Jamshedpur : In the wake of growing number of silicosis cases in the state, the Occupational Safety and Health Association of Jharkhand (OSHAJ) has sought immediate intervention of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to wake up the Jharkhand government from slumber and make it work comprehensively for the victims.
The OSHAJ, organization working actively for the silicosis victims, charged the state government of being indifferent to the burning issue of silicosis.
“Despite repeated pleas to the concerned health authorities to deliver adequate compensation to the silicosis patients and take punitive action against hazardous mines and industries the officialdom is not moving beyond the files,” alleged OSHAJ, General Secretary, Samit Kumar Carr.
Carr, who returned to the city attending the NHRC meeting convened in Delhi recently, said that he has submitted a list of the silicosis patients and potential silicosis patients of the state to the NHRC officials and sought immediate intervention in this regard.
“Irony is that in several of the cases in the past NHRC recommendations were implemented partially therefore we have sought fresh intervention of the NHRC to pull the state government so that the concerned authorities fall in line in the larger interest of the poor silicosis patients,” said Carr.
The OSHAJ is seeking justice to the silicosis patients that includes 38 workers who have died of silicosis, 16 silicosis identified who are alive and 120 silica dust affected workers. Two new cases of silicosis casualty in Kolhan division promoted OSHAJ to get aggressive with the government.
The OSHAJ has also sought free health care support for the identified cases for increasing their expectancies of lives and medical surveillance to be conducted for identification and treatment of dust affected workers.
“At least the government could do is to make the hazardous mines and industries (where silicosis casualty has taken place) pay compensation to the kin of the silicosis victims as per the Workmen Compensation Act 1923,” said Carr alleging that government’s regulatory agencies has completely failed to protect the lives of the workers at work place.
Taking lesson from Tata Steel’s gas holder explosion of November 14, OSHAJ activist also urged the NHRC to direct the state government to ensure better maintenance of equipments in all the companies, across board, operating in Jharkhand.