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Sixth worker dies of fatal silicosis in 2019 in Gujarat's ceramic hub after govt 'refused' help

Bharat Mohan Parmar
By Our Representative
In yet another gruesome incident, Bharat Mohan Parmar, aged 46, has died of silicosis on November 23 morning at Thangadh, Surendranagar district, which is the hub of ceramic units in Gujarat. Sixth worker from Thangadh to die of the deadly occupational disease this year, Parmar worked in different ceramic units as a glaze worker for about 27 years. 
Parmar was diagnosed of suffering from silico-tuberculosis at the Civil Hospital, Rajkot, the main urban centre of the Saurashtra region, which includes Surendranagar district, said People’s Training and Research Centre (PTRC) director Jagdish Patel, a health rights activist fighting for the cause of those affected by the deadly disease.
PTRC filed a complaint before the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in September this year regarding eight deaths and 26 others other who were suffering from silicosis in Thangadh. This led NHRC to issue a notice to the district collector, Surendranagar, and the Gujarat chief secretary in October to send an action taken report by January 2020.
The notice sought the state government to “look into the issue and direct the concerned officials to verify and get medically examined these workers and also take necessary steps to extend monetary relief and rehabilitative steps to the next-of-kin as well as workers suffering from silicosis.”
Parmar, who started working in a ceramic unit at the age of 14, has left behind his wife, four daughters and a son. Indebted to the tune of Rs 50,000, in May this year, he wrote a letter to the Gujarat chief minister requesting help, but received a negative reply, saying the state government had "no plan" to help him.
The letter said, "Due to the difficult situation of my family, I could study only up to the seventh standard, and started working in local ceramic units. My eldest daughter is 18 years old, and the youngest son is four. I had to take debt to make two ends meet. I request you to give me lifetime monthly pension so that I can live a dignified life."
The other five who died died of silicosis this year are: Devji Premji and Ashokbhai Naranbhai, both of whom died in February, Ashok Mangal who died in June, Hareshbhai Karsanbhai Parmar, who died in August, and Mahendrabhai Khushalbhai Vaghela, who died in September.

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