(Written by Adam Halliday)
10 October 2012 - The Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) and the Ship Recycling Industries Association (SRIA) at Alang-Sosiya Ship Recycling Yard have finalised an agreement to build workers’ dormitories at the cost of Rs 18 crore and a 10,000-sqm plot allotted for the first phase that would house up to 1,000 workers. Construction is slated to begin late this year or early next year and completed within 2013 itself.
While the SRIA would build the main structure, the GMB would finance the building of roads, supply of electricity and water and sanitation efforts for the dormitories, said Port Officer Captain Sudhir Chadha, adding that the dormitories would be located nearby an existing training-cum-weekend-entertainment facility for workers.
Currently, a floating population of about 15,000 migrant workers live and rest in badly-built sheds and huts near the ship-recycling plots without even so much as fans. Most can be seen bathing on the double-lane road that runs across the yard each morning, and sanitation remains a major concern.
Although workers are now equipped with personal protective equipment (PPEs) such as jumpsuits, helmets, boots and gloves, officials posted at the yard say the pitiable living conditions may be one reason why most workers stay for just two or three months, resulting in the presence of a huge mass of inexperienced workers at any given time.