Sachana ship-breaking yard told to fold
The state's forest and environment department has ordered immediate closure of the three-decade-old Sachana ship-breaking yard in Jamnagar, saying it is a part of the Marine National Sanctuary and poses threat to the aquatic flora and fauna there.
Following a meeting on November 22 which was presided over by state forest minister Mangu Patel, the principal secretary of the forest and environment department sent a notice to his counterpart in the ports department.
According to the notice (a copy is with The Indian Express), ship-breaking activity at Sachana port, which ensures an annual turnover of Rs 200 crore for the Gujarat Maritime Board and employs over 5,000 skilled and unskilled labourers, is illegal and harms Marine National Sanctuary spread over 456 square km in Gulf of Kutch near Jamnagar. The release of arsenic, mercury, asbestos and oil pose threat to aquatic fauna and flora, the notice says.
This ship-breaking yard was set up in 1978.
The notice further mentions that this activity needs a permission from Supreme Court and that the GMB should make refunds to those who recently took plots on lease as the area is part of sanctuary. The notice has ordered immediate shutdown of the yard or else GMB officials will be held responsible.
The Marine National Sanctuary is home to octopus, dolphins, jelly, star fish and rare corals.
The forest department has done no survey or reasearch so far to find out the scale of damage to ecology in all these years.
While GMB Chairman B K Sinha, to whom notice has been served, and vice-chairman Pankaj Kumar, did not respond to several calls by The Indian Express, other officials expressed their anger over terming an activity illegal 30 years later.
Though notice was served on November 22, the yard is yet to shut down, with port officer G G Pande saying he is yet to receive a copy of the notice.
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