Skip to main content

Occupational hazards took 186 deaths in Gujarat in 2016: Corporate giants blamed for not protecting workers

Jagdish Patel
By Our Representative
A new estimate, arrived at by a Vadodara-based civil rights organization working on occupational health issues in Gujarat, has estimated that as many as 186 persons have died in 2016 alone in the state because of various occupational hazard diseases. Sourced on vernacular media of South Gujarat, the organization, People’s Training and Research Centre (PTRC), believes that the actual numbers should be “much higher”, as the news items published in the dailies are "based on police complaints."
In a profile of the deaths, PTRC has found that big industries and industrial estates in Gujarat’s chemical hubs account for many of them. The incidents profiled include 1 3 deaths which took place in units runs by top industrial houses -- Adani, Nirma and Reliance.
Thus, on April 28, 2016, seven workers died in the Adani-owned power plant in Mundra, Kutch district, died as a result of explosion in the pipeline leading to the flash tank steam because of obstruction caused by an iron part. It led to hot water at 144 degrees falling on workers, all of whom were migrants from Jharkhand.
Then, four workers in Nirma’s plant on December 10, 2016 near Bhavnagar died because of a blast next to the tank, under which they were working. And two workers died on November 25, 2016, at Jamnagar’s Reliance Industries Ltd during maintenance shutdown. Other spots where incidents took place are Bharuch, Vadodara, Anand, Surat, and Himatnagar.
Bringing this to light on April 28, the International Workers Memorial Day, Jagdish Patel of PTRC, who addressed mediapersons in Ahmedabad, said, “We mourn for the workers who have die during the year in accidents at work as well as occupational diseases, even as pledging to fight for the rights  of those who are have survived.”
Patel said, "The rate of fatal accidents at work in India is 12.35 per 100,000, while rate of fatal accidents at work in India is 15.38 per 100,000 workers, considering 13 lakh workers and average 200 fatally per year."
He added, Considering that in 2013 and 2014, as many as 229 and 259 workers, respectively, died in Gujarat, the rate would still go up. Surat alone reported 35 and 48 fatalities in years 2013 and 2014 respectively. These are highest among all other districts of Gujarat."
Especially referring to the occupational hazard caused by asbestos against the backdrop of the Eighth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Stockholm Convention, Geneva, Switzerland from April 24 to May 5, 2017, Patel said, India is opposing ban on the commodity, which it imports.
Patel said, “Asbestos related diseases are on the not just across India butt also in Gujarat. In Ahmedabad during 2009-2012, 21 cases of mesothelioma were reported at Gujarat Cancer Research Institute, Ahmedabad, while in 2013, in a span of one year, 23 cases of mesothelioma were diagnosed.”
He added, “Mesothelioma is one of the rare cancers caused by exposure to asbestos fibre. Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA), an NGO based in Gujarat, has identified four cases of mesothelioma of which two were employed by an asbestos factory.”
Banned in 55 countries, but not in India, Patel said, “Even Nepal banned asbestos in 2014, while Sri Lanka has declared to ban import of asbestos roof sheets from 2018.India does not mine asbestos. It depends on import from Russia, Kazakhstan and Brazil. Canada was the biggest exporter of asbestos to India but Canada too has banned asbestos export.”
“India is one of world’s largest importers of asbestos. In 2011-12, it has imported over 378,122 tons, 396,493 tons in 2014-15 and by 2017 it is expected to rise by 605,000 tons with 9% growth”, he said.
“In a large number of cases”, regretted Patel, “Those die because of occupational diseases never care to register any complaint with the police. More often than not, such deaths are registered as having happened due to accidents”
Quoting from a 2009 Government of India policy on occupational health, Patel said, “It is the responsibility of the employers to ensure safety and health of the workers who work in factory premises. However, this is seldom done.”
He regretted, "National Human Rights Commission and Supreme Court recommendations for safety at work places have also not been implemented", adding, “There is no effort to rehabilitate those who suffer because of occupational hazard.”

Comments

TRENDING

India performs 'poorly' in Quality of Life Index, ranks 62nd out of 64 countries

Counterview Desk “Expat Insider”, which claims to be one of the world’s most extensive surveys about living and working abroad, in a survey of 20,259 participants from around the globe, has found that of the 64 destinations around the globe, has found that while Taiwan is the best destination for persons living outside their native country, closely by Vietnam and Portugal, India ranks 59th.

India's GDP down by 50%, not 23%, job loss 200 million not 122 million: Top economist

By Our Representative  One of India’s topmost economists has estimated that India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decline was around 50%, and not 23%, as claimed by the Government of India’s top data body, National Statistical Organization (NSO). Prof Arun Kumar, who is Malcolm S Adiseshiah chair professor, Institute of Social Sciences, New Delhi, said this was delivering a web policy speech, organised by the Impact and Policy Research Institute (IMPRI), New Delhi.

Youngest of 16 activists jailed for sedition, Mahesh Raut 'fought' mining on tribal land

By Surabhi Agarwal, Sandeep Pandey* A compassionate human being, always popular among his friends and colleagues because of his friendly nature and human sensitivity, 33-year-old Mahesh Raut, champion of the democratic rights of the marginalised Adivasi people of Gadchiroli, Maharashtra, has been in prison for over two years now.

#StandWithStan: It's about Constitution, democracy and freedom of expression

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  It is more than three weeks now: On the night of October 8, 2020, the 83-year-old Jesuit Fr Stan Swamy was taken into custody by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) from his residence in Ranchi to an undisclosed destination. According to his colleagues, the NIA did not serve a warrant on Fr. Stan and that their behaviour was absolutely arrogant and rude.

Human development index: India performs worse than G-20 developing countries

By Rajiv Shah A new book, “Sustainable Development in India: A Comparison with the G-20”, authored by Dr Keshab Chandra Mandal, has regretted that though India’s GDP has doubled over the last one decade, its human development indicators are worse than not just developed countries of the Group of 20 countries but also developing countries who its members.

Stan Swamy vs Arnab Goswami: Are activists fighting a losing battle? Whither justice?

By Fr Sunil Macwan SJ* It is time one raised pertinent questions over the courts denying bail to Fr Stan Swamy, who was arrested under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA), and granting it to Arnab Goswami, editor-in-chief of the Republic TV, arrested under the charge of abetting suicide of Avay Naik, who ended his life in 2018. It is travesty of justice that a human rights activist is not only denied bail but is also made to wait for weeks to hear a response to his legitimate request for a straw to drink water, while Arnab Goswami walks free.

India among heavily impacted by Covid-19, China 'notoriously' evading transparency

By NS Venkataraman* With the year 2020 inevitably ending in the next few weeks, the thought amongst the people all over the world is whether the coming year 2021 will be free of Covid-19 (often dubbed as Wuhan virus, as it known to have spread from Wuhan in China).In the early 2020, many people thought that Covid-19 would be a localized affair in China but later on, it proved to be a global pandemic.

Namaz in Mathura temple: Haridwar, Ayodhya monks seek Faisal Khan's release

By Our Representative As many as 23 members of the Hindu Voices for Peace (HVP), including the founder president of the well-known Haridwar-based Matri Sadan Ashram, Swami Shivananda Saraswati, and a one of its top monks, Brahmachari Aatmabodhanand, have expressed their “dismay” over the arrest of Khudai Khidmatdar chief Faisal Khan and three others on charges of “promoting enmity between religions” and “defiling a place of worship” after they offered namaz in Mathura’s Nand Baba temple premises on October 29.

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".

Government of India 'refuses' to admit: 52% of bird species show declining trend

Finn's Weaver  By Our Representative The Government of India has been pushing out “misleading” data on the country’s drastic wildlife decline, says a well-researched report, pointing towards how top ministers are hiding data on biodiversity losses, even as obfuscating its own data. It quotes “State of India’s Birds Report 2020” to note that of the 261 out of 867 bird species for which long-term trends could be determined, 52% have declined since the year 2000, with 22% declining strongly.