The cabinet approved on Monday a draft of 'Bangladesh Ship Recycling Act, 2015' with some provisions that include imposition of Tk 3.0 million fine if anyone imports ships for recycling purposes without government permission and establishes shipyard beyond the designated zones, officials said.
"The cabinet has approved the draft 'Bangladesh Ship Recycling Act, 2015' to safeguard environment and health issues of the labourers in the ship-breaking industry," cabinet secretary Muhammad Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan told journalists after the weekly cabinet meeting at Bangladesh Secretariat.
He said if anyone imports ship for recycling purposes without government permission or build shipyard beyond the designated zone, he/ she will be fined between Tk 1.0 million and Tk 3.0 million or one-year jail or both.
He said the draft law also proposed formation of a regulatory authority to be called 'Bangladesh Ship Recycling Board' aiming to limit the fast-growing industry to a designated area considering environmental hazards. Besides, it will regulate the sector's activities.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina presided over the meeting at the Cabinet Division of the Secretariat.
The cabinet secretary said to protect the environment, the draft law suggests to establish shipyard zone in separate places (designated zones).
None will be allowed to build shipyard outside the places earmarked by the authority. If anyone builds shipyard outside the designated zone then he/she will have to pay between Tk 1.0 million and Tk 3.0 million fine or face one-year imprisonment or both, the draft law suggested.
If anyone involved in the sector gives false statement to the government for getting no objection certificate (NOC), then he/she will have to pay fine between Tk 0.5 million and Tk 2.0 million or six months jail or both.
Mr Bhuiyan said there were rules for the industry following the High Court observation in 2011.
Previously, it was called ship-breaking but now it will be termed ship-recycling, a sector that enormously plays a vital role in supplying raw materials to steel mills. The proposed law will ensure coastal areas' environment and waste management.
The Ministry of Industries (MoI) placed the draft law to the council of ministers. The ship- breaking matter was dealt with separately by the ministries of environment, commerce and industries.
The cabinet secretary said the draft law proposed formation of a board to monitor the overall activities of the sector. An additional secretary of the Ministry of Industries will be chairman of the board. Besides, there will be members and experts from different ministries and departments concerned.
Mr Bhuiyan said the approved draft law will now be sent to the Ministry of Law for vetting. After that, it will come again to the cabinet for final approval. And then it will go to the parliament for passage.
The proposed draft, once coming into effect after completing all necessary formalities, will guide all ministries concerned to work concertedly on ship-recycling issue.
The ship-breaking industry, a flourishing and promising sector in the country, plays a significant role in alleviating poverty and contributing to growth of the national economy. The sector is mainly concentrated at Sitakundu in Chittagong helping many people earn their livelihood.
A strong workforce numbering between 2,00,000 to 2,50,000 is now directly and one to two million people are indirectly involved in the sector. The government gets revenue between Tk 6.0 billion and Tk 7.0 billion annually, according the insiders of the sector.
The council of ministers also approved the draft "Petroleum Act, 2015".
It will now go the Ministry of Law for vetting to regulate import, storage and transportation of petroleum more efficiently through making the existing law a time-befitting one.
Mr Bhuiyan said the energy and mineral resources division placed the draft Act in Bangla in line with the earlier cabinet decision after necessary review and updating the Petroleum Act, 1934 and the Petroleum Amendment Ordinance, 1986.
He said the proposed law kept a provision of raising punishment for violating the rules under the law, including petroleum production, refining, mixing, recycling or reusing.
The cabinet secretary said in case of denial in providing information by the authorities concerned about any accident under the Section 24 (1. Cha) of the draft law, punishment has been raised to six months' jail or Tk 10,000 fine or both.
He said the authorised officers will also be able to conduct search or seize dubious things during petroleum production, distribution and transportation.
"The draft law also categorised petroleum in three classes -- class one, class two and class three -- considering their heating value," he said.
He said a provision has been made under the rules of the proposed law to regulate the issues relating to petroleum import, storage and movement.
He said rules would also have to be followed under the law on petroleum production, mixing, refining, recycling and reuse.
"Caution sign or note will have to be displayed on petroleum containers, while the authorised officers have been empowered to collect petroleum specimen and issue monitoring certificates," Mr Bhuiyan said.
The council of ministers also reviewed the implementation progress of its decisions for the 2nd quarter (April-June) period of 2015. The rate of success was 64.71 per cent compared to 55.93 per cent of the corresponding period of the previous year.
From April 01 to June 30, 2015 there were 13 cabinet meetings that took 68 decisions. Of these, 44 were implemented while 24 are now being implemented. It also approved two action plans/ strategies and nine memoranda of understanding and enacted three laws in the parliament.
It was also apprised about the finance minister's participation in the international conference for earthquake rehabilitation efforts in Nepal in Kathmandu on June 25 last, participation of Bangladesh delegations to UN ESCAP May 25-29 last in Bangkok, Thailand and 104th International Labour Conference in Geneva, Switzerland and Fourth Vienna Energy Forum (VEF) 2015 in Vienna, Switzerland.
Source: the financial express. 28 July 2015