With the giant piece of Indian naval history INS Viraat becoming the first gigantic warship to beach at Gujarat shores for dismantling after enactment of recycling legislation, India aspires to raise its share in the global ship recycling business to at least 50 per cent, Union minister Mansukh Mandaviya has said.
Beaching of ships for dismantling at Alang ship-breaking yard, one of the biggest recycling yards in the world, is increasing post lockdown and fiscal 2020-21 is expected to be the best for business at Alang that witnesses 40 per cent of global ships coming here for scrapping, said shipping minister Mandaviya.
There are 53,000 merchant ships globally, out of which 1,000 are recycled every year. Four hundred of these 1,000 ships are recycled in India at Alang in Bhavnagar district of Gujarat, which is 40 per cent of the global recycling.
Mandaviya told PTI in an interview that “Alang is blessed with natural opportunities with tides of 10-12 metres, which the government of India and Gujarat government decided to cash on. It results in direct beaching of ships and also saw direct beaching of INS Viraat. Globally, 1,000 ships are scrapped annually and of this 40 per cent are recycled here. It has the world”s biggest recycling industry. We are initiating several initiatives to raise its global share in ship recycling to 50 per cent.”
The shipping minister claimed that it was the result of the various initiatives that majority of the migrant workers preferred to stay at Alang during the lockdown.
Migrant workers from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and Odisha make up some 80 per cent of about 25,000 workers directly employed in over 100 ship-breaking yards at Alang in Bhavnagar district.
“About 25,000 workers permanently live here. Majority of them hail from Odisha, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and get an average of about Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000 good salary. Very few went to their native places during the lockdown as their stay and food arrangements were done here,” the minister said.
“We gave permissions for sign off and sign on for ships coming here, facilitating immigration and as a result industry remained operational,” he added. He also said COVID-19 lockdown impact was less at Alang as his ministry has given exemptions for sign off and sign on exemption.
Mandaviya, who was here to pay homage to Indian Navy”s warship INS Viraat to its last journey to Alang for dismantling, said post enactment of recycling legislation by Parliament, INS Viraat was one of the biggest ships for recycling.
He exuded confidence that days were not far-off when recycling industry here will grow massively with Europe and other countries ready to send their ships for breaking here in view of Hong Kong convention ratification.
India is looking to double its contribution from ship recycling to country”s GDP to over USD 2 billion post enactment of a law — Recycling of Ships Bill, 2019 for recycling of ships in December 2019. It also aims to take direct jobs from recycling sector to about 90,000.
“Even during the lockdown period, 40 to 50 vessels came to Alang for recycling. Many ships bought during the period are still to reach here. We expect maximum vessels to come to India in 2020-21 for recycling,” the minister said.
Currently, India recycles 70 lakh gross tonnage of ships per annum, while Bangladesh”s contribution is 68 lakh gross tonnage. Pakistan scraps ships worth 37 lakh gross tonnage, while China accounts for 34 lakh gross tonnage of recycling.
“These four countries account for 90 per cent of the ships recycled globally. Post enactment of the Recycle Act, India eyes 50 per cent of the global share as many countries will be sending ships here after India ratified the global convention,” Mandaviya said.
The existing Shipbreaking Code (revised), 2013, and the provisions of the Hong Kong Convention, 2009 are dovetailed in recycling legislation to ensure the environment-friendly recycling process of ships and adequate safety of the yard workers.
With the enactment of the legislation, India has set global standards for safe and sound environment-friendly recycling of ships, as well as ensure adequate safety of the yard workers.
Hoping for increase in the business, a large number of recycling plots at Alang are obtaining Statement of Compliance (SOC) with the Hong Kong Convention.
The minister also said that 10 per cent of country’s secondary steel needs, as an outcome of the recycling of ships, will be met in an eco-friendly manner.
Haresh Parmar, General Secretary, Ship Recycling Industrial Association (SRIA) here, said Alang is poised to raise its global share with significant changes during the last 10 years with world class safety environment.
“Now European and other advanced nations are sending their ships for recycling here. Three million tonnes of steel is recycled here annually. Central government gets revenue to the tune of Rs 600 to Rs 700 crore from Alang while the state government gets Rs 250 crore.”
INS Viraat, the longest serving warship, has been beached at Alang for recycling three years after it was decommissioned by the Indian Navy.
This Centaur-class aircraft carrier of Indian Navy that remained in service for almost 30 years and holds the Guinness record for world”s longest serving warship is being dismantled here by Shree Ram Group of Industries.
“This historic warship has sailed almost 11 lakh kms, enough to travel the globe 27 times over and we pay homage to this pride of the nation while Alang is privileged to witness such a magnificent ship,” Mandaviya said.