The ongoing impasse between Vizag- based and listed public sector company, Dredging Corporation of India (DCI) and its employees is likely to escalate into a major standoff between Indian seafarers and government of India as the country’s top shipping unions, National Union of Seafarers of India (NUSI) and the Maritime Union of India (MUI), are planning a nationwide agitation to oppose privatisation plans.
Abdulgani Serang, general secretary, NUSI, said: “Since its inception in 1976, DCI continues to serve Indian ports at low margins and also executes dredging contracts on behalf of Indian Navy. DCI is thus privy to vital and sensitive defense related information. Privatising profit-making DCI is hence not in the interest of nation’s interest.” Amar Singh Thakur, general secretary of MUI, said: “Liquidating a majority stake of DCI in favour of private players will be a huge blow to the country’s exchequer as dredging charges might shoot up phenomenally. Also, vital marine installations at Indian ports will be exposed to a foreign workforce employed for dredging activities by private players.”