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'Alang positioned to grab 50% share in global ship recycling, employs 25k workers directly'

Alang (Gujarat): With the giant piece of Indian naval history INS Viraat becoming the first gigantic ship to beach at Gujarat shores for dismantling after enactment of recycling legislation, India aspires to raise its share in 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.

"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," Mandaviya said.

"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," he added.

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.

He said COVID-19 lockdown impact was less at Alang as his ministry has given exemptions for sign off and sign on exemption. "We gave permissions for sign off and sign on for ships coming here, facilitating immigration and as a result industry remained operational," he said.

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