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

Rushdie, Pamuk, 260 writers tell Modi: Aatish episode casts chill on public discourse

Counterview Desk
As many as 260 writers, journalists, artists, academics and activists across the world, including Salman Rushdie, British Indian novelist, Orhan Pamuk, Turkish novelist and recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize in literature, and Margaret Atwood, Canadian poet and novelist, have called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to review the decision to strip British Indian writer Aatish Taseer of his overseas Indian citizenship.

Church in India 'seems to have lost' moral compass of unequivocal support to the poor

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*
In 2017, Pope Francis dedicated a special day, to be observed by the Universal Church, every year, as the ‘World Day of the Poor’. This year it will be observed on November 17 on the theme ‘The hope of the poor shall not perish for ever’; in a message for the day Pope Francis says:

Visually challenged lady seeks appointment with Gujarat CM, is 'unofficially' detained

By Pankti Jog*
It was a usual noon of November 10. I got a phone call on our Right to Information (RTI) helpline No 9924085000 from Ranjanben of Khambhat, narrating her “disgraceful” experience after she had requested for an appointment with Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani. She wanted to meet Rupani, on tour of the Khambhat area in Central Gujarat as part of his Janvikas Jumbesh (Campaign for Development).

There may have been Buddhist stupa at Babri site during Gupta period: Archeologist

By Rajiv Shah
A top-notch archeologist, Prof Supriya Varma, who served as an observer during the excavation of the Babri Masjid site in early 2000s along with another archeologist, Jaya Menon, has controversially stated that not only was there "no temple under the Babri Masjid”, if one goes “beyond” the 12th century to 4th to 6th century, i.e. the Gupta period, “there seems to be a Buddhist stupa.”

Gujarat refusal to observe Maulana Azad's birthday as Education Day 'discriminatory'

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government decision not to celebrate the National Education Day on !monday has gone controversial. Civil society organizations have particularly wondered whether the state government is shying away from the occasion, especially against the backdrop of "deteriorating" level of education in Gujarat.

VHP doesn't represent all Hindus, Sunni Waqf Board all Muslims: NAPM on SC ruling

Counterview Desk
India's top civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), even as describing the Supreme Court's Ayodhya judgement unjust, has said, it is an "assault on the secular fabric of the Constitution". In a statement signed by top social workers and activists, NAPM said, "The judgement conveys an impression to Muslims that, despite being equal citizens of the country, their rights are not equal before the law."

Violent 'Ajodhya' campaign in 1840s after British captured Kabul, destroyed Jama Masjid

Counterview Desk  Irfan Ahmad, professor at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen, Germany, and author of “Islamism and Democracy in India” (Princeton University Press, 2009), short-listed for the 2011 International Convention of Asian Scholars Book Prize for the best study in Social Sciences, in his "initial thoughts" on the Supreme Court judgment on the Babri-Jam Janmaboomi dispute has said, while order was “lawful”, it was also “awful.”