NHRC issues notice to Madhya Pradesh Government on a death of a tribal due to silicosis in district Panna
New Delhi, February 22nd, 2012
Continuing to take issues concerning silicosis proactively in the country, the National Human Rights Commission has issued notices to the District Magistrate, Chief Medical Officer, Senior Superintendent of Police, District Panna and the Chief Secretary, Madhya Pradesh calling for detailed reports on the alleged death of a tribal labourer, Kamta Prasad, due to silicosis in Gandhigram village of the district on the 14th of this month. They have been given six weeks time for response.
The Commission took cognizance of the incident on a complaint, by an NGO, based on a newspaper report.
The Commission has directed that the district authorities should give a detailed report into the alleged incident which should include information on the following specific points:
a) The details of the victim including place and nature of the employment, industry in which he was employed;
b) The medical reports including the chest X-rays, post-mortem report of the victim, etc;
c) Any compensation given to the next of kin of the deceased.
In addition to this, the State Chief Secretary has been asked to inform on the following points:
1) Measures taken to prevent silicosis in the area;
2) Rehabilitation package given to the victims of silicosis in the State.
The newspaper reported that the CMO of the district and the District Collector were not aware of the incident. About 75 thousand tribals work in the 122 stone mines in the area. An NGO 'Environics Trust' had examined 43 labourers, out of which 39 were found severely affected with silicosis. Most of them are at the verge of death. The Government has not taken any appropriate steps to contain the disease.
The Commission has been requesting all the State Governments to conduct survey of all industries/factories/quarries/mines generating silica in their area and maintain a data of the workers engaged therein with proper records of their wages, health check ups and treatment facilities, preventive measures taken to check the spread of silicosis,which is a disease of lung infection caused due to inhalation of silica and is incurable so far . They have also been asked to work out a compensation package for the families of victims of silicosis . Most of the States have been found to be tardy on the issue which poses a serious threat to right to life, especially of a huge population of labourers in unorganized sector, in the country.