Security clearance granted to companies bidding for port projects, and those taking up dredging work in domestic ports, will be valid for five years, according to the new rules framed by the Centre. At present, the clearance is valid for just three years.
For port projects, the Shipping Ministry will share the list of companies/bidders with the Home, Defence and External Affairs Ministries on a case-by-case basis to seek security inputs. The security agencies will provide the inputs in 12 weeks and price bids will not be opened till security clearance is accorded by the Shipping Ministry.
The Shipping Ministry will also separately prepare and circulate a list of all Indian and foreign companies who normally bid for port projects to the security agencies. The agencies will provide their inputs to the ministry in 12 weeks.
Once the Shipping Ministry gives security clearance to a company for a port project — based on inputs from the relevant ministries/departments/organisations — it is valid for five years unless there is a change in management control and change of more than 10 per cent in shareholding in the company by any shareholder.
Security clearance accorded to dredging companies will be valid for five years for a particular port only, according to the revised policy.
Approval for any change in equipment or vessel of foreign origin, and clearance to hire foreign personnel, should be obtained from all security agencies.
If a dredging company that has already been cleared seeks to bid for another port project, it will require clearance only from the Defence Ministry/Navy. However, the information regarding award of the dredging project, including particulars of the vessels and the foreign personnel, should be shared with the Home, External Affairs and Defence Ministries. These provisions have to be incorporated in the contract to be signed by major ports trusts with the selected dredging companies.
As more than one-third of India’s shipping trade takes place through non-major ports, security clearance has been made mandatory for the latter. This includes private ports set up in PPP mode and dredging works in the state sector due to the sensitiveness of the port sector, the Shipping Ministry said.