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1 Presentation on A sbestos in I ndia S truggles & R ealities BY MANUBHAI V. PRAJAPATI OEHNI 1.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Presentation on A sbestos in I ndia S truggles & R ealities BY MANUBHAI V. PRAJAPATI OEHNI 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Presentation on A sbestos in I ndia S truggles & R ealities BY MANUBHAI V. PRAJAPATI OEHNI 1

2 1.India – the largest importer of asbestos according to UN Commodity Trade Statistics Database 2.More than 90% used in making corrugated roofing, sheets having very small share in India’s income 3.More than 3 lakh people employed in India by companies using this material directly or indirectly 4.Also other millions of construction workers use asbestos products with almost no protection 5.Only in Alang Ship Breaking Yard Bhavnagar (Gujarat) around 55000 workers involved in ship breaking activities without even the knowledge of lethal effects of this product 2 OEHNI 2 History / Background

3 3 6.Sixty one large manufacturing units owned by 17 companies in India use this product. No data available for small and medium and small scale units. 7.There are about 75 plants engaged in production of asbestos (courtesy: Yearbook 2011 of Indian Bureau of Mines), mainly located in Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh. 8.Also around 114 asbestos cement sheet and pipe units in Rajasthan. 9.Out of the total resources of 22.17 million tonnes Rajasthan accounts for 61% whereas Karnataka accounts for 37%. 10.As asbestos mining has lethal effects on the health of workers, and exposes them to diseases like Silicosis and Pneumoconiosis, a ban on expansion was placed in 1986. In 1989, this ban was further extended. Since June 1993, there is a total ban on mining of asbestos. OEHNI 3

4  In the amended Foreign Trade Policy 2009-14, no restrictions on asbestos export.  India – exporter of Asbestos fibres (252 tonnes in 2010-11, which increased to 550 tonnes 2011-12). Mainly exported to Nepal.  Prevailing Foreign Trade Policy allows free import of asbestos (except amosite). Imports mainly from Thailand (93%).  Most vulnerable groups of workers from small scale sector, producing low pressure asbestos cement pipes used in construction industry. No data available, no attempts by govt. to obtain data or for welfare of these workers. 4 OEHNI 4

5 Asbestos in Indian Parliament 5 Issue of ban on use and mining raised 62 times in Indian Parliament since 2000 On 13 th August 13, concerned Ministry informed that the study was entrusted to NIOH to assess environmental and health hazards. Report of NIOH (study cost Rs.60 lakhs) received, according to which there are no significant health and environmental hazards. Money for the study was also contributed by the Industry association MoEF the nodal Ministry for giving environmental clearances to factories manufacturing asbestos products OEHNI

6 Legal Battles 6 In 1996, Supreme Court issued six guidelines for the protection, betterment and health for asbestos victims The Kerala State Human Rights Commission ordered to avoid asbestos roofing in the school building in future and existing roofing of asbestos be removed OEHNI

7 Problems and Challenges 7 ACPMA (Asbestos Cement Products Mfg. Association) the potent lobby in India. Currently a complaint under consideration by CCI (Competition Commission of India) against ACPMA. Most of workers unorganized and contract workers. Labour Laws tedious and it takes number of years to prove the facts and compensation claims also take years to clear. In various departments at Govt. of India level, the data collection and compilation is the biggest challenge. OEHNI

8 8 Victims mis-diagnosed for lack of expertise and inability of physicians to co-relate with occupational history. Doctors like Dr. Arthur Frank, Dr. V. Murlidhar certified 20 cases from Gujarat Composite Ltd. But doctors in ESIC refuse to accept these certificates. OEHNI Problems and Challenges

9 National Program to Eliminate Asbestos 9 MoLE formulated a National Programe on identification, elimination and control of asbestos in India in 12 th FY Plan (2012-17). No mention about safe disposal of asbestos waste/safe removal of asbestos during dismantling/renovation. On the other hand, more and more companies get permission to set up asbestos product factories. Thus, Govt. admits to lapses and failures in implementation of policy. OEHNI

10 ? 10 If asbestos can be safely used and there are no victims in India, what is requirement of national programme on this aspect? OEHNI

11 Visit to Factories 11 Factories visits organized in Gujarat and Maharashtra, which revealed that these factories function in utter secrecy to hide their malpractices. They don’t allow outsiders to contact their workers. In some factories owners even proudly showcase the dread asbestos fibers and insist that its use is safe. Contract workers most discriminated – no security measures provided as they are most vulnerable lot. OEHNI

12 Successes 12 Medical Camps in Roro Mines The Turner and Newall Trust Fund compensated 361 Hindustan Ferodo workers, 63 workers of ACL (Mulund), 45 from Kymore, 37 from Podanur. Thermal Power Plant, Ahmedabad 14 cases of asbestos were settled by compensation. Three cases of asbestos victims from Gujarat Composite Cement Ltd. are compensated from ESIC. In Rajasthan 18 workers of asbestos victims have been approved the compensation. More reports are still being handed over to workers through district govt. officials so the figure may increase. OEHNI

13 Successes (contd.) 13 Medical camps held in Gujarat – cases will be filed in consultation with workers’ unions. Eight cases of asbestos victims found during camps. Spouses and other family members in Ahmedabad and Mumbai found having ARDs. The scheme ‘Introduction of National Program on Identification & Elimination of Asbestosis’ is being introduced by the Planning Commission. In Orissa, the issue of govt. inaction created a lot of hue and cry and the plant’s operation had to be stopped. The clearance was cancelled. OEHNI

14 14 In Bihar, the CM assured to look into the grievances of villagers. National Trade Unions recognize hazards of asbestos and many affiliated unions of BWI and Industries demand a ban on asbestos. OEHNI Successes (contd.)

15 Conclusion 15 As estimated for 2011-12, the demand was 393 thousand tonnes, and with annual growth rate of 9%, was expected to increase to 605 thousand tonnes by 2016-17. India should learn lessons from nations like UK and Germany which banned asbestos decades ago, and should take immediate steps. India should urgently identify all victims of asbestos related diseases and provide medical treatment, rehabilitation and compensation. OEHNI

16 16 Ideas for the future National Campaign A. To establish legal cell to help the victims for their claims of compensation B. Medical unit for proper diagnosis with team of expert physicians. Ideas for the future Regional Campaign i. Educational awareness for Asbestos -hazardous substance by campaign. ii. Regular meeting of co-coordinators At least 1 idea for the future global campaign Data/information of production, victims, legality, alternate of asbestos, etc. easily accessible. OEHNI


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