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Ship Breaking Renaissance: Sachna’s 11-Year Struggle Ends with Kalinga’s Arrival

Ship Breaking Renaissance: Sachna's 11-Year Struggle Ends with Kalinga's Arrival
Ship Breaking Renaissance: Sachna’s 11-Year Struggle Ends with Kalinga’s Arrival
After 11 years of legal battles and setbacks, the Sachna Ship Breaking Yard has sprung up to rival the Alang Ship Recycling Yard, and the first ship after 11 years was beached at plot no.17 of Sachna on Thursday.
In the year 2011-12, a total of 38 ships were wrecked in 18 ship breaking plots at Sachana. And then the ship breaking business was shut down amid a dispute between the Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) and the Forest-Environment Department over the Marine National Park, a national sanctuary. A High Power Committee was then constituted by the State Government and an affidavit was filed by the Forest Department, later the High Court allowed the resumption of ship breaking business at Sachana in 2020 and ordered to operate as per the Ship Breaking Code of 2013.
According to Naresh Kothari of Phoenix Marine Services, the ship breaking facilities were restored after the court verdict and after 11 years, the ship Kalinga was beached at Suraj Enterprises, Plot No.17, Sachana on Thursday. The concerned Ministers, Secretaries, Gujarat Maritime Board, Forest Department etc. of the Government of Gujarat have shown a positive approach to restart Sachana Shipbreaking Yard.
According to FirozKhan Baloch, president of Sachana Ship Breaking Association, Hong Kong Convention compliant facilities are being made available here with government assistance for ship recycling. Revival of ship breaking business will provide direct and indirect employment to 20,000 people from 18 plots. Procedures including hospital, training center are also in motion. All facilities as per Hong Kong Convention are to be made available in proper shipbreaking yards in a phased manner.
Alang Shipbreaking Yard is the largest in Gujarat, and has 153 ship breaking plots, Alang Shipbreaking Yard was established in the year 1983. And over 8000 ships have been wrecked at Alang during 40 years. While Sachana Shipbreaking Yard was established in the year 1977 and there are 18 ship breaking plots in operation and so far 400 ships have been broken at Sachana.
After the High Court’s verdict in 2020 in favor of the shipbreaking business, the Gujarat state government has allocated Rs 25 crores in 2022 and Rs 24 crores in 2023 to provide facilities of international standards in Sachana, and out of this, development of the yard, roads, water, electricity, etc. are in full swing.

The release also stated that the high power committee has decided to give the disputed site back to GMB to restart the ship breaking yard. Accordingly, it added, the ship breaking yard will be reopened as per the provisions of the Ship Breaking Code, 2013.

With the resumption of operations of the ship breaking yard, around 10,000 people will get direct or indirect employment, the government release said. Before 2012, the ship breaking yard had been functioning since 1977 and was appropriate for breaking small and medium size ships.

Earlier Gujarat government declared the restarting of the Gujarat Maritime Board’s (GMB) ship breaking yard at Sachana village in Jamnagar district. The yard had been closed since 2012 following a dispute regarding whether a part of it falls under the jurisdiction of the marine national park or the GMB. The decision to restart the ship breaking yard has come after the recommendations of a high power committee formed under the instructions of Gujarat High Court (HC), the release added.

The release said that a dispute was ongoing over a part of the land at Sachana, with the state forest department claiming ownership of the disputed site. Following the claim, the HC in May 2012 had ordered to stall all ship breaking activities at the yard until permission for the same was acquired from competent authorities and further orders by the court.

Later in February 2020, a high power committee was formed by the state government under the orders of HC to give hearing to the parties in dispute, the release said. Following the hearing, the state government had ordered measurements to be taken of the disputed site through the District Inspector of Land Records (DILR) in the presence of officials of the forest department and the GMB. A report in this regard was placed before the high power committee, which concluded that the disputed site falls outside the limits of the marine national park and reserve forest of the forest department.

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