"We are not against ship-breaking, but against hazardous ship-breaking. Hence, if the government feels that reducing 5 per cent in duty to help the industry grow in India is going to give it the competitive edge vis--vis other countries, which are mainly China and other Southeast Asian countries, then that is fine. However, it is surprising that the government has completely ignored the serious labour and environmental issues involved. The implied message in the custom's duty reduction is that the government is now abetting the well-documented violations of all laws -- national and international -- by the Indian ship-breaking industry. In its current condition, the reduction of customs duty will only accentuate the problem of hazardous ships coming into India and killing people as well as destroying the coastal environment. The underlying message [of the Budget] is that we want development at any cost."
director of srishti, a NGO.
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