NHRC sends notice to Chief Secretaries of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh on Silicosis deaths

New Delhi October 23, 2007 The National Human Rights Commission has expressed deep concern at the death of tribals from Alirajpur tehsil of Jhabua District of Madhya Pradesh, who worked as labourers in the quartz crushing factories of Godhra and Balasinor in Gujarat due to Silicosis/Silicotuberculosis. The Commissions' distress came to light when it went through a news report captioned "Death Stalks Godhra again, in the form of silicon dust" in the "Indian Express" on September 19, 2007. As per the report, these tribals were exposed to Silica dust and no protection was given to them at their work place. The report also said that about 200 tribals had died in the last four years. The report added that those labourers who returned to their villages in Jhabua and died of Silicotuberculosis in their villages were not getting any compensation or retribution as they didn't have documentary proof to process compensation claims.

Till date, Silicosis is reportedly considered incurable with transplantation of lungs being the only cure, which is beyond the reach of poor labourers.

After going through the report, the Commission directed that the same may be forwarded to the Chief Secretaries of Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh and also to the District Collectors of Panchmahal and Jhabua for a factual report within four weeks.