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Central team probes 'radioactive' ship at Guj port

October 19, 2009 16:25 IST

A central team on Monday began a probe into allegations that a radioactive contaminated United States ship has been anchored at the Alang coast in Gujarat, even as non-governmental organisations demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation into the matter.

The three-member team comprising an official each from the Central Pollution Control Board, the Steel Ministry and the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board will submit its report by the end of the week.

"A CPCB official from our Zonal office in Baroda is part of the team on behalf of the environment ministry. The team will submit the report by October 23," a senior official from the ministry said.

The team has been constituted after Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh took cognisance of the complaints that a radioactive contaminated ship has anchored off Alang, threatening the fragile coastal region as well as the health of the workers.

Meanwhile, a coalition of NGOs, Indian Platform on Ship-breaking, which had brought to the ministry's notice the alleged violation of environmental laws by the ship, has sought a CBI matter into the probe.

Demanding that the ship be sent back to the US, Gopal Krishna of Indian Platform on Ship-breaking claimed that it was an international fugitive vessel and nothing short of an enquiry by the CBI can ascertain the circumstances under which this US ship entered Indian waters.

"This 682-foot ocean liner is loaded with an estimated 210 tons of toxic polychlorinated biphenyl contaminated material and an estimated 250 tons of asbestos which is lethal to the health of the workers as well to the environment," he alleged.

Gopal warned that if the ship is allowed to dismantle in Alang, it will set a precedent for 300 such ships in the US, which are waiting to enter Indian yards.

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