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Ninth death in about a year because of deadly silicosis in Gujarat's top ceramic hub

By Our Representative
With the death of Dinesh Palji Jitiyua, 50, who passed way after suffering from silicosis at the Rajkot Civil Hospital on March 13, in all nine persons have succumbed to the fatal occupational disease over the last about a year in Than, the hub of ceramic industry in Gujarat.
Jitiyua worked in the local ceramic unit Mayur Ceramic for almost 26 years. He is survived by his wife Parvatibahen, daughters Monika (20) and Sangita (18), and son Parag (16).
Bringing this to light, health rights activist Jagdish Patel of the Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC), Vadodara, said, Factories Act, Mines Act and Building and Other Construction Workers Act provide for permissible exposure limit for silica, which is carcinogen.
"Millions of workers in various occupations are exposed to this dust in Gujarat but we do not have reliable data on silicosis-related mortality and morbidity", Patel asserted, adding, "It is the primary responsibility of the employers to monitor silica dust at work."
Internationally, there is demand to reduce the permissible level of silica dust to 0.05 mg/m3. In India it is almost 2 mg/m3
As for the government, Patel said, it has the responsibility to supervise and take action against the violators, insisting, both employers and the government are "failing, as workers continue to die of silicosis at early age."
Pointing out that, internationally, there is demand to reduce the permissible level of dust in air to 0.05 mg/m3, Patel said, "In India it is almost 2 mg/m3." In Gujarat, are exposed to silica in power plants, imitation jewelry production, foundries, glass itching, refractory bricks production, abrasive wheel production, stone sculptors, quartz flour production, and mining besides ceramic, he added.
Patel further said, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had recommended to the Government of Gujarat to prepare a policy for the welfare and rehabilitation of silicosis patients in 2017, regretting, however, no such policy has yet been formed.
"Rajasthan, under Chief Minister Ahok Gehlot, has launched an ideal policy on October 2, 2019. We demand to formulate such a policy at an early date", he demanded.

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