New Delhi, Dec 3: The Lok Sabha on Tuesday took up the bill that seeks to set up a monitoring body to ensure that recycling centres are in compliance with the Hong Kong Convention.
Piloting the Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019, Minister for State (Independent Charge) Mansukh Mandaviya said India had already done a lot of work towards raising standards followed at the ship-breaking yards.
More than 70 of the 131 plots, or breaking yards at Alang in Gujarat, have already conformed to the Hong Kong Convention, he said.
The Minister said around 800 vessels are sent for breaking every year around the world. India accounts for around 30 percent of that work, with an average 250 ships recycled majorly at the centre in Alang.
Apart from Bhavnagar in Gujarat, ships are broken and recycled at ports in Kolkata, Mumbai and in Kerala.
This is an important industry, the Minister said, adding that 10 percent of total steel India gets is from recycling of ships. Initiating the debate, Congress member Hibi Eden opposed the Bill, saying it was 'unwanted, untimely and unethical'. Why is the Parliament going into the Bill, which has environment aspects and affects the aquatic life also, he asked.
He questioned the hurry' in taking up the bill as the Hong Kong Convention will come into effect after only two years. The lawmaker from Kerala said ship breaking industry, as it is known normally, is considered as hell on earth for its health hazards, chemicals brought by ships thus affecting the marine and aquatic life. The aquatic ecosystem will be disturbed and the fishermen community will suffer a huge loss, the Congress member said, listing the setbacks from ship breaking.
'The fishermen community will be the worst-affected. The water bodies will be polluted,' he maintained.
Pakistan, China and Bangladesh stand to benefit by this bill as they are still watching from the sidelines, Mr Eden noted. (UNI)