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Toxic ship should be kept out of India: SC panel

The decision was taken after the panel gave environmentalists the benefit of doubt, reports Chetan Chauhan.

india Updated: Jan 07, 2006 01:48 IST

Decommissioned French warship Clemenceau, heading to the ship-breaking yard in Alang in Gujarat, will not be allowed to enter Indian waters, the Supreme Court committee on hazardous waste said in Mumbai on Friday.

The decision was taken after the panel, in the absence of sufficient information on the amount of toxic asbestos in the ship, gave environmentalists the benefit of doubt. Greenpeace activists had claimed the ship had 270 tonnes of asbestos that can be dangerous for the workers at the ship-breaking yard.

The Hindustan Times had reported on Thursday that the panel cannot stop the ship under the Indian laws but can use Basel Convention pact, which disallows export of toxic waste. The panel gave the same reason on Friday.

G Thyagarajan, chairman of the panel, said: "India would be a party to violation of the Basel Convention if it allows the ship anywhere near the country."
The panel will review its decision only if any person or country gives additional information on the asbestos within 15 days.

Briac Beilvert, chief executive officer, Ship Decommissioning Industries, which decontaminated the ship in France, had told the panel there was 45 tonnes of asbestos in the ship. Central Pollution Control Board, in its inputs, said Alang does not have infrastructure to treat that amount.

First Published: Jan 07, 2006 00:03 IST