QUETTA: Balochistan Chief Minister Sanaullah Zehri on Thursday banned the breaking of tanker vessels and LPG containers at Gadani until a proper safety mechanism is devised and adopted.
Chairing a high-level meeting on Gadani, the chief minister directed authorities concerned to evolve a strategy for avoiding incidents like the November 1 blaze at the ship-breaking yard. He termed incidents like the accident – which according to an official tally claimed around 20 lives but is feared to have resulted in the deaths of more than 100 labourers – intolerable.
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Those who attended the meeting included provincial ministers Sardar Mustafa Tareen, Dr Hamid Khan Achakzai and Obaidullah Babat, MPAs Liaquat Agha and Abdul Qadoos Bezinjo, Chief Secretary Saifullah Chatta, Advocate General (AG) Amanullah Kanrani, Customs Collector Saeed Jadoon, the chairman of the Balochistan Development Authority and representatives of the ship-breakers’ association.
While recognising shipbreaking as an important industry for the province, participants of the meeting agreed that current safety arrangements at the Gadani ship-breaking yard are inadequate. They stressed the need for proper emergency protocol to ensure both the safety of both labourers and the environment.
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The meeting agreed to set up a regulatory authority for the ship-breaking industry in a month’s time. Until such an authority is established and proper safety measures are adopted, the chief minister banned all ship-breaking activities at Gadani save for the breaking of vessels already docked at the shipyard. A team comprising the Kalat commissioner, Lasbela deputy commissioner, officials from government departments and representatives of the ship-breakers’ association would examine those docked vessels for potential hazards.
“Protecting labourers is the government’s first priority,” Zehri told the meeting. He said no negligence would be tolerated in this regard. “If an accident occurs in future, the department which issued a no-objection certificate for the vessel in question and the ship’s owner will be held responsible,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 3rd, 2017.