in coastal regions and in small islands
Coastal region and small island papers 12: papers
LATENT ROLE OF RESEARCH IN CONFLICT MANAGEMENT AT THE ALANG SOSIYA SHIP-BREAKING
Alang-Sosiya Ship-Breaking Yard (ASSBY) located in the Gulf of Cambay in the
Bhavnagar District of Gujarat State in India is the biggest ship-breaking yard
in Asia with 182 plots. The continental shelf and the large tidal range make it
possible to bring big ships ashore during spring tide and beach them on shore.
ASSBY has become known the world over, not only for fast development, but also
for the development-induced problems.
groups of people, depending on their positions, could have different and
sometimes clashing interests in a project the size of ASSBY. Four different
stakeholders have been identified at ASSBY: government, industrialists or
ship-breakers, villagers and workers.
- Gujarat Maritime Board
Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) is the shore-based coastal zone authority of the
Government of Gujarat. It manages the affairs of all the ports except Kandla.
Thus, the ASSBY area is also under the jurisdiction of GMB. It was through GMB
that the Alang site was identified, after an intensive survey, as the most
suitable place for a ship-breaking activity. Since then it came under the direct
management and monitoring of the GMB authority. The issues for GMB for the
sustainable development of ASSBY are:
spatial planning for infrastructure. The area requires all the features of
an industrial town. This includes spatial planning for physical
infrastructure like roads, housing, drainage, water and electricity; social
infrastructure like schools, hospitals, entertainment structures and
temples; and services like transport, banking, telecom and relevant
a system that would ensure work safety in ship-breaking.
fair working and living conditions at ASSBY.
possible damage to the environment.
the ship-breakers are first generation breakers who have learnt ship-breaking
through trial and error. They lack knowledge of the science and technology
related to the ship-breaking industry. Moreover, this is a heterogeneous group
which has not yet developed a business culture suitable to this enterprise. This
is a highly un-organized industry. Their main issues are:
ship-breaking into an organized industry.
infrastructure facilities like potable water, roads, gas supply, clean air
and a good working environment.
or manage criticism by environmentalists.
accidents at the workplace by adopting standards of work safety.
are around ten villages in the vicinity of ASSBY. They are Alang, Sosiya, Manar,
Sathara, Kathwa, Bharapara, Mathavada, Takhatgadh (chopda), Jasapara and Mandva.
All these villages are on the coast and within a 12 km radius of ASSBY. Eighty
per cent belong to backward groups. Erstwhile agriculturists have now found new
avenues of life in ASSBY. A few of them work on the breaking of ships, but they
are for the most part working in ancillary jobs. Tea shops, pan ‘gallas’,
sundry provision shops, eateries and other such small business have been started
by these villagers. There are around 350 scrap goods shops, known as
‘khadas’ in local parlance, most of these ‘khadas’ are owned by these
villagers. The villagers’ issues are as follows:
wish to benefit from ASSBY and improve their life chances.
water scarcity, water pollution and air pollution.
wood or cooking gas.
poses a burden on their existing shared facilities.
plot holders employ some 35,000 workers directly for ship-breaking activities.
There may be an equal number of workers working in ancillary activities. This is
entirely a migrant labour group hailing mainly from other states of India.
Around 80% of them are illiterate. Since they are migrants and young in age,
almost 70% of them stay in rented shanty dwellings available near ASSBY. Most of
them do not have facilities for potable water. Their monthly income from
ship-breaking activities is around Rs.3,600. This amount is on the high side for
such manual and hazardous work. The migrant workers’ issues are:
living conditions are their first concern. They want planned accommodation
with moderate facilities.
concern is also for safe and standardized working conditions. They are aware
that the bad living conditions result in diseases like diarrhoea, jaundice,
stomach pain, fever and skin diseases, and that the unsafe working
conditions render them accident-prone.
entertainment and other common facilities.
to ecology is not their direct concern.
institutional mechanism existed for facilitating understanding and convergence
between these four different and sometimes antagonistic groups. As can be seen,
there are more commonalities in the issues of different stakeholders than there
are differences. However, due to insufficient communication between the
different groups, the social distance between them is large. Each one felt
suspicious about the other over the unsolved issues. There were also hot debates
and even scuffles at a few times. The so-called environmental debates on the
ASSBY issue, which appeared in the media, also generated a feeling of suspicion
in the minds of GMB officials as well as the ship-breakers. There are instances
when a stakeholder has complained to the media about another stakeholder, and as
a result damaging news and views have been broadcast.
University’s research team approached each group independently, in order to
carry out a stakeholders’ analysis. The research team maintained equal
distances from all the groups. The process was as follows:
each group would complain about the others and the ills of ASSBY.
researchers put the antagonistic viewpoints into a holistic perspective and
took out the moral tone.
antagonistic groups started softening their attitudes and got ready to talk
to each other.
that the issues are solved, but the groups are behaviourally prepared for
convergence. As a gesture of this change, each group did some ‘good
work’ for the other.
full joint meeting of all the four stakeholder groups for evolving
convergence and a sustainable ASSBY development programme took place in May