The Times of India – Better facilities in offing for Alang workers

(Written by Premal Balan)

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5 January 2015 - AHMEDABAD: Finally, workers at the world’s largest ship recycling yard in Alang, Bhavnagar, can hope for some achhe din. They will soon hospital facility, a community centre and a school for their children near the ship recycling yard itself.

Besides the labour welfare facilities, the entire ship recycling yard will be upgraded with impervious flooring for all the 167 plots, followed by setting up of dry dock facility, waste oil treatment system and incinerator for disposal of hazardous waste.

The expert appraisal committee (EAC) of the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) recently gave nod for the labour welfare projects and upgradation of recycling yard. The ministry will now, based on the recommendation of the EAC, issued terms of reference for the Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) for the implementation of the projects.

The GMB will in turn provide detailed plans with regard to environment monitoring, management, oil spill contingency and others. GMB has also acquired about 2.42 lakh sq mt land at two places in Alang at nearby Sosiya, where they plan to build facilities like housing complex, hospital and schools for the workers.

According to sources in the GMB, a residential project that could accommodate 1,000 workers was half complete. These are dormitory type accommodation for workers that are likely to be completed in 8-9 months. Based on the experience of this project, more such accommodations could come in Alang, sources said.

Alang is located on the western part of Gulf of Cambay and stretches over 10 km along the coastline, extending about 100 m inland from the shore. At present there are 167 ship recycling plots that are leased out to private entrepreneurs. Since it began operation in 1982, over 6500 vessels have been scrapped in the yard, including warships, tankers and even oil rigs.