22 November 2014

Gujarat HC asks Centre to file reply to PIL on Alang shipbreaking yard:

AHMEDABAD: Gujarat high court pulled up the Centre for not replying to court notice over poor work condition of thousands of labourers, pollution and coastal security at the Aland-Sosiya ship-breaking yard.

The HC had issued notice in April to all concerned authorities in response to a PIL filed through advocate Jaysinh Jadeja. The PIL demanded directions to authorities to improve workers' conditions, to make medical facilities available in the ship-breaking yard, to reduce pollution and increase security. The Centre did not reply to the HC Notice saying that the yard was managed by the Ministry of Steel between 2005 and 2013, and now it is the Ministry of Shipping looks after the affairs of the yard.

Acting Chief Justice V M Sahai expressed displeasure on the Centre's mum over the issue and the court asked it to file a reply to the PIL as a last chance. Further hearing is now kept on January 7, 2015.

The PIL has submitted before the court that the ship breaking yard in Alang started three decades ago and now it is one of the largest yards in the world, but it terribly lacks basic facilities for workers. It sought court's instructions to the association and the authorities to ensure proper medical and accommodation facilities for the poor workers. The nearest full-fledged hospital is 50 kilometre away from the ship-breaking yard. Petitioner's counsel Jaysinh Jadeja contended that emergency medical treatment, sanitation facilities are guaranteed under the Inter State Migrant Workmen (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act.

Nearly 20,000 migrant workers work here and engaged in hazardous activities, and proper care must be taken of their health and safety. The PIL has quoted the Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Human Rights Council, Okechukwu Ibeanu, who visited Alang and said, "I am shocked by extremely poor conditions in which most workers live in Alang."

Source: times of india. 21 November 2014

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