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France prepared to take back toxic wastes of le Clemenceau
February 08, 2006 13:29 IST
France on Wednesday said it was prepared to take back the toxic wastes of its decommissioned aircraft carrier le Clemenceau after dismantling at the shipyard in Alang.
"If it (is) deemed better by the (Supreme) Court or the (Indian) government, then we are prepared to take back the toxic wastes (asbestos) to France", said French Ambassador Dominique Gerard, who is in Alang to get first-hand information about the condition of workers and facilities available at the yard.
"We are committed on this," he added, before proceeding to inspect the yard in Bhavnagar district.
"We are taking this as an economic issue; it is a great chance for technology transfer and for bringing better equipment here," the envoy said, observing that if the Clemenceau was dismantled in Alang, then it would be a first for the workers and a standard would be set.
When asked why the French government was taking so much interest in the ship's dismantling when it was already sold off, Gerard said, "The contract says that the propriety of the ship will be transferred when the ship is demolished so we keep responsibilty of it."
"I am here to see the conditions in which we will be bringing the relevant equipment and to also see if the working conditions are similar to that in Europe," said Gerard, who arrived with a two-member team.
"I had already sent a team to Alang to check what's going on and now, on behalf of my government, I have come to see for myself and tell first hand about the working conditions of the people who do the ship dismantling jobs", he said.
There was an estimated 45 tonnes of asbestos on the ship. "But we will know for sure only when the job is completed," he said.
When quizzed about the pending Supreme Court verdict on the issue, he said, "The Supreme Court is doing what it has to do and we will totally respect its verdict."
"However, it is important to know that what we have been saying in this regard is also totally valid and our view will be independent of whatever stand the SC takes," he added. "The reason why we are here is, what is happening at Alang is very different from what's shown by media and some others."