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

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.

India reaches 8th of 10 stage genocide: US Muslim advocacy group raises 'alert'

By Hena Zuberi* India has reached the 8th stage of genocide with the persecution of the Muslim community. Stating this, Professor Greg Stanton, who heads Genocide Watch, declared a Genocide Emergency Alert for India today at Justice For All online briefing.

Anti-poor? 'Cumbersome' to link aadhaar, voter ID for people sans internet access

By Prashant Kumar Chaudhary, Ajit Kumar Jaiswal*  At present, technology plays an increasingly crucial part in modelling human existence by offering a variety of solutions to many of the challenges individuals confront in the real world. As a result, every branch of research works to provides means to solve these difficulties precisely and efficiently. The Central government works along the same lines as well.

'Dargah site was a temple': Claim in Gujarat following post-Babri verdict demands in UP

By Rajiv Shah  Will Gujarat also see demands to replace mosques and dargahs with Hindu temples? It would seem so, if a new fact-finding team conclusion is any indication. Apprehending the “danger” of communal conflagration, it has cited the claim on a 15th century dargah was originally a Hindu temple – allegedly quite on line with what has been happening in UP following the Supreme Court verdict on Babri Mosque.

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.

Why Church in India today needs a Rutilio Grande, martyred for stance on social justice

By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ*  For the people of El Salvador, January 22, 2022 will be more than just a red-letter day. Three of their sons, Jesuit Fr Rutilio Grande and his two lay associates 72-year-old Manuel Solorzano and 15-year-old Nelson Rutilio Lemus (and Italian Franciscan missionary Fr Cosme Spessotto who was also martyred) will be beatified in San Salvador.

Sweden-backed study: India won't achieve 2030 UN goals, officials can't recognise SDG

By Rajiv Shah  A Swedish Society for Nature Conservation (SSNC)-sponsored study, carried out by the advocacy group Consumer Unity & Trust Society (CUTS) India, seeking to analyse the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) No 12, Responsible Consumption and Production (RCP), has regretted, it is "very unlikely" India will achieve any of the targets of SDG 12 by 2030 "unless some serious measures are taken by the government to reverse the present trend."

Gender insensitive? Model Gujarat's cyclone relief package ignores 40,000 fisherwomen

CSJ volunteers talking to fisherwomen By Rajiv Shah  A Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) note on the Gujarat government’s compensation package to the victims of the devastating Tauktae cyclone, which hit the coastal belt of Saurashtra's Amerli, Rajula, Una, and Gir-Somnath districts in May 2021, has said, the relief offered was so terribly inadequate that many of the fisherfolk were not able to fish for the rest of the year.

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam* In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

Haridwar call for genocide direct result of Modi 'tolerating' Islamophobic policies

By Our Representative  A high-level briefing organised in Washington DC, in which as many as 17 human rights and interfaith organizations -- including Amnesty International USA, Genocide Watch and Hindus for Human Rights, apart from several persons in their individual capacity -- participated, has come down heavily on what they called "Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Islamophobic policies and tolerance of open incitement by Hindu extremists for a genocide of Muslims."