Toxic Trade News / 17 February 2006
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Greenpeace hails recall of Clemenceau
by Special Correspondent, The Hindu (India)
17 February 2006 (New Delhi)Upgrade to international standards, the environment group tells Alang ship-breaking industry
  • Create a new model for India-European trade
  • AITUC demands improved facilities at Alang

Describing the recall of the toxic ship Clemenceau as a victory for the environment, Greenpeace on Thursday called upon the Indian ship-breaking industry to take advantage of the opportunity to upgrade it to international standards and in line with national and international laws on human rights and environment.

"We urge the Indian and the French Governments to use the opportunity presented by French President Chirac's visit to create a new model for India-European trade, one that equally emphasises economic benefits, environmental sustainability and human rights, " G. Ananthapadmanabhan, executive director of Greenpeace India told reporters a day after Mr. Chirac recalled the ship.

"The French expressed their concern for Indian environment and worker safety, manifested in their offer to transfer technology to Alang. We expect President Chirac to commit firmly to this offer during his visit to India, " Mr. Ananthapadmanabhan said.

According to Ramapati Kumar, Toxic Campaigner the industry must acknowledge that there was an urgent need for new vision and leadership in Alang. "We have written to the ship-breakers association offering to work closely with them to ensure that Alang becomes the destination of choice for responsible dismantling of end-of-life ships," he said.

Seeking resignation of Union Environment and Forests Minister A. Raja in the wake of the developments, H. Mahadevan of the All-India Trade Union Congress said the union would take steps to ensure that the unorganised workers of Alang were aware of their rights and demand improved facilities from authorities.

Trade unions, Corporate Accountability Desk, The Other Media, and Ban Asbestos India have welcomed the recall of Clemenceau.

While commending the French Court for upholding justice, the organisations came down heavily on the Union Environment and Forests Ministry and the Centre for "blatantly" arguing for the violation of international and national laws by accepting the toxic-laden ship from France.

The Indian authorities failed miserably, Madhumita Dutta of the New Delhi-based Corporate Accountability Desk and The Other Media said.

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