Why can

Chennai: The decommissioned French war ship Clemenceau’s voyage to Alang ship-breaking yard in Gujarat has become all the more rougher with the Supreme Court Monitoring Committee chairman G Thiagarajan asking France why it can’t end the agony of the ship by taking it back.

“Clemenceau has done so much for the French Navy and it is their flagship. Why should it go through such humiliation?” wondered Thiagarajan, former director of Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), and added that the best option for France would be to take the ship back.He was speaking to mediapersons at the venue of the meeting of the monitoring committee here. He said the committee was looking into the credentials of the ship to ensure that it does not bypass any Indian or international law. Several environmentalists and officials from Central and state pollution control boards are participating in the meeting.

The Committee’s recommendations will be given to the Supreme Court before the next hearing of the case on February 13. Till then, the court has restrained the ship from entering the 220-nautical mile Indian exclusive economic zone.The Committee has however not received the inventory details on the decommissioned ship though it had asked for it a month ago.Environmentalists have estimated that this toxic behemoth, decommissioned in 1997, carries hundreds of tonnes of asbestos, lead, mercury and other hazardous material. If it is permitted to be dismantled in Alang, where impoverished workers carry out much of their work by hand, it would expose them to serious health problems.