(Written by Mohamed Nazeer)
23 July 2014 - While the District Collector’s order to stop the ship-breaking operations of Steel Industries Kerala Limited (SILK) at Azhikkal is seen as a victory for the local action committee, which had spearheaded the agitation demanding the termination of the ship-for-scrap work, SILK authorities hope that the unit will be able to resume the operations as soon as it receives clearance from the Pollution Control Board (PCB).
The Collector’s order was hailed by the action committee which had been alleging that the work was causing environmental and health hazards in the area. The committee also charged the public sector company of operating without any clearance from the PCB and the local panchayat.
The SILK authorities, however, said that they had not received any order from the Collector till late in the evening on July 21.
Meanwhile, the present operations at the unit were stopped following protests from the local action committee on Tuesday morning.
Action committee members took out a demonstration from the unit to nearby Vankulathuvayal demanding steps to persuade SILK to pay compensation to people who suffered health problems because of the ship-breaking operations.
M.K. Manoharan, chairman of the action committee, also demanded an independent inquiry into the financial transactions of SILK. He also said that the proposed Maritime Technology Institute be set up on the site.
SILK managing director A. Aubid, when contacted, said that he was hopeful that the unit would get the necessary clearance from the PCB.
He said that the Azhikkal unit had implemented all the nine pollution control measures as stipulated at the meeting convened by District Collector P. Bala Kiran.
The measures include water spraying, covered yard for ship-breaking works, shed for storing materials and cleaning the entire yard of the unit.