Azheekal beach, which has been witnessing strong protests against the ship breaking unit of Steel Industries Kerala Limited (SILK), is gearing up for another major agitation with SILK alleged to go for ship breaking at Dharmadam ( 45 km away from SILK) and Azheekal pulimutt (5 km away from the Unit).
The company is alleged to be going for ship breaking at Dharmadam and Azheeklal Pulimutt as the two ships that were being brought to SILK had swept away to these places after the tug was broken. Instead of dragging them back to SILK, the authorities are alleged to be thinking of demolishing them at the spot where they are now stranded, which the local people and fishermen are strongly opposing.
Pointing out that the whole of Azheekal coast was now being transformed into a ship breaking beach, Kappalpoli Virudha Samithi (committee against ship breaking) leader M K Manoharan alleged that SILK was indulged in illegal activities, defying all laws. “They have now brought two ships for breaking but the tug broke off and the two were swept away. One is stranded at Dharmadam and another at Pullimuth near Azheekal.It is learned that the SILK authorities, who find it hard to bring back the vessels to the unit, are trying to demolish them at these two places. The authorities now think that it is not viable to bring the ships back to the company.”
The local people and fishermen at Dharmadam are all agitated and would go for a major protest if SILK goes on with the idea of ship breaking at these places. “It seems they want to transform the whole of Azheekal beach into a ship breaking yard. We have been in protest for a long time and have given representation to the government. But nothing has happened and even the government is supporting this illegal activity,’ he said.
www.kadapuram.com has earlier reported about the plight of the people at Azheekal. Kadapuram had reported about the emergence of skin and eye diseases, cancer and renal failures among the people. Despite the people in the region demanding a comprehensive health survey, the government has not taken any heed of their demands. Apart from this, the wells, ponds and water bodies in and around Azheekal region have all been polluted.
Manoharan alleged that the company had flouted all laws, both national as well as international. He also alleged that SILK wethat had started as a ship building company was now indulged in ship breaking, for which they have no license.