Skip to main content

84 fatal accidents, 114 deaths in three years in textile units in Surat, Gujarat: Study supported by German inst

By Rajiv Shah
While a lot is known about fatal accidents caused in Gujarat’s premier shipbreaking yard at Alang because of lack of occupational safety, a yet-to-be-published study “Labour Conditions in Surat Textile Industry", supported by Bonn-based Südwind Institute for Economics and Ecumenism, is all set to create a flutter. It has estimated that, in the last three years, 84 fatal accidents have been reported in registered textile processing units in Surat, in which 114 workers died.
Based on a Right to Information (RTI) replies to a query filed in 2016, the data supplied by the Directorate Industrial Safety and Health, Gujarat, further suggest that as many as 375 workers were seriously injured in accidents in these units.
Authored by Jagdish Patel of the People’s Training and Research Centre (PTRC), a Vadodara-based advocacy group focused on occupational health, the study says these data do no provide a complete picture as “a large number of units are not registered.”
A scan through the newspaper clippings by PTRC also suggested that “121 workers died and 126 injured in the textile industry in Surat during 2012-15”, the study says. “Most news of injury at work does not reach the newspapers and people at large” since a large number of units “are not registered”, it adds.
Suggesting that there appears to be little awareness about the need to fight the such high accidents, which have continued over the years, and yet the officialdom has remained indifferent, the study says that during 1991-95 as many as 100 fatal accidents took place in Surat. Then, in 2007 and 2008, the study adds, 46 and 36 accidents respectively were reported in Surat.
“These figures speak of the occupational health and safety situation in the textile factories in Surat”, the study says. An analysis of the reasons behind the accidents by it suggests that between 2012 and 2015, of the 121 fatal accidents, 30 took place because of burns, followed by electrocution (27), and what has been called “crushed between two surfaces” (23).
Other reasons for deaths reported include asphyxiation, fall from height, fire and explosion, mechanical injury, gassed, and so on. Giving the example of how these accidents become fatal because of the very nature of the factories, the study quotes the instance of a power loom unit on Ashvini Kumar Road in Surat located in Suryapur Industrial Estate caught fire on October 3, 2015 at 11:45 am.
During the accident except one worker on the second floor -- Nila Nayaka (45) and a male worker -- Krishna Limja (65) on the third floor, all the others could come out safely. The fire brigade rescued the two, but the woman died of asphyxiation.
The study explains, “The fire started on the second floor and spread to the third floor. Machines had been arranged without leaving much distance between two machines and this congested the walkways. Raw material and finished products were also stored on walkways. There were 20 workers in the unit. Workers on the ground floor could get out but workers on the second and third floors were trapped.”
Pointing out that in most cases those who die or are injured are not adequately compensated, the study quotes the instance of one Ajay Raju Yadav, 18, who met with an accident at work in June 2011. Yadav was employed in an embroidery unit. His left hand got entangled in the nip of the roll of the press machine while charging the machine with ladies dress material. Three of his fingers got amputated and the fourth is almost dead.
“A medical expert assessed his disability to be 47%. He was not compensated. The unit was covered under the Employees’ State Insurance (ESI) Act but the particular worker was not issued identity card under the Act”, the study says.
It was only after a long drawn out battle, carried out by a textile workers’ association, a local court passed an order in May 2013 to pay Rs.2,88,685 towards compensation with interest at the rate of 9% (Rs 86,605) as penalty, and Rs1,000 as cost of the claim. This made the employer to fire the worker. A hearing on the the case continues till date.

Comments

Uma Sheth said…
Frankly, the fact that the workers are not protected does not surprise me. I have seen men and women working on building and road construction sites without any protection. Stories of civic workers contracting fatal diseases or dying while working in the gutters abound. Every time there is a hue and cry for a while (with politicians in opposition crying loudest) and then everything dies down.

What surprises me is that this is happening in Modi's Gujarat. What was he doing while he was CM?

TRENDING

US research: 40% of India's casteist Facebook posts are anti-reservation, anti-Dalit

By Rajiv Shah
A recent American civil society research has found that 40% of India's casteist posts on Facebook (FB) have anti-reservation slant. Asserting that the reservation policy in India is similar to affirmative action in the United States, the research study, titled "Facebook India: Towards The Tipping Point of Violence Caste and Religious Hate Speech", says, this type of hate content on FB is mainly directed against Dalits and Adivasis.

Sanjiv Bhatt paying price for deposing on Modi role in Gujarat riots: Wife Shweta

Counterview Desk
Following the Jamnagar sessions court ordering life imprisonment to former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt for his alleged involvement in three decades old custodial death case, his wife Shweta Bhatt has said that he has been sentenced for a “for a crime he did not commit”, even as criticizing the Indian Police Service (IPS) Association, Gujarat, for not standing up for him.

Senior advocates targeted because they took up cases against Amit Shah: Lawyers' NGO

Counterview Desk
The Lawyers Collective (LC), an NGO claiming to promote human rights issues, has expressed surprise at the latest move by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to register an FIR against the Lawyers Collective (LC), its president Anand Grover and unknown office bearers for alleged violation of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA).

How Gujarat govt imposed curbs on livestock export for 'fear' of losing BJP vote share

By RK Misra*
Insidious are the ways authorities function, preaching one thing, practicing quite another. Administrative muscle-flexing to suit political goals was on display when the BJP-led Vijay Rupani government in Gujarat banned the export of livestock days ahead of Eid. Even the Narendra Modi-led government expressed its intent to confirm it countrywide, but stopped short of doing so.

One of the least peaceful countries, India's global peace ranking deteriorates: Report

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released report has asserted that India's ranking in the Global Peace Index (GPI) is 141st among 163 countries, deteriorating by four ranks in a year. Ranking 163 countries by providing a score to each, the report, prepared by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), headquartered in Sydney, Australia, has found India to be one of the least peaceful nations in the region.

Demand for Bharat Ratna to Dalai Lama as top RSS leader warns China of 'strong' action

Nava Thakuria*
Dharamshala: Indian supporters for a free Tibet have urged the Government of India to confer Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian honour, on the Tibetan spiritual leader, the 14th Dalai Lama, for his “immense contributions” in creating goodwill for India in the last six decades. A declaration, adopted at the 6th All-India Tibet Support Groups’ Conference held on June 15 and 16 in Dharamshala township of Himachal Pradesh, said that the Nobel laureate continues to be a holy ambassador of Indian culture enriched with non-violence, compassion and religious harmony.

Sabarmati 'cleaned up' swimming pool style: Untreated effluents discharged in river

Counterview Desk
In a fresh letter to the secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India, senior Gujarat environmentalists Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) have taken strong objection to the recent clean-up drive of the about 11.3 km stretch of Sabarmati riverbed undertaken by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), terming it as “swimming pool type clean-up.” The river’s total length is 371 km.

Jharkhand mob lynching: Adivasis protest police 'inaction', FIR against victims

Counterview Desk
The Jharkhand Janadhikar Manch (JJM), a civil rights network, on Monday sponsored a protest against the police action against the Adivasi victims of the lynching which took on April 10, 2019, in Jurmu village of Dumri block in Gumla district of Jharkhand. The incident led the death of Prakash Lakda, aged 50.

Gujarat govt 'considers' temples, charitable institutions as shops and establishment

By Pankti Jog*
The Gujarat state assembly recently passed a new law which would "govern" the working condition of shops and establishments. One of the most talked about provisions of the Act is, it allow shops and establishments across Gujarat to function 24 hours.

There is no 'separate' Kashmir story, as there is for Afghanistan, Nepal, Tibet, Palestine

By Mohan Guruswamy*
Kashmir is the northernmost geographical region of South Asia. Until the mid-19th century, the term "Kashmir" denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range. The name Kashmir derives from the Sanskrit Kashyapmeru. The Greeks knew it as Kaspeiria. Herodotus called it Kaspatyros.