Skip to main content

589 silicosis deaths in 3 Madhya Pradesh districts. Reason: "Distress" tribal migration to Gujarat's quartz units

By Rajiv Shah
Tracking patients suffering from silicosis over the last four years in Madhya Pradesh's Alirajpur, Jhabua and Dhar, a state-based non-government organization (NGO) has said in a new report that a total of 589 people have died in 105 villages of the three districts because of the deadly disease in 2015. The report was finalized in April 2016.
Titled “Destined to Die: Status of Silicosis Patients in 3 Tribal Dominated Districts of Madhya Pradesh”, the report, which is based on what is called action research survey carried out by an NGO network Nai Shuruwat, claims that all these patients caught silicosis while working over 10 years in 35 “listed quartz crushing factories” located in the Kheda, Vadodara and Panchmahal districts of Gujarat.
Done in association with Silicosis Peedit Sangh and Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, the survey, which seeks to give the overall socio-economic status of 1,219 patients on the basis of individual interviews, says that most of them are tribals and were forced to migrate “in search of livelihood because of lack of livelihood option”.
“Around these years, as per data available data, out-migration had reached more than 70% in these districts”, the report says, adding, “Multiple members from each family ended up working in factories which had employed these people without any proper documents and provided them with no registration or identification of having had worked there.”
Insisting that these factories “broke all possible protocols of employee safety standards, exposing their employees to huge amounts of silica dust”, the report says, “The people started falling ill in months and contracted silicosis.” 
Worse, several of the tribal families have had “to sell their land, livestock, and incurred heavy debts in order to pay for the treatment of a disease which is incurable”, with the government failing to provide any health facilities to the those suffering from silicosis, an “incurable disease”.
According to the survey, “A minute 7% of the total affected families got work under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in 2011, 7.6% in 2012, which dwindled down to 3.2% in 2013, 1.2% in 2014 and 0.7% in 2015.”
“This depicts a complete failure on the part of the Madhya Pradesh government to implement the MGNREGA scheme and provide employment to its people within their villages”, the NGO comments, adding, “Due to lack of irrigation facilities, the agriculture here is largely rain-fed, and thus people depend on a single crop. People need to find work for the rest of the year to support their families.”
The survey says, “Only 19.7% families received some kind of standard pensions (widow/old age/disability etc.) for a period of time and now only 10% receives these pensions (the rate of discontinuation is more than 49%).”
Worse, it adds, “Nobody received the Rs 1,500 monthly pension, as mentioned by the Madhya Pradesh government in their reply to the Supreme Court in March 2015.”
The survey finds that while 21.2% of the affected families were granted housing under the Indira Awaas Yojana, only “6% got both installments to build a house”, adding, while 32.9% patients had Deen Dayal Treatment card, just about 4.7% had the ‘silicosis priority’ stamps on their cards, as recommended in the Silicosis Policy of the Madhya Pradesh of 2011.
The survey blames “serious oversight” on the part of the Gujarat government “to allow these unregulated factories to run and continue employing people.” It adds, “Both states (Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh) should be accountable for the continuing loss of lives of poor and marginalized tribal communities.”

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”.

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".

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.

Russia, China to call the shots in Middle East, as Muslim nations turn into house of cards

By Haider Abbas* Only a naive would buy that the ‘situation of ceasefire’ between the State of Israel and Hamas would continue, as if the foiled attempt to demolish Al Aqsa this time, is not be repeated, if not in any near future then in sometime to come. Israel already has spurned the ‘ceasefire’ by storming Al Aqsa after the Friday prayers on May 21.

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.

Modi-led regime 'contributed' 60% to rise of global poverty, yet Hindutva is intact

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak* In recent years, the Hindutva politics has caused long term damage to India and Indians. The so called 56-inch macho PM, the propaganda master manufactures and survives all political crisis including the current mismanagement of the Coronavirus pandemic in India. In spite of deaths and destitutions, the social, cultural, economic and religious base of Hindutva is intact.

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.

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.

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’.