Skip to main content

Gujarat govt "admits" 27 deaths due to deadly silicosis in Khambhat taluka, NHRC sends report, awaits reply

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government's official records, quoted by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), have admitted that, in Khambhat taluka of Anand district alone, during the six years, from 2010 to 2015, as many as 27 workers suffering from the deadly silicosis or silico tuberculosis (TB) died because of their work in agate units.
Quoting official records, the NHRC – whose team visited Khambhat taluka last year in order to detect a complaint from Jagdish Patel of the People's Research and Training Centre (PTRC), Vadodara, about the failure of the state government to recognize intensity of the disease – said, in all 2,371 workers were “medically examined” during the period in question, and of these 43 silico TB and 22 silicosis cases were detected. Of these “27 workers died”.
PTRC's Patel told Counterview, “The NHRC has already sent the report to the Gujarat government, which is sitting on it for the last eight months. I have written to the NHRC to expedite our demand that the minimum compensation to be paid should be Rs 4 lakh per death, apart from Rs 1 lakh to each silicosis/ silico TB patient.” 
Giving a breakup the spread of the disease, the NHRC said in its report based on the visit of the team, that, in 2010, 778 workers were medically examined, of which 11 silico TB and 8 silicosis cases were detected. In 2011, 83 workers were medically examined, out of which 4 silico TB and 4 silicosis cases were detected. In 2012, 26 workers were medically examined, out of which 1 silico TB and 1 silicosis cases were detected.”
Further: “In 2013, 240 workers were medically examined out of which 4 silico TB and 1 silicosis cases were detected. In 2014, 466 workers were medically examined in which 18 silico TB and 7 silicosis cases were detected. And in 2015, 778 workers were medically examined out of which 5 silico TB and 1 silicosis cases were detected.”
The NHRC team, which took testimony of next of kin (NoK) of about a dozen workers who died due to the deadly disease, said, as per the data provided by the district TB officer, district Anand, out of 59 applications which were processed for compensation of Rs 1 lakh each against the death of each silicosis or silico TB patient, only in 20 cases the compensation has been paid.
On the other hand, it says, 39 applications for financial assistance were “rejected”, five because of “incomplete record where names of candidates were not included” and the rest “on the ground of non-silicosis lung disease”.
The report comes amidst the state government's loud claiming that there are “no silicosis cases in Khambhat” because there are “registered units” working in the town. “The state government said this during a recent presentation before the Government of India on the deadly occupational disease”, said Patel.
The NHRC took a total of 34 testimonies of patients suffering from silicosis or silico TB who contracted the disease working in agate industry in Khambhat town and the rural areas of Khambhat taluka.
During the testimonies, one of the NoK said that “there is no other opportunity for employment in Khambhat”, hence they were “forced to work in agate processing units”. A patient told the NHRC team that though the government doctors “briefed” him and his relatives of silicosis and its causes, he continued working in an agate unit for livelihood.
Others variously complained that they were “never been cautioned about the risk of grinding agate”, that no one from labour or factory department “ever visited him” despite suffering from the deadly disease, that there was no medical examination to rule out silicosis, and that there are many home-based agate processing units in the residential areas.

Comments

TRENDING

Top upper caste judges 'biased' towards Dalit colleagues: US Bar Association report

By Rajiv Shah  A high profile report prepared by the influential  American Bar Association (ABA) Center for Human Rights , taking note of the fact that “in the 70-year history of the Indian Republic, only six Dalit judges have been appointed to the Supreme Court”, has taken strong exception to what it calls “lack of representation of Dalits” in the legal profession and the judiciary.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam* RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Billion vaccine doses? Devil is in details: 70% haven't got 2nd jab; numbers jacked up

By Prof Ujjwal K Chowdhury*  India has reached the one billion Covid-19 vaccinations milestone. It is indeed a great news and a big salute to the less paid ordinary health-workers in interiors of India for this feat. The government wants all of India's 944 million adults to get vaccinated this year. Around three-quarters of adults in the country of 1.3 billion people have had one shot and around 30 percent are fully vaccinated, the government says.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

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".

Failure of 'trickle down theory' behind India's poor Global Hunger Index rating

By Dr Gian Singh*  On October 14, 2021, two organisations, Concern Worldwide (An Irish aid agency) and WeltHungerHilfe (a German organization that researches the problem of global hunger), jointly published the Global Hunger Index (GHI) for 2021. These organizations have included 116 countries in the world hunger rankings.

Global Hunger Index: Govt of India response pathetic, 'lacks' scientific empirical evidence

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* Come 16 October – and the world once again focused on the most basic need for a person’s survival: food! The first World Food Day was observed in 1994, to mark the launch of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. Ever since, the day is marked to highlight the need and importance of food security across the world. The significance is accentuated especially in these difficult times like the C-19 povidandemic. The theme for 2021 is ‘Safe Food Now for a Healthier Tomorrow’, emphasising on the various immediate and long-term benefits of consuming safe and healthy food.

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.

Fresh efforts to subsume Buddhism within Hindu fold 'undermining' Ambedkar

By Aviral Anand*  From Yeola in 1935, when Dr Ambedkar announced that he would not die a Hindu, to Nagpur in 1956 when he converted to Buddhism, is a considerable distance in time. But, there was in him a need to make a public announcement in 1935 about moving away from Hinduism. 

March opposes Sabarmati Ashram renovation: 'Mahatmaji had kept open for access to all'

Counterview Desk A Sevagram to Sabarmati march, which began on October 17 from Wardha (Maharashtra) and will end on October 24 in Ahmedabad (Gujarat), has demanded that the Sabarmati Ashram, the government should not impose "the fashion and glitz of a shallow modernity" at the cost of Rs 1,200 crore, in the name of renovating the Ashram founded by Gandhiji.

Nehru legacy? GDP-centric growth has had 'no positive impact' on people's livelihood

By Dr Kamal Nayan Kabra*  Experience has shown that many counties adopt measures to go in for the growth of their GDP, basically in the existing framework, though also going in for, at the same time, new products and technologies and similar other changes. It is believed that by means of this process enough new job opportunities would emerge to meet the economy’s needs both in terms of numbers as also in terms of the requisite remuneration (wages) as also the supplies of the goods and services to maintain the economy on an even keel.