Rajasthan government assures full compliance of NHRC recommendations on Silicosis

New Delhi, April 28th, 2011
Sharing the concerns of the National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, about the silicosis affected quarry workers and the health hazards faced by them and the workers of similar establishments, the government of Rajasthan has informed the Commission that it has earmarked a sum of Rs. 25.60 crore for their medical and other facilities.

Responding to a letter of Mr. Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Chairperson, NHRC, the Rajasthan Chief Minister, Mr. Ashok Gehlot has written to him that his government accords high priority to preventive, remedial and rehabilitation measures for such workers.

He said that a committee has also been constituted under the chairmanship of Principal Secretary, Mines comprising Divisional Commissioner, Collector, Director, Mines and Geology, Director of Mines Safety, Labour Commissioner and Rajasthan Pollution Control Board to ensure effective measures to deal with the problem of silicosis. Mr. Gehlot said that his Government assures full cooperation and support in implementing the recommendations of National Human Right Commission on silicosis.

Earlier, Justice Balakrishnan in a letter to Mr. Gehlot had said that the Commission is deeply concerned about the health hazards caused by silicosis, a fibrotic lung disorder caused by inhalation, retention and pulmonary reaction to crystalline silica. The workers of stone quarries and crushers, sand blasting, foundries, ceramics industries, gem cutting and polishing, slate/pencil construction, glass manufacturing and all mining industries are particularly prone to silicosis.

Justice Balakrishnan had asked the Chief Minister to issue suitable directions to the concerned departments for effective implementation of NHRC recommendations which included preventive, remedial, rehabilitative measures and compensation for workers who are affected or likely to be affected by silicosis.