Skip to main content

Despite NHRC plea, Gujarat govt says there is no need to pay compensation to victims of deadly silicosis

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government has said it has “decided” not to pay Rs 5 lakh each as compensation against five confirmed cases of silicosis death, despite a National Human Right Commission (NHRC) direction to the state officialdom to do so. The workers died five years ago. This has been revealed in reply to a query under the right to information (RTI) to the Peoples Training and Research Center (PTRC), made to chief secretary, Government of Gujarat, Varesh Sinha, on April 7, 2014. The PTRC wished to know whether the state government had made up its mind to pay the amount due to the poor tribal families.
The chief secretary, refusing to directly answer the question, decided to hand over the decision to reply to the state labour and employment department. “In its reply dated April 29, 2014,the state labour and employment department made it clear that the government has decided not to enforce the NHRC recommendation, saying it is not in position to do so”, the PTRC has said, adding, “No reasons have been given. Further, in the reply, the state government has intimated its decision to the NHRC.”
The PTRC filed a complaint before NHRC in 2011 regarding the death of five workers from Dahod district in Gujarat, who had migrated to work in quartz crushing units in Godhra. At Godhra, PTRC said, these workers “were exposed to fine silica dust leading to silicosis, a fatal occupational lung disease.”
“Several workers have succumbed in their youth to the disease”, PTRC said in its statement, adding, “Though the units involved in crushing and polishing of the stone are covered under the employees’ state insurance (ESI) Act, none of them have so far been extended benefits. Survivors of the victims have never received any compensation or relief. As a result, public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in the Supreme Court of India by People's Rights and Social Research Centre (PRASAR) in 2006”.
"In this petition, the Supreme Court passed an interim in May 2009, directing the NHRC to go ahead with confirmed cases of silicosis deaths and order their relief. Following the order, and inspired by it, the PTRC made a plea before the NHRC to ensure payment to the five confirmed cases of death. The NHRC, after a lapse of two years, recommended on October 22, 2013 to the state government to pay Rs 5 lakh to the kin of those who had died. The NHRC sent official communication to the Government of Gujarat in this regard on March 3, 2014 giving six weeks time to enforce the recommendation”, the PTRC said.
Significantly, this was not the only plea to pay compensation. Earlier, in another complaint filed by one Juwan Singh, the NHRC directed the Government of Gujarat to pay Rs 3 lakh to each of the 238 families from Madhya Pradesh against the death of as many persons who in the state. “The Government of Gujarat argued that the workers from Madhya Pradesh may have worked in another state and got exposed to silica dust, hence it should not be held responsible for these deaths. That recommendation too has not been enforced”, PTRC’s Jagdish Patel said.
Patel wonders, “Is it this the much talked about Gujarat model? On one hand it has failed, in the name of good governance, to comply by provisions of the Factories Act by refusing to monitor silica dust and keep a tab on workers’ health. It has not ensured that the owners issue I-cards to the workers, are enrolled under the ESI Act, or are paid minimum wages. On the other, it is refusing to pay the relief amount, as recommended by NHRC.”

Comments

TRENDING

Nobel laureates join international figures, seek release of Bhima Koregaon accused activists

Nobel laureates Olga Tokarczuk,  Wole Soyinka Counterview Desk  As many as 57 top international personalities, including Nobel laureates, academics, human rights defenders, lawyers cultural personalities, and members of Parliament of European countries, have urged the Prime Minister and the Chief Justice of India to ensure immediate release of human rights defenders in India “into safe conditions”.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Top ex-Gujarat babu tells Modi: Not yoga but solar system is our biggest source of energy

By Rajiv Shah  An email alert to Counterview from a top ex-IAS bureaucrat, termed as Gujarat’s turnaround man for revamping loss-making state public sector undertakings (PSUs), has sought to take a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remark on the Yoga day – that the ancient Indian exercise provides an “infinite solutions” within ourselves, offering “the biggest source of energy in the universe.”

Hunger, lack of food security behind India's 'slip' in UN's sustainable development rank

By Dr Gian Singh*  According to a report released by the United Nations on June 6, 2021, India's ranking of achieving Sustainable Development based on the 17 Social Development Goals (SDGs) set by the 193 countries in the 2003 agenda, which was 115th last year, has slipped to 117th position this year. India ranks not only the lowest among the BRICS countries -- Brazil, the Russian Federation, India, China, and South Africa but also below the four South Asian countries -- Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bangladesh.

Collapse of healthcare system? Why 90% of Covid patients treated at home survived

By Bobby Ramakant, Sandeep Pandey* Well known Hindustani classical singer Padma Vibhu shan Channulal Mishra, chosen as one of the proposers of Narendra Modi in Lok Sabha elections, lost his wife and elder daughter to Covid in private hospitals in Varanasi. Younger daughter has accused Medwin Hospital of charging Rs 1.5 lakh for treatement of her sister and not being able to explain the cause of death. Pandit Channulal Mishra has asked for a probe into his daughter’s death from the Chief Minister. The family has also asked for the CCTV footage of the ward where deceased daughter was admitted for a week.

Rooted in mistrust? Covid-19’s march into rural India is a very different ball game

By Sudhir Katiyar* As the Covid-19 virus penetrates rural India, the rural communities are responding very differently from their urban counterparts who rushed to the hospitals. The rural communities are avoiding the public health facilities and any mention of the disease. The note argues that this supposedly irrational response is based on a deep-seated mistrust of the state by the rural communities. It can not be resolved with routine Information, Education and Communication (IEC) measures suggested in the Government of India SOP for tackling Covid-19 in rural areas.

Courageous, in-depth attempt to confirm common spiritual values of Christ, Buddha

By RB Sreekumar, IPS*  All religions, both theistic and atheistic designed conceptual and practical architecture, for holistic and comprehensive elevation and enlightenment of humanity. PK Vijayan, in his novel “Nirvana of Jesus Christ” (Notion Press, 2020) through creative imagination portrayed personality evolution of the two progenitors of God-centric and sagaciously logical major religions – Jesus Christ of Christianity and Gautama Buddha of Buddhism.

Why hasn't Govt of India responded to US critique of freedom of religion under Modi?

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* About two weeks ago, on May 12, 2021, the US Secretary of State Antony J Blinken released in Washington the ‘2020 International Religious Freedom Report.’ This official annual report of the US Government details the status of religious freedom in nearly 200 foreign countries and territories and describes US actions to support religious freedom worldwide. Mandated by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998, this report highlights the fact that ‘religious freedom is both a core American value and a universal human right’.

Covid fear? Cremation rituals gone upside down, Dalits asked to do Brahminical rituals

By Abhay Jain, Sandeep Pandey*  As Covid consumes human life in a very conspicuous way we are confronted with additional problem of disposing of human corpses. Cremation grounds are lit with continuous pyres, graveyards are running out of land and now Ganga has become a mass grave potentially polluting its water.