An inter-ministerial meeting yesterday formed a 17-member technical committee in the environment and forest ministry for preparing the draft policy on ship-breaking industry.
The meeting chaired by State Minister for Environment and Forest Hasan Mahmud directed the committee, headed by environment secretary, to submit its report within three weeks.
In a briefing after the meeting, Hasan Mahmud said the prime minister in the light of the High Court order asked the ministry to formulate a new rule for flourishing ship breaking industry without causing any damage to environment.
The HC in an order on March 17, 2009, gave eight directives to the government to make the ship breaking industry environment friendly and make all ships free from dangerous chemicals before import.
In light of the order, the government has taken initiative for making a policy named 'Ship Breaking and Dangerous Waste Management Rule' and amend the existing Environment Conservation Act to allow the ship breaking industry flourish under a conducive atmosphere.
Hasan said the government has already decided to make a separate zone for ship breaking industry at Sitakunda to stop its expansion across the whole coast and to check environmental degradation.
He said the new rule will focus on the interests and welfare of the labourers working in the ship breaking industry and management of land in the coastal zone.
The new rule in no way would be an impediment to flourish the ship breaking sector, rather it would help the new entrepreneurs to pursue their business in an environment friendly atmosphere, the state minister added.
The ship breaking industry is stretched over about seven-kilometre across Sitakunda Coast, which supplies about 90 percent iron of country's total annual demand.
Around four lakh labourers are directly and two lakh more indirectly involved with the ship breaking in 79 yards while eight more new yards are now under construction.
Commerce Minister Faruk Khan, Land Minister Rezaul Karim Hira, Shipping Minister Shajahan Khan, and State Minister for Labour and Employment Monnujan Sufian also attended the meeting.