The labourers deployed at the Mangalore port were earning around Rs 2.5 lakh a month reportedly as a part of an arrangement between the port trust and the labour union to allow mechanisation.
The matter came to light after the traders told Mangalore Port chairman M T Krishna Babu that they were shifting to other ports because of the exorbitant payment to the labourers.
Ten labourers were deployed in each shift with each crane, a practice know as "notional booking", even if there is no work, the report added.
The labourers, who got anywhere between Rs 60,000-80,000 as monthly salaries, used to get Rs 3 for loading and unloading each tonne of cargo as incentive. Babu held a meeting with the labour union and told them to stop the practice
“This was nothing but speed money. I held a meeting with the labour union and different groups to convince them that we need to stop this practice for the betterment of the port. We gave 15 days’ time to the labourers to fall in line and from August 1, we stopped this practice,” quoted Babu.
Taking note of the incident, the shipping ministry has asked all the ports to check for such practices.