MINERS’ PLIGHT

Over 100 labourers diagnosed with asbestosis

TIMES NEWS NETWORK ,August 2011

Jaipur: More than 100 workers, who earlier worked in asbestos mines, have been diagnosed with asbestosis. This came to light when around 250 workers were examined during a recent medical camp organised by the Mine Labour Protection Campaign (MLPC) at Jhadol in Udaipur.

The diagnosis was done by Dr Murlidhar V, an expert of occupational diseases in accordance with the ILO guidelines. The camp was held between August 4 to August 10 in collaboration with Occupational Health and Safety Centre (Mumbai), in the Akodra village of the Jhadol block.

However, according to Rana Sengupta, managing trustee of the MLPC, “There are thousands of asbestos mine workers in Jhadol. Although it has been more than 15 years that mine workers stopped working in asbestos mines in Rajasthan, asbestosis continues to kill people.” The National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOH) from Ahmedabad conducted medical examination of 88 former asbestos workers of Jhadol in June, the reports which are awaited.

So far, 20 former asbestos workers awaiting their medical reports from NIOH that was conducted in the 2007, have succumbed to asbestosis. Asbestos mining was banned in Rajasthan long ago and the government ceased granting new asbestos mining lease or renew the existing ones.

However, it did not force the existing mines to stop production until the individual lease expired. In 2005, all official asbestos mining stopped in Rajasthan, almost 20 years after the ban.