New Delhi (Agencies): Wanting to end the monopoly of state owned DCI in the sphere of underground excavation in the marine sector, government on Monday said it is preparing a policy to bring in private players.

"Dredging Corporation of India (DCI) will have to compete like other firms...they cannot be in protection mode all the time," a Shipping Ministry official told the press.

"Draft note on the Dredging Policy has been would go to the Cabinet next month," the official said.

The DCI has now even executed assignments overseas and therefore it can handle competition, the official said.

Shipping Minister G K Vasan, while unveiling the new Maritime Agenda 2010-2020, last month, had said the government's plan initiatives included formulating a new Dredging Policy, promoting coastal shipping and increasing the share of Indian ships in country's trade.

As per the existing Dredging Policy 2007, all major ports invite open competitive bids for dredging works with the DCI having the first right of refusal if the rate is within 10
per cent of the lowest valid offer. This would apply to both maintenance and capital dredging works.

The government through the Department of Shipping reserves the right to assign, in public interest, any contract for dredging work in any of the major ports to DCI on nomination.

Visakhapatnam based DCI is engaged in dredging activities  and provides its services in the areas of Environmental Protection, Tourism, Flood Control, Irrigation, Power Generation, Port development, Mining, Reclamation, Laying of Off-shore Pipelines, among other things.