Monday, December 2, 2013

All powerful authority to be set up to regulate dry ports

Slug: Final draft of Dry Port Authority Act

The government has finalized the Dry Port Authority Act, which envisages establishment of independent authority that oversees registration, construction and management of dry ports in the country.
With the rising number of dry ports in the country, the the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS) has prepared the draft of the act which will be soon sent to cabinet for approval before it is forwarded to the parliament for endorsement.
In the absence of such authority, Department of Commerce and Supplies Management (DoCSM) and Nepal Intermodal Transport Development Board (NITDB) have been overseeing operation, management and revenue collection from the dry ports.
Existing Multimodal Transportation Act and its regulations have given limited authority to DoCSM to issues licenses to the operators of dry ports while Development Committee Act has also provided authority to NITDB to oversee the management dry ports. The propose Nepal Intermodal Transport Authority—a dry port regulatory body, will end the practice of delegating authority to DoCSM and NITDB to regulate the dry ports.
As they (DoCSM and NITDB) are enjoying limited power to regulate the land ports only. But the new authority envisaged in the act will have also the power to issue licenses to construct new ports as well.  
“However, existing authority resting on DoCSM and NITDB is not sufficient to oversee the dry ports in full-fledged way. The proposed new act has paved the way to establish the Dry Port Authority that hold authority to grant permission to any firm to construct and operate dry ports, fix criteria for service charge in dry ports in the country,” Sarad Bikram Rana, Executive Director of NITDB told Republica on Saturday.
Due to limited authority to DoCSM and NITDB, the government would have to formulate Port Development Act to grant registration, oversee management and collection of revenue from the dry ports if Dry Port Authority Act was not framed.
Purushottam Ojha, former Commerce Secretary said the proposed act will pave the way for establishing the powerful port authority to grant permission for opening new dryport, oversee leasing out process, their operation and maintenance and service charges to be levied by  operating contractors of dry ports.
Different countries including India have already established dry ports regulating authority. Total four dry ports have been operating in Kakarvitta, Biratnagar, Birgunj, and Bhairawa.
A dry port is under construction in Larcha of Sindhupalchowk district under the financial and technical assistance of Chinese government. Similarly, the government is preparing to construct dry port in Dodhara-Chandani area of Far-western region in a bid to boost trade in the most backward region.  

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