Times of India – Alang worker’s death: Environment activist writes to Modi

(Written by Ankur Jain)

3 November 2012 - AHMEDABAD: Expressing concerns over working conditions at Alang ship-breaking yard,  Toxics Watch Alliance (TWA) convener,  Gopal Krishna has written a letter to chief minister  Narendra Modi.

Krishna’s letter comes days after six workers were burnt to death while dismantling a ship at Alang. Another worker injured during the incident succumbed to death last week.

The letter says, “During your tenure from 2001 to 2012, there have been at least 173 deaths (of workers at Alang) without anyone being made accountable or liable. The migrant workers, mostly non-Gujaratis, who are routinely dying on Alang beach do not appear to be your concern.”

The activists has said that these occupational deaths routinely happen at Alang and nothing been done to save the lives of these workers. “Government has failed to ensure that the guilty officials and ship breakers are made accountable. In the context of the recent deaths if you were sensitive you would have ensured that no deaths happen in future by re-opening the old cases of occupational deaths on the Alang beach to set matters right,” he says in the letter. He says that in 2011 alone, 27 workers died in ship-breaking activities at Alang beach.

“Migrant casual workers live and work in a slave like condition. A UN report states that health facilities in Alang/Sosiya do not possess sufficient human, technical and financial resources to provide any treatment other than first aid for minor injuries. The nearest equipped hospital is in Bhavnagar, 50 kms away,” the letter says