High incidence of silicosis among Karauli miners,TIMES NEWS NETWORK ES NEWS NETWORK,Jaipur Edition,11th Feb.2012

Jaipur: A recent report issued by the National Institute of Miners Health (NIMH) on silicosis amongst mine workers from Karauli,shows an alarmingly high incidence of silicosis among them.Silicosis is an irreversible condition with no cure and is caused by inhalation of silica dust.
In Karauli,where mining is one of the main sources of livelihood,it has been observed that most of the male members of the families died at an early age due to suspected TB.
Since there is no expertise and facilities to diagnose silicosis in the district hospital,NIMH conducted medical examination of 101 persons including 9 females who had been suffering from various respiratory symptoms and had history of working in the stone mines.
Evaluating the medical results of these subjects shows that majority of them had radiological evidences of silicosis.
Of the 93 persons,with history of working in mines,73 (78.5%) had evidence of silicosis and 16 (21.9%) of them had developed Progressive Massive Fibrosis.People between the age group of 31-50 have been affected the most,the study says.The records also showed that 7 out of 9 female subjects had no history of working in the mines.
Mine Labour Protection Campaign Trust (MLPC) had highlighted the problem of silicosis when 987 registered cases of silicosis were found in the government-run hospital in Jodhpur.It was this that brought the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to the state.Apart from the compensation the NHRC also ordered the state to conduct a detailed survey of the mining areas and compile information about the condition of mine labourers,who are largely part of the informal sector.
But the Rs 26 crore budget for the Occupational Health of Mine Workers,announced a year back has neither helped to train doctors to diagnose occupational disease,nor equip the 33 community health centres (CHCs) and implement mobile units to examine and diagnose the mine workers, said Rana Sengupta,managing trustee of MLPC.
MLPC has proposed that it is time to levy a mining cess to form a pension fund for the informal mine workers.
As per the report of January 2011,issued by Indian Bureau of Mines,government of India,royalty accrued by Rajasthan for minor minerals 2009-2010 was Rs 502.77 crore,the highest in the country.This pension fund will help the people who work round-the-clock in very difficult conditions to yield this revenue,so that they are not left in the lurch when they are incapacitated by occupational diseases caused by mining, Sengupta added.