NGT refuses to interfere with clearances to upgrade Alang Sosiya ship recycling yard

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Representative image
Representative image

New Delhi [India], November 28 (ANI): The National Green Tribunal has refused to interfere with the environmental clearance given for the up-gradation of the Alang Sosiya ship recycling yard in Bhavnagar district of Gujarat.

"We do not find any ground to interfere with the impugned EC. However, the project proponent must follow the recommendations in the report of the CSIR - National Institute Of Oceanography," the NGT held in its order dated November 27.

The tribunal was hearing an appeal preferred against the grant of Environmental and Coastal Regulation Zone Clearance by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change vide letter dated November 2, 2016, for the up-gradation of existing ship recycling yard at Alang Sosiya, Gujarat for undertaking safe and environmentally sound ship recycling operations.

The NGT directed the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change to explore further steps for improvement of the environment and public health in the area based on the inputs from the domain experts for which the Ministry may constitute a Committee of domain experts within one month which may give its report within six months.

It said that the strict compliance of environmental norms may be ensured by the concerned regulatory bodies, having regard to adverse impacts of shipbreaking activities, particularly in CRZ. It also directed that apart from other statutory mechanisms, a Ministry nominated Committee may monitor compliance at least twice a year.

The tribunal directed the Committee may inter-alia suggest remedial action with reference to the conclusion in the CSIR-NIO report that the living area of most of the workers is poor and the residential accommodation is insufficient.

"Many yards are to be upgraded to curtail pollution and to enhance security. Further recommendations that upgradation of recycling yards is required and there has to be periodic monitoring of the coastal ecology every year, including marine biodiversity and bioaccumulation of metals in the marine organisms of Alang needs to be followed up," the order said.

The green tribunal also said that any adverse impact on the coastal ecology including subtidal and intertidal should be brought to the notice of the authority concerned so as to take appropriate measures for the future care of this region.

"GMB must oversee and ensure that the ship-recycling operation remains in a safe and environmentally sound manner. Entire operations be supervised by Environmental Professionals of GMB, to be supervised by the Ministry of Shipping, Government of India," it said.

According to the impugned clearance, the existing yard stretches over a length of 10 km of coastline divided into 167 plots which have been leased to private entrepreneurs for ship recycling. It has the capacity to recycle 400 ships per year to recover 4 million tonnes per year of various materials which include over 99 per cent steel.

The environment clearance further mentioned that the cost of the project is Rs 1,630 crores and adequate measures will be taken while handling asbestos.

The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has also filed its affidavit justifying the environment clearance based on the recommendation of the Expert Appraisal Committee and further stating that due process was followed in the grant of EC. (ANI)