Kannur district Collector P Balakiran gave an order to stop the functioning of the Vessel-breaking unit of the Public sector Steel Industries Kerala Limited (SILK) at Azhikkal, following the failure of produce the licence from Pollution Control Board(PCB) and the Azhikkode panchayat. District Collector told UNI that the district administration has given two months time to produce the licences to the SILK authority, based the complaints from action committee of local residents alleging the ship dismantling yard was causing huge environmental and health hazards. The SILK authority have failed to submit the licences on the last day, which was ended today. He also said a sub committee had appointed by district administration with a panel including the District Medical Officer (DMO), District Pollution Control Board Engineer and the local Panchayat secretary and they also found some environmental and health issues. Meanwhile, State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) member K E Gangadharan, who was also visited the site on July 17 and reported that the concerns of local residents seem to be genuine. He also talked with residents and they have complained of itching and inflammation in their eyes. He also given a report to the District administration and the government. The SILK management said they have taken all safety measures while dismantling the vessels and adhered to all pollution-control norms of various government agencies. This unit was started in 1984 and about 30 vessels from foreign countries and domestic had been dismantled for scrap. The Azhikode Panchayat president K Pavithran said they got an application from SILK for the licence on last week and they have no PCB certificate. The action committee has been holding an indefinite agitation since April 29, demanding to closure the unit,consider the health hazards. The ship-breaking unit was under the scanner in 2003 when activists of Greenpeace alleged that the yard was causing huge environmental problems.
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