration backed out from such deals but it was unfortunate that India had fallen into the trap, the BJP leader regretted.

The BJP-led NDA Government, which privatised the Mumbai and Chennai ports debarred P and O from bidding for Cochin Port on the grounds that they controlled two major ports in the country and with the acquisition the disinvested shares were ultimately picked up by Dubai Ports, which now controls Dubai, Karachi, Mumbai, Cochin, Colombo ports in the Arabian sea and Chennai port operations in the Bay of Bengal.

The issue will figure prominently in Parliament Session beginning from May 10.

UNI MCN/KAS YA VV1945

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