Report by Indian research institute reveals poor enforcement of occupational health and safety provisions
The working and living conditions at the shipbreaking yards of Alang, India, remain alarmingly poor, argues a new study published in the Economic & Political Weekly, an Indian Social Science journal. The research was commissioned and financed by the National Human Rights Commission of India (NHRC) and was coordinated by Dr. Geetanjoy Sahu from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS). TISS’ findings are based on field work in Alang from April 2013 to May 2014 including interviews with 300 shipbreaking workers as well as stakeholders from the industry, trade unions and authorities.
The study finds that the “costs to workers’ health and the environment are alarming” while the profit margins for both the yard owners and the contractors providing the labor force are extremely high. Dr Sahu reports that the approximately 35,000 unorganized migrant workers at Alang continue to live in shanty dwellings without adequate facilities for drinking water, sanitation and electricity. The authorities have set up only 12 showers and six toilets. As a result, “workers are forced to defecate in the open.” Read more