The New Indian Express – Collector to Issue Stop Memo to SILK Ship-breaking Unit

(Written by Sucheth P R)

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22 July 2014 - KANNUR: District Collector P Balakiran has decided to issue stop memo to the ship-breaking unit of the Steel Industrials Kerala Ltd (SILK) for failing to produce the licences issued by the Pollution Control Board (PCB) and the local body.

The decision was taken as the ultimatum given to the SILK unit ended on Monday. The Collector told ‘Express’ that he could not protract a decision on the matter as the ship-breaking unit had put people’s lives in danger. “The SILK officials had held talks with the Industries Minister and the management had demanded two months’ time to obtain the licenses, to which we had agreed. They have failed to produce the licences,” he said.

‘Express’ had given extensive coverage to the issue and the protests launched by the people of Azhikkal under the banner of the Kappalppoli Virudha Samithi (Committee against Ship-breaking). The protesters alleged that the vessel dismantling unit flouted all safety and environmental norms stipulated by the United Nations and international agencies. Greenpeace had warned in 2003 that the ship-breaking unit at Azhikkal was going to be as dangerous as that in the yards at Alang in Gujarat, the world’s largest such unit.

The Collector said the PCB environmental engineer met him and made it clear that the board was not in a position to issue licence to the SILK. “The PCB officials in Kannur forwarded a report to the PCB headquarters as they needed further clarification. Hence it was clear that the issuing of licence may take more time,” he said.