TIMES NEWS NETWORK
Jaipur: In a show of absolute apathy towards victims of asbestosis,the state government has been sitting on a letter seeking permission for a health camp by the National Institute of Occupational health (NIOH) while one after another fall victim to the disease.If the camps was held on time,activists claim,that at least four lives could have been saved due to timely treatment.
The latest person to succumb to the disease was one Hakla son of Khem Raj who allegedly died of silicosis on April 17 in Udaipur.He is the 20th person from amongst the list of people who are to be medically examined by the NIOH for determining whether or not he was indeed suffering from the disease.
Most of the persons in the list of people to be medically examined by NIOH were at some point of time working in asbestos mines and in all probability they are suffering from asbestosis.But it is the NIOH who has been authorised by the Supreme Court for confirming asbestosis, claims Rana Sengupta,managing trustee of the Mine Labour Protection Campaign,which has been fighting got these workers.
If the state government would have initiated steps to ensure that the medical camp takes place then many of these persons on confirmation of the disease could have gone in for proper treatment, he adds.
In fact,it was the MLPC which had initiated steps to ensure that the mine workers get their medical report after the NIOH on its own conducted a study on these workers some years back.But the doctors who had done the study eventually left the organisation and the workers never got their medical report.
In that study conducted in the Jhadole block of Udaipur,164 asbestos mine workers were medically examined in 2007.Of those 164 workers,93 were suspected to be suffering from the occupational disease asbestosis but the NIOH failed to share the names of these workers.
Following this the workers resorted to a dharna outside the NIOH headquarters in Ahmedabad in January 2011 demanding the test reports which could help them take necessary treatment and file cases of compensation.It was due to this demonstration,that the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) ordered fresh medical tests to be carried out on these workers by the NIOH.