Toxic Trade News / 20 January 2006
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CPM joins anti-Clemenceau bandwagon, seeks PM's intervention
by Newindpress (India)
20 January 2006 (New Delhi) – Amid protests by environmentalist groups, CPM on Thursday sought the intervention of the Prime Minister to prevent dismantling of the French warship 'Clemenceau' in a Gujarat shipyard on the ground that it was carrying heavy load of toxic waste.

Party’s politburo member Brinda Karat conveyed this to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during a meeting with him here.

She also urged the Prime Minister to direct the environment ministry to respect the 'Basel convention' and "…not allow Clemenceau or any other ships-for-scrap to enter India without prior decontamination and notification to that effect."

The meeting comes in the backdrop of Supreme Court disallowing the vessel to be scrapped at the Alang Shipbreaking yard in Gujarat until the customs department clarifies its stand on the controversial issue. The matter has been listed for hearing again on January 20.

Karat said "The Supreme Court order gives the UPA government the opportunity to reconsider and reverse the untenable and indefensible stand taken by the environment ministry on this issue."

The apex court had appointed a committee to go into the matter, which had recommended that the warship carrying asbestos should not be allowed entry into the exclusive economic zone of India, which is 220 nautical miles from the coast.

Joining the environmental groups like Greenpeace, three central trade unions have also urged the Prime Minister to ensure that the French authorities fully decontaminated the aircraft carrier before sending it to India.

The Left-backed AITUC and CITU as also Hind Mazdoor Sabha said countries like Turkey and Greece have refused to grant permission for it to be dismantled on their shores and if India accepted it, New Delhi would not only be acting in violation of Basel convention, but also rendering thousands of ship breaking workers to fall prey to the contamination.

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