Verify the Documents of Alang bound vessels like MV Wisdom

Maritime Security Concerns Remain Unaddressed

DG Shipping Must Demand Details of Port of Registry, Name and address of ship owner, IMO registered owner identification number and IMO company identification Number

In the wake of the incident of MV Wisdom, ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) demands that no ship whether for dismantling or for shipping, be allowed in Indian waters without the name of Port of Registry, Name and address of ship owner, IMO registered owner identification number and IMO company identification Number unless this is done no seller will be traceable. (Refer to Appendix 4 of attached Hongkong Convention, page no. 39)

As to buyers there are two buyers-cash buyer and end buyer and if the vessel in question was for Alang delivery, it merits inquiry.

It is noteworthy that such vessels are registered in tax haven countries. The global shipping companies mutilate rule of law in the Indian waters with connivance and indulgence from Marine Environment Protection Committee (MEPC) of UN’s International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in a routine manner. Ministry of Shipping, Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Steel, Government of India must coordinate efforts to ensure that such incidents do not happen in future.

TWA demands before allowing the salvage operation, the documents of ownership of the vessel must be verified by Directorate General of Shipping, Ministry of Shipping because Customs has expressed its inability to verify the genuineness of these documents as per the report of the Standing Monitoring Committee of Ministry of Environment & Forests.

The vessel should not be allowed be dismantled where it is grounded which would mean fulfilling the ulterior motive of the ship owner. The vessel’s IMO Number is 8417558. It is under Singapore flag. The vessel was built 1985.

On the way from Colombo to Alang, this 147-metre long cargo vessel had to cross the Mumbai coast where it broke free from its tug and drifted towards the Bandra-Worli Sea Link. Under tow vessels are more risky. Due to rough weather, tug ropes break free. There are no crew members on dump tows. Such vessels are made water tight. MV Wisdom’s tug, the MV Seabulk Plover has been brought to Mumbai.

TWA demands that no ship under tow be permitted in Indian waters from 15th May to 15th August during monsoon for the security of the port. Many a times monsoon is used as an excuse to dump end- of-life vessels in Indian waters. Transnational shipping companies are attempting to turn most of the end- of-life vessels into under tow vessels which are quite risky for Indian navigation route.

It germane to note that the next meeting of the Supreme Court constituted Inter-ministerial Committee (IMC) on Ship breaking, Union Ministry of Steel is scheduled for 8th July. So far IMC has not submitted any action taken report to the court.

The minutes of IMC meetings dated 17th September, 2010 notes that “The Coast Guard representative brought out some security concerns and incidents of communication sets from ships reportedly finding their way to the local fisherman. It was advised to the Ship recyclers to ensure that such equipment are immediately destroyed by the Customs as per the prescribed procedures. The Chairman also advised the Naval, Coast Guard and GMB to regularly interact as per the decisions taken in the earlier IMC meetings and to resolve the major security issues in the Coastal Security Committee meetings conducted at the State Level.”

In its minute dated 4th February 2009, the IMC noted the Security Concerns, saying, “Both the representative of the Coast Guard and the representative from Naval HQ raised concerns over the entry of ships carrying hazardous cargo to Alang for ship breaking and how no information is made available to them regarding the movement of ships to Alang. Besides this there was no information regarding whether the Alang Port is compliant with the International Ship and Port Facility Security (ISPS) Code. In the context of the present security concerns in the country, the Chairman advised the representative of the Ministry of Shipping, the GMB officials, the Coast Guard representative and the Naval HQs to address the issue expeditiously so that the security gaps are taken care of and also to verify whether the port at Alang has implemented the ISPS codes. The Coast Guard representative and the Naval HQ representative also expressed apprehensions that the vessels coming in for beaching sometimes ply very close to the oil rigs, which could be a potential for accidents.”

It also mentions that the Chairman of the IMC “directed that the Ministry of Shipping may organize a meeting on the matter with GMB, Naval HQ and Coast Guard HQ, Custom etc. immediately and ensure that gaps in the security frame-work issues are addressed immediately”.

The issue of MSC Chitra collision with another Merchant vessel Khailijia 3 near the Mumbai Port Trust on 7th August 2010, container vessel wherein an enquiry was ordered also merits attention.

An inquiry has been ordered by the DG Shipping into the causes of the incident of MV Wisdom. Several months have passed but has the Ministry of Shipping bothered to disclose the reasons in the case of MSC Chitra? The inquiry in the case of MV Wisdom should not meet the same fate.

Entry of such end-of-life vessels constitute an act of dumping of hazardous wastes in various disguises. Earlier, Union Shipping Minister gave vague information to the Lok Sabha saying “Different type of dangerous and Hazardous goods” are lying at Mumbai port from different dates starting from March 1983 including empty chlorine cylinders. He did not name and specify these dangerous and hazardous goods. A High level committee was also constituted to examine the cylinders/packages and advise on the measures to be taken/ methodology to be followed for neutralization of chemicals/gases and ultimate disposal of all the

uncleared hazardous cargo lying in the Port. The report is still awaited.

It may be noted that 22 % of the vessels are insulated vessels (asbestos and glass wool) as per industry sources. Bangladesh has banned insulated vessels. Pakistan has recognized the non-viability of insulated vessels. Mumbai port has issued a circular refusing insulated vessels but Alang port is continues to allow it. In the next one month 10-15 insulated are expected to come to Alang. Even industry sources say that they should not be allowed.  In the refrigeration vessels (for perishable cargo), the entire vessel is insulated whereas in other vessels insulation is only in the engine.

Despite the opposition of environmental organizations, human rights and labour groups and even the ship breaking industry of India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, Union Ministry of Shipping has taken a unwise decision to become a party to the adoption of IMO’s HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION FOR THE SAFE AND ENVIRONMENTALLY SOUND RECYCLING OF SHIPS, 2009 although its a major step backwards from existing international and national environmental law. Unmindful of the fact that the IMO treaty will not prevent a single toxic ship from being exported and dumped on the beaches of India, Shipping Ministry refused to change its course although existing international law makes it illegal to export toxic waste to developing countries, to disproportionately burden the poor with pollution.

For Details: Gopal Krishna, ToxicsWatch Alliance, Mb: 9818089660,

Blog: imowatch.blogspot.com, Web: www.toxicswatch.com

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गंगापुत्र निगमानंद बलिदान

सिराज केसर का आलेख

संत निगमानंद

हरिद्वार की गंगा में खनन रोकने के लिए कई बार के लंबे अनशनों और जहर दिए जाने की वजह से मातृसदन के संत निगमानंद अब नहीं रहे। हरिद्वार की पवित्र धरती का गंगापुत्र अनंत यात्रा पर निकल चुका है। वैसे तो भारतीय अध्यात्म परंपरा में संत और अनंत को एक समान ही माना जाता है। सच्चे अर्थों में गंगापुत्र वे थे।

गंगा रक्षा मंच, गंगा सेवा मिशन, गंगा बचाओ आंदोलन आदि-आदि नामों से आए दिन अपने वैभव का प्रदर्शन करने वाले मठों-महंतों को देखते रहे हैं पर गंगा के लिए निगमानंद का बलिदान इतिहास में एक अलग अध्याय लिख चुका है।

गंगा के लिए संत निगमानंद ने 2008 में 73 दिन का आमरण अनशन किया था। उसी समय से उनके शरीर के कई अंग कमजोर हो गए थे और न्यूरोलॉजिकल डिसऑर्डर के भी लक्षण देखे गए थे। और अब 19 फरवरी 2011 से शुरू संत निगमानंद का आमरण अनशन 68वें दिन (27 अप्रैल 2011) को पुलिस गिरफ्तारी के साथ खत्म हुआ था, उत्तराखंड प्रशासन ने उनके जान-माल की रक्षा के लिए यह गिरफ्तारी की थी। संत निगमानंद को गिरफ्तार करके जिला चिकित्सालय हरिद्वार में भर्ती किया गया। हालांकि 68 दिन के लंबे अनशन की वजह से उन्हें आंखों से दिखाई और सुनाई पड़ना कम हो गया फिर भी वे जागृत और सचेत थे और चिकित्सा सुविधाओं की वजह से स्वास्थ्य धीरे-धीरे ठीक हो रहा था।

लेकिन अचानक 2 मई 2011 को उनकी चेतना पूरी तरह से जाती रही और वे कोमा की स्थिति में चले गए। जिला चिकित्सालय के मुख्य चिकित्सा अधीक्षक पीके भटनागर संत निगमानंद के कोमा अवस्था को गहरी नींद बताते रहे। बहुत जद्दोजहद और वरिष्ठ चिकित्सकों के कहने पर देहरादून स्थित दून अस्पताल में उन्हें भेजा गया। अब उनका इलाज जौली ग्रांट स्थित हिमालयन इंस्टिट्यूट हॉस्पिटल में चल रहा था।

हिमालयन इंस्टिट्यूट हॉस्पिटल के चिकित्सकों को संत निगमानंद के बीमारी में कई असामान्य लक्षण नजर आए और उन्होंने नई दिल्ली स्थित ‘डॉ लाल पैथलैब’ से जांच कराई। चार मई को जारी रिपोर्ट में साफ कहा गया है कि ऑर्गोनोफास्फेट कीटनाशक उनके शरीर में उपस्थित है। इससे ऐसा लगता है कि संत निगमानंद को चिकित्सा के दौरान जहर देकर मारने की कोशिश की गई थी।

जहर देकर मारने की इस घिनौनी कोशिश के बाद उनका कोमा टूटा ही नहीं। और 42 दिनों के लंबे जद्दोजहद के बाद वे अनंत यात्रा के राही हो गये।

पर संत निगमानंद का बलिदान बेकार नहीं गया। मातृसदन ने अंततः लड़ाई जीती। हरिद्वार की गंगा में अवैध खनन के खिलाफ पिछले 12 सालों से चल रहा संघर्ष अपने मुकाम पर पहुँचा। 26 मई को नैनीताल उच्च न्यायालय के फैसले में स्पष्ट तौर पर कहा गया है कि क्रशर को वर्तमान स्थान पर बंद कर देने के सरकारी आदेश को बहाल किया जाता है।

मातृसदन के संतों ने पिछले 12 सालों में 11 बार हरिद्वार में खनन की प्रक्रिया बंद करने के लिए आमरण अनशन किए। अलग-अलग समय पर अलग-अलग संतों ने आमरण अनशन में भागीदारी की। यह अनशन कई बार तो 70 से भी ज्यादा दिन तक किया गया। इन लंबे अनशनों की वजह से कई संतों के स्वास्थ्य पर स्थाई प्रभाव पड़ा।

मातृसदन ने जब 1997 में स्टोन क्रेशरों के खिलाफ लड़ाई का बिगुल फूंका था। तब हरिद्वार के चारों तरफ स्टोन क्रेशरों की भरमार थी। दिन रात गंगा की छाती को खोदकर निकाले गए पत्थरों को चूरा बनाने का व्यापार काफी लाभकारी था। स्टोन क्रेशर के मालिकों के कमरे नोटों की गडिडयों से भर हुए थे और सारा आकाश पत्थरों की धूल (सिलिका) से भरा होता था। लालच के साथ स्टोन क्रेशरों की भूख भी बढ़ने लगी तो गंगा में जेसीबी मशीन भी उतर गयीं। बीस-बीस फुट गहरे गड्ढे खोद दिए। जब आश्रम को संतों ने स्टोन क्रेशर मालिकों से बात करने की कोशिश की तो वे संतों को डराने और आतंकित करने पर ऊतारू हो गये। तभी संतों ने तय किया कि गंगा के लिए कुछ करना है। और तब से उनकी लड़ाई खनन माफियाओं के खिलाफ चल रही थी।

यह भी पढ़ें

BILDERBERG REPORT 2011

Bilderberg is not a Cartesian fantasy world, in which the isolated intentions of some individuals, instead of the dynamics of social processes, shape the course of history as the movement of evolving ideas and themes over successive generations. It is clinically significant, that today´s more popular varieties of wild-eyed conspiracy theories, reflect the peculiarly pathological style in infantile fantasy associated with the Lord of the Rings, Star Wars and Harry Potter cults. The characteristic form of mental action these cults express, is the magical power of the will, acting outside real physical space-time dimension.

It´s a meeting of people who represent a certain ideology. Bilderberg is a medium of bringing together financial institutions which are the world´s most powerful and most predatory financial interests. And at this time, it is that combination which is the worst enemy of humanity.

Read more…..

 

Possible Police Attack on the Villagers of Anti-POSCO movement anytime from now

Dear Friends,

Over 2000 villagers have formed a human barricade and are sitting in front of the Govindpur village border, day and night, for the last one week to face any imminent attack from Police forces to acquire the land for POSCO company. From 8th June 2011 onwards, over 400 school students have joined the protest meeting.

Twenty-seven platoons of police forces have already reached Kujanga, the nearest police station. An atmosphere of fear, terror and intimidation has been unleashed in the area as armed forces undertake frequent flag marches in the area. Yet, Mr.Naveen Pattnaik calls it a peaceful land acquisition programme.

The administration has conducted a series of plan meetings under DIG (Central range) Mr. D.S. Kuttey, (DIG ) of Police. Kuttey has confirmed on orders received from Government, the forces shall enter Gobindapur around 4 am tomorrow. He indicated that a blue print is ready for forceful entry into Govindpur village. He has also indicated that the forces are prepared for any casualty which may be caused due to such forceful entry. Kuttey has a past record of having conducted the ruthless repression in Kalinga Nagar area of Jajpur district.

Therefore the whole atmosphere of Govindpur village is tense and the villagers are on high alert. We are apprehending that this  forceful police operation might lead to a number of casualties and death. This is despite pending writ petitions and court cases by the villagers in the Orissa High Court and the Advocate General, Orissa and Advocate for POSCO seeking adjournments repeatedly.

As you know this is one area in the country where the Forest rights Act, 2006 has been grossly violated despite serious violations of the law has been already reported by a number of government appointed committees.

While We send out this message, We do not know the fate of the innocent people nor us, We squarely hold Naveen Pattnaik, CM, Orissa, responsible for this imminent massacre. It is a sad day in free and democratic India that violence and brute force is being used by the State to facilitate its undemocratic land grab for corporate profits of a foreign company, overlooking due process and the fundamental and constitutional rights of our people.

In Solidarity,

Prashant Paikaray

Spokesperson, POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti.

Mobile no – 09437571547

CALL:

Naveen Patnaik, CM

Tel. No.(O) 0674 2531100, 0674 2535100, 0674 2531500, Epbax 2163

Tel. No.(R) 0674 2590299, 0674 2591099, 0674 2590844, 0674 2591100,

Nation’s conscience must be awakened to anti-POSCO struggle

Tackling corruption must begin by scrapping the scandalous POSCO project

The brutal police action unleashed by the UPA Government on Baba Ramdev’s fasting camp in Delhi has shocked the nation’s conscience; even the Hon’ble Supreme Court has taken suo moto cognisance of the blatant disregard for fundamental rights, and questioned the Government raison de d’etre to so quell dissent. Most mainstream political parties have jostled with each other to gain attention in condemning the incident; and this has by far been the only issue covered and debated non-stop by the electronic and print media for some days now.

However, little or nothing is being said or done about a far more serious situation that is developing in Jagatsinghpur district of Odisha, where villagers of Dhinkia, Gobindpur, Patana, etc., are resolutely and peacefully opposing the forcible acquisition of their private and forest lands by the Odisha Government for the benefit of South Korean steel major POSCO. Over the past few days, at least 26 platoons of riot police (over 1,000 police personnel) have been deployed to ruthlessly beat down women, children, the aged, and men who have kept a day/night vigil and not allowed any State functionary, police or company official to enter these villages; thus continuing a phenomenal act of peaceful resistance to POSCO venture, sustained for six years now under the leadership of POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samithi.

Brutal police tactics, criminal intimidation and illegal methods are being employed here to wrest from these peacefully protesting villagers 4000 acres of extraordinarily fertile agricultural and forest land to establish the single largest industrial foreign investment conceived in recent times. The project involves the establishment of a mega steel plant (12 MTPA), backed by a massive coal-fired thermal power plant (400 MW expandable to 1,100 MW), and a major captive port for handling the world’s largest cargo ships (Capesize, usually more than a quarter km. in length).1 The project involves further land acquisition for a captive iron ore mine requiring 6,100 acres of predominantly forest land in Khandadhar Hills of Sundergarh district and at least 2,000 acres more for a massive gated township to house POSCO employees. In addition, there would be dedicated water, road and rail linkages that will further exacerbate the displacement and environmental destruction caused by the project.

POSCO: A scandal far bigger than 2G scam

It is high time the nation’s conscience is affected by what the project affected communities are suffering under the hands of the Navin Patnaik regime in Odisha. It is time to appreciate the fact that the POSCO project is perhaps the most shocking example of corrupt practices legitimised by State support. This is because the project is nothing short of a legalised loot of our natural resources – iron ore in this case. In an unprecedented deal, Indian and Odisha Governments have supported POSCO’s demands to mine 600 million tonnes of the finest iron in India on a 30-year lease. Of this, 30% can be exported for processing in POSCO’s Korean plants and thus endorsing profiteering abroad! With current fine iron ore rates crossing Rs. 8,000/tonne, it is simple arithmetic to note that POSCO can recover its capital investment of Rs. 52,000 crores in less than eight years, an unthinkable proposition in any industrial venture! Truly, the POSCO venture is a scandal far worse than those involving 2G and Commonwealth Games.

In fact, A. Raja, principal accused in the 2G scam, may have facilitated POSCO’s entry when as Indian Environment Minister in 2007 he accorded the first major statutory clearance by approving the captive port component, one day before he transited to the Telecom Ministry. This was done without any review and also in response to severe pressure from then Union Finance Minister Chidambaram. Various key environmental and forest clearances quickly followed, all by subverting laws and breaking down the massive industrial/mining venture into little parts to hide their true environmental, social and economic consequences.

Three years later when Jairam Ramesh, the sitting Environment Minister, ordered a comprehensive review of these clearances by setting up two independent investigations, both committees confirmed that the clearances had been secured by fraud and subterfuge, and strongly recommended withdrawal of these illegal approvals. The appropriate action that the Minister should have taken was to cancel these fraudulent clearances and initiate criminal action against all involved in the POSCO decisions. Such action would have been true evidence of the oft-made claim by the UPA Government that it is serious about tackling corruption.

Instead, Jairam Ramesh claimed he was working towards “cooperative federalism” and on the basis of his “faith and trust” in the Odisha Government approved the project’s environment and CRZ clearances on 31 January 2011 and subsequently the forest clearance on 2nd May. This was despite absolute evidence that the Forest Rights Act had been fundamentally violated by deliberately overlooking Gram Sabha resolutions (convened by the constitutionally empowered Panchayats in the project affected villages) that clearly rejected the project. Ramesh, thus, became a party to the fraud in environmental decision-making and also directly responsible for the dangerous situation that is developing in the POSCO affected villages today.

We fear that the exigent State police action that is now underway in these villages may result in another Kalinganagar or Nandigram type of situation. The scant attention paid by mainstream political parties, the media and the public is only strengthening the Navin Patnaik Government to disregard Constitution norms and act ruthlessly to secure lands for the advantage of POSCO.

In an effort to prevent such a carnage from taking place, various eminent people in the country have intervened and appealed to the Prime Minister of India to “immediately ask the Odisha government to halt this illegal attack, to withdraw all clearances given in violation of law, and to take an impartial position in the court cases filed by the people. Failure to stop this attack will show that the UPA government’s much vaunted concern over issues of displacement, forest rights and “inclusive growth” is simply an eyewash.” A copy of this appeal is enclosed.

While endorsing these demands, we additionally urge that:

   1. The Odisha Government must immediately withdraw its police operations and forcible acquisition of land for POSCO.

   2. The Central Bureau of Investigation must immediately expand the scope of its ongoing investigations against A Raja by reviewing his role in the POSCO clearances, and that of all those who have been involved in illegally promoting this scandalous project, possibly including then Finance Minister and presently Home Minister, Chidambaram.

   3. The scandalous POSCO project must be scrapped as its benefits will be accrued mainly by major American financiers (including Warren Buffet) who are major stockholders of this South Korean company.

Issued by:

Environment Support Group (Bangalore), Campaign for Survival and Dignity, National Forum of Forest People andForest Workers (NFFPFW), National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), Delhi Solidarity Group, All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA) and All India Students’ Association (AISA) 

Contact numbers: 9560756628, 9868337493, 9868259836

AC Grayling’s private university is odious

A group of well-known academics are setting up a private college in London which will charge students £18,000 a year in tuition fees. There will, as usual, be scholarships for the deserving poor. As a kind of Oxbridge by the Thames, the New College of the Humanities will offer students weekly one-on-one tutorials. For that kind of money, I would demand a team of live-in, round-the-clock tutors, ready to fill me in about Renaissance art or logical positivism at the snap of a finger. I would also expect them to iron my socks and polish my boots.

Read more…..

Terry Eaglton is a literary critic, writer and chair in English Literature at the Department of English and Creative Writing at Lancaster University.

Second Wind for U.S. Imperialism – Now with Chinese Support

Any work on China today would be a marketable proposition and the author here, with his long record of active engagement with the subject, is most unlikely to suffer critical neglect. Despite the capacious title, suggestive of a compendium of diverse writings drawn from various times, this book is obviously written as an integral whole and has the specific focus of understanding China’s emerging profile in strategic affairs.

It is a story that Kissinger begins by delving into the far reaches of history, where he finds the origins of the “singularity” of China, its “special feature” in having “no beginning” and its unique historical identity, less “conventional nation-state than a permanent natural phenomenon”.

Read more…..

Sukumar Muralidharan is a veteran journalist based in New Delhi, India.