Skip to main content

Fourth victim of deadly silicosis in 2014 fails to wake up Gujarat officialdom to pay up compensation

Inside an agate unit
By Our Representative
Poonabhai Ramabhai Parmar, 59, has become the fourth victim of the deadly silicosis disease -- which is rampant in and around Khambhat town of Central Gujarat -- this year. Parmar breathed his last on February 25 night. Large number of locals joined his funeral on February 26 morning. Informing about his death, Jagdish Patel, senior social activist of the state-based NGO People’s Training and Research Centre (PTRC), Vadodara, said, “Parmar worked in a textile mill in Khambhat till 1994, and when mill was closed he turned to agate polishing. He was diagnosed of silicosis at Sri Krishna Hospital, Karamsad, in December 2012. He was bedridden for the few months.”
Patel, who is one of India’s topmost campaigners against the occupational disease, said, “This is the fourth death in 2014 following the death of Rukhiben Jethabhai, Isub Ibrahim and Nannusha Diwan. In 2013, as many as 14 male and 2 female workers died of silicosis.” He regretted, “In 2012 Government of Gujarat declared a welfare scheme for the workers dying of silicosis according to which Rs 1 was to be paid to the dependents. For technical reasons the scheme could not take off.”
Pointing out that recently the Government of Gujarat declared revised scheme, Patel said, “Accordingly, now the amount of Rs 1 lakh is to be given by the board for unorganized sector workers and not any insurance company. The scheme is to be implemented by the Rural Labour Commissioner (RLC). A resolution passed on January 4, 2013 reads that the rules should be drafted jointly by the director, Industrial Safety and Health (DISH) and the RLC to implement the government’s revised scheme.”
However, Patel pointed out, unfortunately, “the rules have not yet been framed, nor are the claim forms available with the RLC. Claims have to pass through the offices of RLC, DISH and the Guajrat health department before going to the board for disbursement.” Calling it a “a lengthy procedure”, Patel explained that it would “take a long time as each government department is working with poor staffing.”
The Gujarat indifference comes at a time when other states, especially the “poorer” ones -- Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh -- have begun to pay to the kin of those who die of silicosis. The view is strong among activists that even a push from the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has “failed” to motivate the state government to take any concrete steps in right direction.
Patel recalled, “The Supreme Court passed an interim order in 2009 in PIL on Silicosis 110/2006 directing the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to go ahead with relief in case of confirmed cases of death due to silicosis and rehabilitation in case of workers living with silicosis”, adding, “Unfortunately, the Government of Gujarat has not come out with any scheme for rehabilitation.”
Gujarat government indifference towards silicosis victims comes two months after the state officialdom decided to ignore another NHRC advice late last year, sent in the form of a “recommendation”, to pay up Rs 5 lakh each to five workers who had died of the deadly silicosis disease about three years ago. The NHRC had acted on Patel’s complaint in 2011 and arrived at the conclusion that the Gujarat government had failed to ensure safety standards in stone cutting units, operating in Godhra, Gujarat.

Comments

TRENDING

Hindus to be 'sent' to Kashmir? Despite Israeli settlements, peace eludes the region

By Anand K Sahay*
Curfew, news and communications blackout, transportation shut-down... News reports from Kashmir are worrying. So are the views relayed through the media, especially television. Old-fashioned repression seems to be consorting comfortably with expressions of concern “for our Kashmiri brethren”. We are looking at Orwell’s 1984 in the making.

Impact of state repression? Kashmir's 65% people prefer independence: Cambridge study

By Rajiv Shah 
Even as the Government of India’s controversial move to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) into two union territories is not only refusing to down die but has acquired international dimensions, a recent study, published by the Cambridge University Press, has claimed “pro-independence attitudes” among that 65% of Kashmiris, warning, this sentiment worsens when the state machinery resorts “repressive violence”.

Congress' anti-democratic laws led to Modi govt's 'Constitutional' changes: Scholars

Counterview Desk
A large number of academics* said to be belonging to several Indian and international institutions, even as taking strong exception to the Narendra Modi government's alleged move to amend the Constitution through "illegitimate" means, have taken strong exception to their colleagues in academia who we have become "all too accustomed to adopting a calculated silence in the face of such indignities."

Dholera 'inundated': Gujarat govt tries selling low lying area as top smart city site

Counterview Desk
Even as the Dholera Special Investment Region Regional Development Authority (DSIRDA) of the Gujarat government was busy organising a junket for Gujarat-based journalists for the area sought to be sold as an ideal special investment region (SIR) for industrialists, well-known farmers' activist Sagar Rabari has wondered why no investor has so far agreed to put in money in an area situated in Ahmedabad district along the Gulf of Khambhat.

Kashmir normal? Schoolboys, teenagers being arbitrarily picked up, detained: Report

Counterview Desk
A four-person team, consisting of Jean Dr├Ęze, well-known development economist; Kavita Krishnan, who is with the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist); Maimoona Mollah of the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA); and Vimal Bhai of the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), back from a five-day fact-finding mission (August 9-13) from Kashmir, has said that people they spoke to “expressed their pain, anger, and sense of betrayal against the Government of India.”
In a report, “Kashmir Caged”, released along with a short eight-minute film, they said, the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A, dissolution of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), and bifurcating it into two Union Territories, is not being supported by anyone they met, except for BJP spokesperson on Kashmir affairs Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo, who claimed 46% vote share in J&K.
Excerpts from the report: When our flight landed, and the airlines staff announced that passeng…

Modi's Gujarati mind? Why govt move to 'sell-off' defence PSUs isn't in national interest

By Sandeep Pandey*
The Standing Committee on Defence, 2017-18, of the 16th Lok Sabha highlights the idea of Buy Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured). The Committee expressed concern over the import content of equipments produced and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Ordnance Factories (OFs) and defence Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) because of the dependence it creates for military hardware on foreign suppliers.

Central Gujarat effluent channel 'releasing' highly polluted industrial wastewater: PM told

Counterview Desk
Senior environmentalists of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS), Vadodara, Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant, in an open letter to the Prime Minister, the Gujarat chief minister, the Gujarat chief secretary, and senior Government of India and Gujarat government officials dealing with environment, pollution and climate change have said that the authorities’ response their pleas to take action against the leakages and flow of polluted wastewater from the effluent channels of Central Gujarat industrial areas has met with complete inertia.

Can't go to court with RTI information, rule Ahmedabad authorities: Kankaria accident

By Pankti Jog*
In a shocking reply to an application filed by me, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) authorities have said that the information provided under the Right to Information (RT) Act should be used in court or in a judicial process. The Act is known to be a major tool that enables citizens to seek certified copies of documents, records from any public authority of state and Central government within 30 days, as per provisions of the Act.

Quit India Movement 'betrayal' and dubious role of Hindu Mahasabha, RSS leaders

By Shamsul Islam*
After the recent guillotine of Article 370, Hindutva ideologue Ram Madhav, while celebrating the occasion stated that it was honouring of the sacrifices of Dr Shyam Prasad Mukherjee and thousands others who laid down their lives for its removal. It is to be noted that Dr Mukherjee was a cadre of RSS and was groomed into a Hindutva leader by another Hindutva icon, VD Savarkar.

Strategy for united struggle against Hindutva 'fascism': Ideological silence is 'no option'

By Dr Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
Electoral alliance and opportunism of national and regional political parties, neoliberal economic marginalisation and soft secular Hindutva line pandering to Hindu majoritarianism laid the foundation of Hindutva fascism in post-colonial India.