I submit that UN Special Rapporteur’s assessment reads:”…in India ships are dismantled on beaches, a method commonly referred to as “beaching”. This method of ship dismantling fails to comply with generally accepted norms and standards on environmental protection. Although very little work has been carried out to assess its environmental impact, the dismantling of ships on sandy beaches without any containment other than the hull of the ship itself appears to have caused high levels of contamination of soil, air, and marine and freshwater resources in many South Asian countries, and to have adversely affected the livelihood of local communities surrounding the shipbreaking facilities, which often rely on agriculture and fishing for their subsistence" at page 9 of the report.
I submit that UN Special Rapporteur’s recommends "an independent study be carried out to assess the actual and potential adverse effects caused by the discharge of hazardous substances and materials into the natural environment. Such a study should also assess the steps that need to be taken for the gradual phasing out of “beaching” in favour of more environmentally friendly methods of shipbreaking" at page 21 of the report.
I submit that it has been almost 4 years but nothing has been done to make Alang coastal beach a tourist attraction of international standard. Some 6, 000 end-of-life ships were permitted in the past 30 years ignoring Navel Intelligence reports underlining threat to Alang’s coastal environment.
I submit that Gujarat Government has failed to ensure that the guilty officials and ship breakers are made accountable.
I submit that the recent inspection Supreme Court constituted Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Shipbreaking team took note of non-existent environmental and occupational health infrastructure for the umpteenth time since 2004. It is sad that recommendations of IMC from 2004 to 2014 onwards have not been implemented.
I submit that after each accident and death of workers, inquiry is ordered but their report remains classified and no action has been taken. All the migrant workers who became victims in the fire of October 6, 2012 in Plot no. 82 on Alang beach belonged to Uttar Pradesh. The deceased were identified as Hiralal Chaudhary (28), Ajay Chaudhary (22), Ram Milan (35), Sanjay Yadav (25), Subhash Yadav (28) and Dharmendra Chaudhary. It is not clear whether these workers were adequately compensated. Only a high level probe can bring out the names of the others who are dead but whose whereabouts has not been disclosed so far. The workers who officially died included three from Basti and three from Gorakhpur. The one from Basti include Hiralal, s/o Ram Kishun, village/post Bharapur, Ajay Chaudhary, s/o Satyendra Chaudhary, village-Chakda, Post- Kalwani. Gujarat Government should reveal how they have dealt with the death of these workers and how their families have been compensated and what steps have been taken to prevent loss of human lives due to inhuman lust of ship breakers and global shipping companies for profit.
I submit that at present the migrant workers in Alang who face discrimination for being Hindi and Oriya speaking and are not covered under Employees’ State Insurance Corporation. Workers’ living and working condition remains bad.
I submit that the illegal shipment of hazardous waste "from industrialised countries is being shipped to less developed countries under the listed intention of recycling and reclamation," is a serious problem which has been noted even by INTERPOL. According to Green Customs Initiative, national and international crime syndicates earn 20-30 billion US dollars annually from hazardous wastes dumping, smuggling proscribed hazardous materials. Clearly, environmental crime and escaping of decontamination cost by global shipping companies in collaboration with international recycling industry is a significant and increasingly lucrative business but Gujarat government has turned a blind eye to it.
It appears that the world’s most controversial beach has been colonized by the global shipping companies for good. At present businessmen of dubious shades they are aiding and abetting colonialism by dumping hazardous waste at the behest of shipping companies of imperial powers. The UN report states, "Health facilities in Alang/Sosiya do not possess sufficient human, technical and financial resources to provide any treatment other than first aid for minor injuries. The nearest hospital equipped to deal with life-threatening conditions is in Bhavnagar, more than 50 kilometres away. The Red Cross hospital in Alang, which the Special Rapporteur visited, can count on only four medical doctors and nine beds to provide health care not only to some 30,000 workers in the yards, but also to the neighbouring villages of Alang (which has a population of about 18,000 people) and Sosiya (4,000 people)" on page 14. The regime of blind profit at any cost is ruling the roost on this ecologically fragile beach illustrates how all the efforts by the Supreme Court and UN agencies have been undermined with impunity.
I submit that it is expected that based on lessons from Sachana, Government of Gujarat and Government India would send a categorical message by refusing permission for the proposed ship-breaking facility to the foreign ship owning countries that they should keep their own waste and recycle it. It is proposed near Mundra West Port in Gujarat’s Kachchhh (Kutch) district proposed by Shri Gautam Adani led Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited (APSEZL).
In view of the above, I seek Commission’s urgent intervention to migrant workers and local communities from the hazardous industrial activities on Alang beach that has remained unaddressed so far.