Madhya Pradesh gives relief and rehabilitation to 304 victims of silicosis; Gujarat yet to respond to NHRC recommendations
New Delhi, February 28th, 2012
In response to the National Human Rights Commission's notices, the Government of Madhya Pradesh has informed that it has made arrangements for medical treatment and rehabilitation of 304 persons suffering from silicosis. However, as promised, the State Government is yet to inform the Commission about its draft policy on tackling the issues relating to silicosis. Some of the measures taken by the State Government as per the recommendations of the Commission for relief and rehabilitation of 304 victims of silicosis are as follows:-
" A State level Silicosis Board has been constituted under the chairmanship of Additional Chief Secretary with the Labour Commissioner as Member Secretary and concerned departmental heads as its members.
" Medical Examination Board has been constituted at district and block level to provide medical facilities.
" Free check-up and treatment is being given to the silicosis patients every week through special camps.
" Awareness campaigns are being organized on time to time basis in the silicosis prone areas.
" A community based intervention with silicosis victims of district Jhabua is now active.
" Rs.33.17 lakh have been sanctioned to Shilpi Kendra, Indore by the State Health Department to provide rehabilitation to the silicosis affected persons.
" M.P. State Pencil Workers Welfare Board, Mandsour is providing economic assistance, insurance and scholarships to the children of silicosis affected workers.
" The Collectors of Alirajpur, Dhar and Jhabua Districts have also given reports on rehabilitation package given to silicosis affected persons.
Meanwhile, the NHRC in a fresh notice to the Gujarat Government through its Chief Secretary has given four weeks time to inform about the action taken on its recommendation for compensating the next of kin of 238 victims of silicosis in the State.
Earlier, on the 7th of this month ,the Commission had set aside the Gujarat Government's contention that under the third schedule of Factories Act, 1948 there is a list of 29 notified diseases including silicosis and, if any compensation is given in a case of death due to silicosis, it would amount to opening a Pandora box for 28 other diseases.
The Commission had observed that it is competent to recommend compensation under Section 18 of Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 and, the monetary relief recommended by it for the victims of silicosis should be in addition to remedies available under Employees State Insurance Act, 1948 and Workman Compensation Act, 1923.