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Mixed impact of strike on ports in Mumbai

Neeraj Bansal

Mumbai: Operations at Mumbai Port Trust were completely stopped due to the national strike today, but cargo handling at country’s largest container port JNPT across the harbour was only partially hit as operations continued in its two private terminals.

“Both NSICT-DP World and GTI-APM Terminals are working as normal and the liquid terminal is also unaffected. For the container terminal operated by us, we had prepared a contingency plan and offloaded all the cargo in advance itself,” JNPT chairman Neeraj Bansal told PTI.

He said around 1,400 workers at the port, a majority of them handling operations at its own terminal, have not reported to work today while 300 officers are at port.

The port is hoping that workers will join midway through the second shift, as the single day strike ends, Bansal said, adding that in the worst scenario, he does not expect an impact in cargo handling of over 2,000 standard container units because of the strike.

All-India Ports & Docks Workers Association secretary and Mumbai Port Trust employee Uday Choudhary said a majority of the 12,000 employees at one of the oldest ports in the country have abstained from work, halting operations completely.

No official from MbPT was immediately available for comment.

Choudhary said the port employees are protesting against corporatisation of major ports announced by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the budget, to stop hiring workers on contracts and also for pension benefits.

The two ports handle a sizable component of the country’s export-import trade and serve a big hinterland, stretching up to the national capital region.

Ten central trade unions today went on a day-long nationwide strike to protest against changes in labour laws and privatisation of PSUs, hurting normal life in various parts of the country, including in West Bengal and Kerala. BJP-backed BMS and NFITU however stayed away from the strike.

Trade union leaders claimed that around 15 crore formal sector workers are on strike in support of their 12-point charter of demands.

The day-long strike was seen affecting transport and banking operations among other services.

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