Skip to main content

Silicosis deaths: Rejecting plea for higher compensation, Gujarat govt distributes 13 Rs 1 lakh cheques to victims' kin

By Our Representative
After a long wait of nine years, the Gujarat government finally began distributing Rs 1 lakh as compensation against the death of agate workers who died of the deadly occupational disease, silicosis. Rejecting the demand to raise the compensation to Rs 3 lakh, the government labour officer (rural) went to Khambhat to distribute cheques to 13 families of those who had died of the disease after working in agate factories.
The People’s Training and Research Centre (PTRC), which has been advocating the cause of the silicosis victims in Gujarat, especially in Khambhat region, has said that, after a long period of discussions, in 2014 the state labour and employment department “passed and published resolution to pay Rs 1 lakh towards relief to the families of Agate workers dying of Silicosis. The resolution is applicable from 2006.”
“One of the beneficiaries Jashiben rushed from Ahmedabad to Khambhat to receive the cheque. She lost her husband Purshottambhai Vankar. Expressing her satisfaction she said that she passed through tremendous difficulties and this amount is a great help to her”, the PTRC said, adding, “She thanked PTRC for working for the welfare of agate workers.”
Speaking at the function organized for the agate worker,s Jagdish Patel, PTRC director, called it a “historical moment in the long history of struggle for social justice for these workers.” However, he added, this is only “the first step and lot more needs to be done.”
There is a strong demand by the silicosis affected workers to pay them relief when they are still alive as they pass through great difficulties. And if states like Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh can do this, why not Gujarat?”, Patel wondered. Even as he said this, government labour officer MK Sayed was extending his wishes to the beneficiaries, the PTRC said.
“For the last more than 50 years, agate workers keep dying of silicosis. Consistent struggle by PTRC has helped recognize the problem by the state”, PTRC said, adding, “In 2007 PTRC initiated weekly clinic to screen the exposed agate workers. The Karamsad Medical College offered free service for diagnosis, while cardiac care center, Khamabhat, provide free X-rays to the workers.”
“This helped test more than 1,200 workers tested for silicosis. Of thise, more than 300 workers have been found tested positive, out of which over 100 have succumbed to their lung injury”, PTRC said, adding, “Now, the state health department has set up infrastructure for diagnosis of silicosis at local level, which needs to be strengthened further.”
Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s talk of development, PTRC said, this was the “right time” for the state government to show up and give “serious thought” to develop and modernize the agate industry.
“The industry need to be helped for its transformation from unorganized to organized form, so that workers can be taken better care of their safety and health at work, as well as their social security”, PTRC said.

Comments

TRENDING

Australia least prepared to fight Hindu 'extremism', admits diaspora NGO group

Tiranga rally in Sydney: Cause of stir among diaspora By Our Representative  The Australian Alliance Against Hate and Violence (AAAHAV) has said that Australia is “least prepared” to counter the allegedly “rising threat of Hindu far right extremism”. Calling upon politicians, federal and state governments to “urgently recognise the threat far-right Hindu extremism”, it asks “to take concrete steps to address this threat.”

Young environmentalist's arrest 'sinister', even parents not told of her whereabouts

By Our Representative  The Coalition for Environmental Justice in India (CEJI), a civil society network, has said that it is “highly disturbing” that Disha Ravi, a young woman climate activist from Bengaluru was “picked up” in what is referred to as a “closely guarded operation” of the Delhi police. Disha, 21, has been remanded to police custody for five days after she was taken from Bengaluru to Delhi.

Mukesh Ambani's earnings during Covid 'can lift' 40% informal workers out of poverty

By Dr Gian Singh*  The Inequality Virus Report released by Oxfam, a non-profit organization, on January 25, 2021 on the growing inequalities in different parts of the world, sheds light on the growing economic, educational, healthcare and gender inequalities in India. The report has revealed that the wealth of billionaires has increased by 35 per cent during the lockdown period in the country.

US forensic revelation enough evidence to release Sudha Bharadwaj, others: Civicus

Counterview Desk  Civicus, a Johannesburg-based global alliance of civil society organisations and activists claiming to have presence in 175 countries with 9,000 members and working for strengthening citizen action, has sought immediate release of Sudha Bharadwaj, arrested in 2018 under the anti-terror Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and accused of having links with the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

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.

Golwalkar's views on tricolour, martyrs, minorities, caste as per RSS archives

By Shamsul Islam*  First time in the history of independent India, the in-charge minister of the Cultural Ministry in the current Modi government, Prahlad Singh Patel, has glorified MS Golwalkar, second supremo of the RSS and the most prominent ideologue of the RSS till date, on his birth anniversary, February 19. In a tweet he wrote : “Remembering a great thinker, scholar, and remarkable leader #MSGolwalkar on his birth anniversary. His thoughts will remain a source of inspiration & continue to guide generations.”

'Bird, take me flying with you too!' Being Devangana Kalita

By Ashley Tellis*  I first met Devangana Kalita in a first year English Honours classroom in which I entered to teach Charles Dickens’ Hard Times in Miranda House, Delhi University, in 2008. She was one of the smartest students in the class – Devangana smiled the most and had the brightest twinkle in her eyes of the girls in the class. A middle class girl – Kalita comes from a family in upper Assam, the Kalitas along with the Brahmins dominate Assam (the Bamon-Kolita nexus as it is called) – in an elite all women’s institution known for a feminist, rebellious history. Like all institutions, it was repressive; like all all-women institutions, particularly so. But Miranda House had met its match in Devangana. She organised, protested, all within the democratic tradition resisted. The seeds of Pinjra Tod, the group Devangana was to eventually co-found, and which now finds her jailed for as absurd a reason as inciting a ‘riot’ were already sown in that first year. By the third year, they

20% of FIRs against journalists in 2020 alone, targeted attacks in 2021 'too many to count'

Counterview Desk  Condemning what it calls “alarming rise in state repression and clampdown on news outlets and journalists” that “expose” the anti-people nature of the establishment, India's top civil society network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has demanded “immediate release of arrested journalists, withdrawal of arbitrary charges and protection of media persons facing threats.”

Whither right to food? Social security scheme allocation for woman, child 'reduced'

Counterview Desk Pointing out that women and children have been ignored in the Union Budget 2021-22, the advocacy group Right to Food Campaign (RtFC) has said that the Government of India should have taken into account the fact that even after the lockdown was lifted, distress among marginalized communities continues, with people having lower incomes and reduced food consumption.

NAPM extends support to Indian, Aussie citizen groups 'opposing' Adani ventures

#StopAdani action in Australia  Counterview Desk  The civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), extending solidarity to the global campaign by the Youth Action to Stop Adani (YAStA), held in recently in Australia and India, has said that the effort was to bring more attention to the struggle aboriginal, indigenous peoples, farmers, working class and other oppressed communities against allegedly anti-people multinational corporate conglomerates.