Tuesday, 31 January 2012
And here's a bit of a light-hearted piece by me for the Times of India on the subject of shippies, climate change, alcohol, mosquitoes and more. Including CoC . . .
Sunday, 29 January 2012
This press release says it all. Kind of proud to have been a small part here. The big part is that the champions from DG Shipping and MMD will be kept as far away as possible from this once the rules have been set. Wonderful, overall, next step - coastal shipping . . . and the big boost to East and North East India, long awaited.
|PM fast tracks move on private sector investment in Inland Waterway Transport|
|The Prime Minister has initiated a move to fast track the development and use of Inland Waterways Transport involving the private sector and Public Sector Undertakings. The initiative will harness huge potential of inland waterways in transporting bulk cargo like coal, food grains, fertilizers, project cargo, fly ash, Over Dimensional Cargo and containers at competitive cost for the public and private sector companies. Adequate use of waterways will also ease the burden on rail and road infrastructure.|
At a meeting of the inter-ministerial coordination committee Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister informed that a tripartite agreement signed between the National Thermal Power Corporation, Inland Waterways Authority of India and a private developer has led to competitive transportation rates for the NTPC while private sector investment of about Rs 650 crore has been committed. This agreement relates to the Farakka Power Project.
The following decisions were also agreed upon in the meeting:
NTPC will provide long term cargo commitment for 3 million metric tons of coal for Barh power project once all its five units are operational by 2016-17.
The execution of Coal handling facility at Jogighopa and rail connectivity will be taken up under the Non Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR) scheme.
Food Corporation of India will expeditiously provide long term cargo commitment for 3 years for transportation of foodgrains to Tripura and Assam from Kolkata and within Assam.
MEA will try to extend the period of Trade and Transit Protocol beyond March 2012 when it comes for renewal to provide longer certainty to vessel operators. Further, efforts shall be made for early completion of Ashuganj multi-modal port by Bangladesh and its regular use as a transit port.
Ministry of Shipping will consider providing additional money, if need be, to ensure night navigation facilities on Indo-Bangladesh Protocol route.
ONGC and Oil India will convey a firm commitment of cargo through IWT in two weeks to IWAI.
CONCOR will provide firm commitment for transportation of part of their container cargo from Pandu through IWT.
The progress on these decisions will be reviewed in two months time by the Principal Secretary to PM.
India Maritime Week was held in Delhi from the 17th through 21st of January 2012. Organised by Gateway Media of Singapore and Hyderabad. Here's my report, as carried first at MoneyLife:-
The deeper message from the India Maritime Week
January 28, 2012 08:20 AM |
Monday, 23 January 2012
Most of the articles on the subject of the sinking after the absolutely rash behaviour of the ship and people onboard the Costa Concordia seem to focus on the navigational and behavioural aspects of the whole episode. However, there are other issues of ship design, stability, documentation, alcohol onboard and more, which also need to be fleshed out.
Here's the first article by me on the subject.
Costa Concordia capsizing— and how it impacts India...
January 18, 2012 08:31 AM |
January 18, 2012 08:31 AM |
Monday, 16 January 2012
Here's an interesting little episode - the land on which the Taj Mahal Hotel stands, all of it and some more nearby, is rented out to Indian Hotels (the Tata company that owns the Taj brand of hotels) for all of 13 lakhs a year.
Now, what happens is that in the larger public interest, somebody wants to know how and why this is happening, after all, why not put the property to open auction?
The Mumbai Port Trust, which otherwise seeks central funds for expansion, will not ask its tenants to increase rentals!!
CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
B- Wing, 2nd Floor,
August Kranti Bhavan, Bhikaji Cama Place,
New Delhi - 110066
PARTIES TO THE CASES:
Appellant : Shri Vikas Patel (present in person)
Respondent : Deputy Estate Manager, General Administrative Department,
Mumbai Port Trust, Mumbai (represented through Shri K.L. Sache, Dy.
Estate Manager, Mumbai Port Trust)
Date of Hearing : 26/09/2011
1. The Appellant vide his RTI Application dated 27/10/2010 had sought
the photocopies of Lease Agreement executed between the Taj Mahal
Palace (“Taj Hotel”) situated at Apollo Bunder, Mumbai – 400 001 and
the Mumbai Port Trust (“MbPT”) along with all such Lease Renewal
Agreements which were executed subsequently between the said parties.
2. The CPIO of the Respondent authority vide his Order dated
09/11/2010 denied the above sought information under Section 8 (1) (e)
of the RTI Act. Aggrieved henceforth, the Appellant preferred first
appeal dated 07/12/2010 to the FAA of the Respondent authority. The
FAA dismissed the said first 1Appeal Nos.CIC/SS/A/2011/
vide his Order dated 19/01/2011 and held that MbPT has a fiduciary
relationship with its lessees and as such, the copies of the lease
agreement cannot be provided to the Appellant. The FAA further held
that there was no larger public interest involved in disclosing such
information and therefore, upheld the Order of the CPIO.
3. The Appellant has thereafter approached this Commission in second
appeal. The Commission has duly considered the submissions made by
both the parties and has perused through the material placed on
4. The MbPT is constituted by the Major Port Trusts Act, 1963 (“MPT
Act”) enacted by the Parliament and the Preamble thereof reads as
follows: “An Act to make provision for the constitution of port
authorities for certain major ports in India and to vest the
administration, control and management of such ports in such
authorities and for matters connected therewith.”
For each major port trust established by the MPT Act, such as the
MbPT, the Central Government has constituted a Board of Trustees for
such major port under Section 3 of the MPT Act. One of the many powers
exercised by the said Board of Trustees under the MPT Act is stated in
Section 49 (3) of the said Act and reads as follows: “(3)
Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), the Board may,
by auction or by inviting tenders, lease any land or shed belonging to
it or in its possession or occupation at a rate higher than that
provided under sub-section (1).” 2Appeal Nos.CIC/SS/A/2011/
Section 57 of the MPT Act states that the Board of Trustees shall not
lease, farm, sell or alienate any power vested in it under the MPT Act
of levying rates without the prior sanction of Central Government.
In light of the afore-quoted provisions of the MPT Act, it becomes
clear that the power vested in the Board of Trustees of the MbPT to
execute lease agreement is a statutory power which cannot be exercised
without prior sanction of Central Government. The lease agreement
entered into between the MbPT and the Taj Hotel, therefore, cannot be
termed as being such information which is held by the MbPT in the
capacity of a fiduciary under Section 8 (1) (e) of the RTI Act.
5. It is apposite to mention the following excerpt from the decision
of the Hon’ble Kerala High Court in the case of ‘Treesa Irish vs
Central Information Commission’ [ILR 2010 (3) Kerala892]: “16. […] it
is clear that 'fiduciary relationship', although arises out of a
transaction involving trust between two parties, it requires something
more than mere trust to make the relationship fiduciary. It also
cannot be equated with mere privacy or confidentiality. At the heart
of fiduciary relationship lie reliance, de facto control and
dominance. A fiduciary relationship exists when confidence is reposed
on one side and there is resulting superiority and influence on the
other. The Canadian Courts have developed the following tests for
determining whether fiduciary relationship has been established, viz.
a) The fiduciary has the scope for the exercise of some discretion or power;
b) The fiduciary can unilaterally exercise that power or discretion so
as to affect the beneficiary's legal or practical interests; and
c) The beneficiary is peculiarly vulnerable to or at the mercy of the
fiduciary holding the discretion or power.
Based on the legal principles arising from the above discussion, I am
inclined to add one more to the same viz.
d) The fiduciary is obliged to protect the interests of the other party.
From the material available on the subject, I am satisfied that those
tests can be applied for deciding the question as to whether there is
fiduciary relationship between two parties.”
6. Clearly, the features of a fiduciary relationship, as observed by
the Hon’ble High Court (supra), are missing in a lease agreement
entered into between MbPT as an exercise of a statutory power under
the MPT Act, with the Taj Hotel. Therefore, there is no merit in the
reasoning given by the FAA of the Respondent authority in this regard.
7. The Commission hereby directs the CPIO of the Respondent authority
to provide the information sought by the Appellant herein, i.e.
photocppies of the lease agreement entered into between the MbPT and
the Taj Hotel, Mumbai along with any subsequent renewal agreements
thereto, to the 4Appeal Nos.CIC/SS/A/2011/
days of receipt of this Order.
The Appeal is accordingly allowed.
Authenticated True Copies
Name & Address of Parties:
Sh. Vikas Patel,
Plot No. 31, Sector No. 9,
Above Central Bank of India,
Gandhidham – 370 201, Kutch –
Southern Division, Estate
Mumbai Port Trust, “Vijaydeep”
Shoorji Vallabhdas Marg,
The Appellate Authority/
Mumbai Port Trust, O/o
2nd Floor, S.V. Marg, Ballard