November 28, 2020 6:06:40 pm
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) on Friday refused to interfere with an environment clearance (EC) given by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) in 2016 for the “upgradation of the existing ship recycling yard at Alang Sosiya, Gujarat, for undertaking safe and environmentally sound ship recycling operations by the Gujarat Maritime Board”.
The EC was challenged by Conservation Action Trust, a Mumbai-based non-profit organisation, saying the expansion of the ship-breaking yard by “beaching method” was regarded “unsafe and environmentally polluting”.
GMB and MoEFCC had submitted that due process was followed and beaching method is the only one used in India and neighbouring countries as well “and if this method is not to be followed, there will be no ship breaking activity in India, depriving the country of an important business activity and rendering a large labour force unemployed”.
The NGT bench, primarily relying on the submissions of the respondents, observed that the “project provides for upgradation and improvement in the present activities that have been going on since 1982”.
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The NGT, in its order, also noted that the beaching method must be used by “applying requisite safeguards for protection of environment and public health” and that the same must be “closely monitored” by regulatory bodies concerned.
The four-member bench, while disposing of the trust’s appeal, added, “GMB must oversee and ensure that the ship-recycling operation remains safe… supervised by environmental professionals of GMB…, Ministry of Shipping… strict compliance of environmental norms may be ensured…”
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