An action committee of people comprising environmentalists and social activists staged a satyagraha in front of the Collectorate here on Saturday, appealing to the State government to take steps for the permanent closure of a ship-breaking unit functioning under the control of the Steel Industries Kerala Ltd. (SILK) at Beypore here.
The protesters alleged that the business was beneficial only to an affluent minority and that it should be stopped permanently, taking into account of the serious environmental pollution and health hazards being faced by hundreds of residents in the coastal area.
The action committee staged the protest claiming that the management of SILK was trying to use influence to secure clearance from the Kerala State Pollution Control Board (PCB) for the permanent operation of the unit.
They also said that the PCB had earlier issued a stop memo to SILK after conducting a field study at the site and finding out the unscientific steps taken to break the ships.
M.K. Manoharan, chairman of the action committee, said the unhealthy business could never be promoted at a prestigious government enterprise like SILK on the Kozhikode coastline.
“The citizens here are well aware that the ship dismantling unit poses a serious health hazard and cause severe environmental pollution, gradually resulting in chronic diseases,” he said.
Mr. Manoharan also maintained that the Satyagraha was a token protest and the people in the region would be compelled to take up indefinite agitation if the government was acting in favour of the unit.
“We will also mobilise the support of all social and environmental organisations to campaign against the venture,” he said.
Social activists D. Surendranath, Civic Chandran, and leaders of various social and environmental organisations took part in the protest.
Source: the hindu. 30 November 2014