Skip to main content

European Union told to ask India to "stop" child, forced labour in granite mine units, exporting stone to West, China

By Our Representative
Prajapati, 14, a migrant boy belonging to the Adipathi scheduled tribe (ST), works in a granite quarry in Telangana. Belonging to Thapagada village in Malkangiri district, Odisha, he completed his primary school and dropped out. His father received an "advance" of Rs 2000 from a middleman, and sent Prajapati along with some other boys of his village for work in a granite quarry at Bahupet village in Telangana.
“Many young boys like me from my village are working in granite quarries and factories around Karimnagar town,” Prajapati told a group of researchers, who have authored the report, “The Dark Sites of Granite: Modern slavery, child labour and unsafe work in Indian granite quarries”.
Prepared jointly by the Glocal Research (Hyderabad), India Committee of the Netherlands (Utrecht) and Stop Child Labour (The Hague), the report wants the European Union (EU), its member countries and other governments, importing granite from India, to “oblige” companies to be transparent about their supply chain by performing “a human rights due diligence” in line with the International Labour Organization’s (ILO’s) “forced labour protocol.”
“European member states and the European Commission should raise the issue of child labour and forced labour with the Indian government in order to come to joint solutions for failing implementation of labour rights legislation and UN Guiding Principles”, it insists.
Noting complacency on the part of granite importing companies, the report regrets, only five of the 31 identified buying companies are “member of a business and human rights initiative active in the natural stone sector”, adding, “For all other identified buyers, no information on policies on human rights and/or labour rights were found on their company website.”
“Furthermore”, it laments, “Only five companies and one bank reacted to the request to review the draft chapters of this report and provided additional information about their company policies and measures aiming at addressing human rights violations in their supply chain.”
This is especially important because, the report says, half of the total world exports of granite come from India, making India by far the largest global exporter of the commodity. While China is the biggest importer, around 31%, the report notes, Germany is India’s biggest European export market for granite, followed by Italy, UK Poland and Belgium.
Pointing out that the granite exporting companies in South India are largely concentrated in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu, and granite is mainly shipped from the port in Chennai, the report, based on a field survey among workers of 22 sample quarries, notes existence of “debt bondage, a form of modern-day slavery”, as “a major issue of concern in granite quarries.”
“Nearly 25% of the workers, most of them from quarries located in Telangana and Karnataka, are recruited by providing loans, which carry interest rates of 24% to 36% per year”, the reports says, adding, “In Telangana about 42% of the local workers and 58% of the migrant workers interviewed reported that they owe large sums of money varying from Rs 10000 to Rs 20000 to quarry owners or contractors and they therefore have been working with the same quarry for more than two years.”
Revealing that “migrants constitute 70% of the workforce in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana”, the report says, migrant workers are preferred over locals as they are considered more obedient, work longer hours, do not switch employers frequently, accept lower than minimum wages, and “are able to work flexible and longer hours as they often have fewer social or familial commitments”.
While noting that child labour in stone quarrying has lately gone done, the report says, its instances were “found in the researched quarries”. 
Thus, “out of the 22 sample quarries, the employment of children below 18 years in core quarry activities is observed in seven quarries.”
“Child labour in waste stone processing is still prevalent”, the report says, adding, “Children below 14 years account for nearly 3% of the workforce in waste stone processing and 5% of the workforce is between 15 and 18 years old.”
Pointing out that “occupational health and safety” are a serious issue of concern in stone quarrying, the report says, “More than 80% of the workers interviewed were of the opinion that health and safety is the most severe issue in granite quarrying and processing.”

Comments

Jagdish Patel said…
Congratulations to the three organizations which worked together to prepare this report. I also congratulate COUNTRERVEWI for bringing this report to the wider community through his blog. Granite contains huge amount of silica. Exposure to silica dust can lead to fatal lung disease SILICOSIS. Unfortunately we do not receive reports of silicosis from among granite workers.
Anonymous said…
Stop child labour**

TRENDING

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".

Did Modi promote Dholavira, a UNESCO site now, as Gujarat CM? Facts don't tally

By Rajiv Shah  As would generally happen, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tweet – that not only was he “absolutely delighted” with the news of UNESCO tag to Dholavira, but he “ first visited ” the site during his “student days and was mesmerised by the place” – is being doubted by his detractors. None of the two tweets, strangely, even recalls once that it’s a Harappan site in Gujarat.

Labelling a Jesuit a Marxist? It's like saying if you use a plane, you become American

Jesuits: Cedric Prakash, Stan Swamy By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* A thirteen- fourteen-year-old has many dreams! That's an impressionable age; at the cusp of finishing school. It is also a time when one tastes a different kind of freedom: to go for camps with boys of your own age (not with ones family). Such camps and outings were always enjoyed to the hilt. The ones, however, which still remain etched in my memory are the mission camps to the Jesuit missions in Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Giant conglomerates 'favoured': Whither tribal rights for jal-jungle-jameen?

Prafull Samantara By Mohammad Irshad Ansari*  The struggle for “Jal, Jungle and Jameen” has been a long-drawn battle for the tribal communities of India. This tussle was once again in the limelight with the proposed diamond mining in the Buxwaha forest of Chhatarpur (Madhya Pradesh). The only difference in this movement was the massive social media support it gained, which actually seems to tilt the scale for the tribal people in a long time.

If not Modi, then who? Why? I (an ordinary citizen) am there! Main hoon naa!

By Mansee Bal Bhargava*  The number of women ministers is doubled in early July from the first term after cabinet reshuffle by the present government led by Narendra Modi. While there were 06 women ministers in the previous term, this term there are 11. The previous two governments led by Dr Manmohan Singh had 10 women ministers in each tenure. Are these number of women ministers something to rejoice in the near 75 years of independence? Yes maybe, if we think that things are slowly improving in the patriarchal system. This change is less likely to achieve gender balance in the parliament otherwise we require more than 11 as per the 33% reservation . This change is also less likely because the men politicians’ inability to handle the country’s mess is becoming more and more evident and especially during the corona crisis. Seems, the addition of more women ministers may be a result of the recent assembly elections where women played a decisive role in the election results. For example

Effluent discharge into deep sea? Modi told to 'reconsider' Rs 2275 crore Gujarat project

Counterview Desk  In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, well-known Gujarat-based environmentalist, Mahesh Pandya of the Paryavaran Mitra, has protested against the manner in with the Gujarat government is continuing with its deep sea effluent disposal project despite environmental concerns.

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.

Gujarat govt gender insensitive? Cyclone package for fisherfolk 'ignores' poor women

By Our Representative A memorandum submitted to the Gujarat government by various fisherfolk associations of the Saurashtra region of Gujarat under the leadership of Ahmedabad NGO Centre for Social Justice's senior activist Arvind Khuman, who is based in Amreli, has suggested that the relief package offered to the fishermen affected by the Tauktae cyclone is not only inadequate, it is also gender insensitive.

Debt bondage, forced labour, sexual abuse in Gujarat's Bt cottonseed farms: Dutch study

By Rajiv Shah  A just-released study, sponsored by a Netherlands-based non-profit, Arisa , “Seeds of Oppression Wage sharecropping in Bt cottonseed production in Gujarat, India”, has said that a new form of bondage, or forced labour, exists in North India’s Bt cottonseed farms, in which bhagiyas, or wage sharecroppers, are employed against advances and are then often required to work for years together “without regular payment of wages.”

Tussle between Modi-led BJP govt, Young India 'key to political battle': NAPM

Counterview Desk  In its month-long campaign, civil rights network National Alliance for People’s Movements (NAPM) carried out what it called Young People's Political Persecution and Resistance in “solidarity with all comrades facing political persecution and remembering human rights defender Stan Swamy…”