Finally,silicosis victims get compensation

Ajay Parmar TNN ,Jaipur edition, 27th June, 2011

Jodhpur: Finally,after a long wait the impasse over compensation for the next-of- kin of 21 silicosis victims ended on Sunday.They were compensated as directed by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to the state government.The chief minister Ashok Gehlot himself distributed the fixed deposit receipts (FDRs) of Rs 2 lakh each to them.This is in addition to the ex gratia relief of Rs 1 lakh given by the state government in October last year.
The NHRC had,after studying cases and the gravity of the situation the sandstone quarry workers are subject to,directed the state government to provide Rs 3 lakh each to those identified as having died of the deadly occupational disease silicosis.
The Mine Labour Protection Campaign (MLPC)-led Silicosis Sangarsh Samiti handed a small note of thanks to the chief minister.It also handed over an additional list of 48 victims that NHRC had recommended for rehabilitation,along with their medical reports (stated as sufferers of silicosis) and death certificates of the six dead while waiting for rehabilitation.
Managing trustee of MLPC,Rana Sengupta said We have identified 986 cases of silicosis and have traced 69 of them so far through our postcard campaign.However,out of this 31 have already died of silicosis.
Gehlot,while distributing the FDRs,said safety and health measures are being taken to prevent occupational diseases like silicosis.Strict actions are being taken against mine owners violating the rules,he claimed.This apart the state has allocated Rs 25 crore 60 lakh for silicosis,he added.
Sengupta said there was a need of more sensitisation on the part of the state government in order to continuously identify silicosis victims.