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'Clemenceau to return if denied permission'

France suggested the move could affect improvement of "standards" of ship-breaking industry in Alang.

india Updated: Feb 12, 2006 13:38 IST

Rejecting as "ridiculous" and "distorted" the controversy over its warship Le Clemenceau heading for Gujarat for dismantling, France has said the ship would return if denied permission.

France suggested the move could affect improvement of "standards" of ship-breaking industry in Alang.

On the eve of the Supreme Court hearing on the issue, French Ambassador Dominique Girard asserted that the ship contained much less asbestos (toxic waste) than has been projected by the critics but if Indian government and the apex court wanted, Paris was ready to take back the waste.

The entry of the decommissioned warship into India has been barred till Monday by the Supreme Court, which on January 16 said it would not allow the vessel to be scrapped in Gujarat until the Customs Department clarifies its stand on the controversial issue.

"We do not want pollution of Indian water," the court had observed, adding, "Ultimately, if we decide against, they (Clemenceau) have to go back." The ship is at present anchored at Tgiduti Bay in Arabian Sea.

Pitching for the ship's entry days after his visit to ship-breaking site Alang in Gujarat, Girard said the whole issue has been "blown out of proportion" and rejected the charge that ship was heading here to dump waste.

"It (charge that the ship will dump waste) is ridiculous. We are bringing the ship that will be recycled here, we are bringing steel to this country," he said in an interview, part of which was issued on Friday last.

First Published: Feb 12, 2006 11:39 IST