Lok Sabha today passed the Recycling of Ships Bill 2019. The bill was passed after the Minister of State for Shipping (Independent Charge) Mansukh L. Mandaviya assured the House that it will pave way for streamlining the already existing ship breaking industry and also help the country obtain eco-friendly steel. He also assured the House that in the process, it will be asserted that India is not a place for dumping. Minister also assured the House, that all safety measures will be stringently followed as per the Hong Kong Convention.
Earlier participating in the discussion on the bill, members cutting across the party line cautioned the government on the environmental and Occupational hazards of the ship breaking industry. Opposition members cautioned that the country is not for dumping.
The House considered the bill moved by the MoS Shipping (Independent Charge) Mansukh L. Mandaviya. He said that the bill is aimed to provide for the regulation of recycling of ships by setting certain standards and laying down the statutory mechanism for enforcement of such standards. The Minister said that India accounts for 30 per cent of the ship breaking industry in the world. Citing that it as a labour-intensive industry, the bill aims at regulating the industry so that it complies with the Hong Kong convention.
Participating in the discussion, Congress member for Ernakulam of Kerala, Hibi Eden wanted to know the urgency of the government in introducing the bill, as the Hong Kong convention itself is yet to come into force. Elaborating upon the environmental hazards this industry poses, he said that Ship breaking industry can be dubbed as hell on earth. He also cautioned upon haste deployment of the convention, as many countries have not adopted the Hong Kong Convention and are adopting their own rules.
Supriya Sule of NCP insisted upon framing rules for the protection of Labourers, and cautioned that India cannot be made a dumping ground.
BSP member, Kunwar Danish Ali said that the employment opportunity that this industry provides should not compromise on their safety. He also warned that developed countries don’t want to keep hazardous chemicals with themselves, send it to countries like India to dump it.
Congress member Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury said that the proposed bill gives excessive power to the central government. He reminded the house that, according to the Basel Convention, old ships are classified as toxic waste, and we cannot afford our country to be a toxic waste. He insisted on the mentioning of fatalities compensation.
Answering the members, Minister Mr. Mansukh Mandaviya said that our shipyards are already at par with the provisions of the Hong Kong convention, and this bill will pave way for further strengthening of the industry. Thanking the members for healthy discussion, assured the house that the interest of the nation will never be compromised.