25 September 2014 – An environmentalist attached to the action council said they would seek the support of leading social activist Medha Patkar.
An action council of people constituted to campaign against ship-breaking activities in the State has decided to turn its focus on Beypore, where a unit of Steel Industries Kerala Limited (SILK) is going to dismantle Asian King, an old Japan-made oil tanker ship, which was bought to the breaking yard on Tuesday by a Tuticorin-based steel company.
Action council leaders, who were so far concentrating on the closure of the Azhikkal ship-breaking unit, said that they would launch an indefinite protest against SILK at Beypore till it withdrew from the move.
“We have already enlisted the support of leading environmental organisations, fishermen’s unions and human rights organisations to sensitise people to the issue and stop the highly polluting attempt,” they said.
Rajesh Warier, convener of the action council, said the Kerala State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) had already made it clear that it would not approve any more ship-breaking ventures in the State.
“If SILK is facilitating such a venture, it will be a clear violation of all the standing orders, including a recent verdict from the Supreme Court,” he said.
Mr. Warier said that the action council leaders would meet District Collector C.A. Latha urging her to issue a stop memo against the ship dismantling project as it was “initiated illegally and will cause serious pollution problems and health hazards to the residents.” He said that in case of any delay in action, the council would launch strong protests by interrupting the work.
An environmentalist attached to the action council said they would seek the support of leading social activist Medha Patkar.
“She is expected to attend a convention in Kannur district on October 22 and we will invite her to Beypore for strengthening our agitation,” he said.
The dismantling of the 35-year-old ship would begin at SILK yard in two weeks. “The verification of all the records related to the ship and its crew has been completed and there are no technical hurdles to stop the process,” they said.