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17 November 2013 - Communication sets of vessels being scrapped at Asia’s largest ship breaking yard at Alang in Gujarat need to be destroyed so as to prevent their misuse, an inter-ministerial panel has recommended.
It has also said that the overall security at the yard, which produces 3.5 million tonne of re-roleable steel per year and employs around 50,000 people, be beefed up and the area should have more policemen.
“Keeping in view the number of ships arriving at the port for breaking and the size of the labour force/vendors, etc. visiting Alang ship breaking yard, it is necessary to strengthen the police station by posting additional policemen,” the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on ship breaking has recommended.
Headed by Vinod Kumar Thakral – Additional Secretary and Financial Adviser, Ministry of Steel – the IMC has also recommended that “communication sets of the scrapped ships are required to be destroyed to ensure that these sets are not misused and actually destroyed/disposed of”.
Besides, it said, the use of satellite phones (Thuraya and Iridum) on board ships bound to the port of Alang needs to be monitored closely.
The directions were issued amid concerns that the ship- breaking yard has only one police station headed by a PSI and has only 10-12 policemen.
As per a recent Steel Ministry document, the IMC Chairman also “desired that Directorate of Naval intelligence may write a letter to Home Department of the State Government for strengthening the police station”.
Alang is among the largest, well-established ship recycling yards in the world with 167 plots developed on 10 km long coast. It has breaking capacity of 4 million tonne per annum. The Gujarat Maritime Board regulates the ship breaking activities there.
As many as 1,514 ships were received for breaking up at the Alang yard between 2009-10 and 2012-13, compared to less than 200 ships at Mumbai and Kerala yards.
On the impact of hazardous material during ship breaking on workers, Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma had said in Parliament in August that it is ensured that vessels being brought in are properly decontaminated.
He said that in Alang ship breaking yard some waste material is incinerated, while other is landfilled.