Silicosis victims in Jodhpur start indefinite `sit-in`
Jodhpur: The silicosis victims here have
launched an indefinite `sit-in` at the district collectorate
on Thursday to protest against the alleged state government`s apathy
to grant a compensation as directed by the National Human
Rights Commission (NHRC).
The NHRC had fixed a compensation of Rs 3 lakh for
silicosis victims of Rajasthan also directed the state
government to issue the fund to the next of the kins of those
who have died of silicosis (a kind of occupational lung
disease) contracted while working in various mines in Jodhpur.
A delegation of the commission had visited Jodhpur visit
last February to look into the condition of the sandstone mine
workers and had took into account the death of 22 people due
to the disease.
As of today, no compensation has been provided to them by
the state government and in addition to the 22 six more
persons have died, said Rana Sengupta, Managing Trustee of the
Mine Labour Protection Campaign (MLPC), an NGO fighting for
the cause of mine workers.
"Besides this, the commission had also asked the
government to roll out a rehabilitation package for those
suffering from silicosis but nothing has been done as of
today," he said.
The state government has, however, provided an interim
relief of Rs 1 lakh each to the next of the kin of the 21
deceased from the chief minister relief fund but the
compliance of NHRC directive is yet to be carried out.
The commission has also taken a serious note of the
absence of a mechanism for registration of the workers at the
workplace, without any identity card and proof of employment
terming it as an in-action of the state enforcement agencies.
The NHRC in its letter to the Rajasthan Chief Secretary
has asked how many persons have been identified by the state
government, who are suffering from silicosis and whether any
medication and rehabilitation package has been provided to
them and what measures have been taken by the government to
prevent silicosis among the workers.
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