NHRC notice to states on banning use of asbestos

The NHRC Wednesday issued notices on banning the use of white asbestos, to all states and territories along with several Union Ministries and asked them to file a status report on it within four weeks.

Updated: Jul 06, 2011, 13:41 PM IST

New Delhi: The NHRC Wednesday issued notices on
banning the use of white asbestos, to all states and territories along with several Union Ministries and asked them to file a status report on it within four weeks.

The National Human Rights Commission`s action came as it
took cognisance of a complaint alleging that around 50,000
people die every year in the country due to asbestos related cancer.
The complainant Gopal Krishna of `Toxics Watch Alliance`
sought NHRC`s intervention for a ban on the use of Chrysotile
Asbestos known as white asbestos, which is hazardous for the
health and causes various incurable diseases.

In his complaint, Krishna cited contradictory position of
the government on the issue and alleged that though mining of
asbestos has been technically banned by the government, the
government allows its import and that too from the countries
which do not prefer its domestic use.

The complainant has also requested for grant of a compensation package for present and future victims of asbestos related diseases.
The NHRC issued notices to secretaries of Ministries
of Chemical Fertilizers, Environment and Forest, Health and
Family Welfare, Industry and Commerce, Labour and Chief
Secretaries of all the States and Union Territories, calling
for status reports within four weeks, a spokesperson said.

The white asbestos is a fibrous material used for building
roofs and walls.

The complainant claimed that white asbestos is considered
a hazardous chemical substance for environment by a number of
countries in the world. However, it is being used in a number
of industries in India, affecting the workers employed.

PTI