Saturday, January 22, 2011
मुजफ्फरपुर के मरवन ब्लोक के चैनपुर में बेमियादी धरने के तेरहवें दिन पुलिस ने शांतिपूर्ण धरना दे रहे किसान नौजवानों पर १२.४० में बेवजह लाठी चलाई ,जिससे खेत बचाओ, जीवन बचाओ के बैनर तले धरने पर समर्थन में आये डी .एस .ओ के छात्र नेता आशुतोष सहित कई महिलाओं और छात्रों को गंभीर चोट आई .महिलाओं पर डंडे चलाते हुए पुरुष सिपहिओं को शर्म नहीं आई. आशुतोष को पुलिस ने इसलिए टार्गेट किया कि वे बालमुकुन्द कंम्पनी के विरुद्ध भाषण दे रहे थे .आशुतोष के साथ आधे दर्जन छात्रो और कई किसानो को पुलिस ने बेरहमी से पीटा.
आशुतोष क़ी सूचना तिरहुत के पुलिश महानिरिछ्क श्री गुप्तेश्वर पाण्डे को दी गयी .श्री पाण्डे ने तत्काल मुजफ्फरपुर के एस .एस .पी को घटना स्थल पर जाने का निर्देश दिया. ज्ञात हो कि ९ जनवरी को पटना से एसबेस्टस विरोधी नागरिक मंच के प्रतिनिधिओं के मरवन पहुँचने से पहले ही पुलिस ने लाठी चलाई थी. तब पुलिस इंस्पेक्टर और दरोगा ने नागरिक मंच के प्रतिनिधिओं से कबूल किया था कि पुलिस ने लाठी चलाई है. तब भी २ महिला को गंभीर चोट लगी थी.
आज शांतिपूर्ण धरने पर लाठीचार्ज में महिलाओं को आहत होने कि खबर से इलाके के गाँवो से स्त्रिया -बच्चे, युवा लाठी -डंडे लेकर घटना स्थल कि तरफ दौरने लगे. गुस्साई भीड़ जिसके आगे सैकड़ो महिलाऐं थी ,पुरुष पुलिश बल ने महिलाओं को खदेड़ना ,लाठी चलाना जारी रखा. पुलिस भीड़ को खदेड़ -खदेड़ कर पिटती रही और पास के गाँवो से हुजूम अन्दोलान्करियो के समर्थन में उमड़ता रहा.
पुलिस ने शाम के ४ बजे भीड़ को नियंत्रित करने के लिए पहले आंसू गैस के कई गोले दागे फिर दर्जनों राउंड गोली भी चलाई. रजो देवी, शिला देवी ,मनोज को गोली लगी है. कुल घायलों कि गिनती २० से ज्यादा है.
आधे दर्जन घायल सादर अस्पताल ,मुजफ्फरपुर में भर्ती करे गए हें. कई घायल गिरफ्तारी के भय से छुपकर इलाज करा रहे हें. एस्बेस्टस विरोधी नागरिक मंच इस फायरिंग और लाठीचार्ज कि निंदा करता है और तत्काल फैक्ट्री का निर्माण कार्य रोकते हुए दोषी पुलिस अधिकारिओं के विरुद्ध करवाई की मांग करता है.
प्रो ईश्वरी प्रशाद डॉ सत्यजित अख्तर हुसैन नंदकिशोर सिंह पुष्पराज अशोक प्रियदर्शी
6 injured as cops lathicharge on mob protesting asbestos plant
Muzaffarpur, Jan 22 (PTI) Six people were today injured after police resorted to lathicharge to quell a violent mob, protesting setting up of an asbestos plant in Bihar''s Muzaffarpur district.
"The agitators were protesting the construction of an asbestos plant in Chainpur-Vishnupur village, which they alleged was against the interest of the farmers," SSP Sunil Kumar said.
The protesters backed by CPI, CPI(M) and SUCI turned violent and damaged a police jeep after the law enforcers tried to persuade them to disperse, he said, adding that the police had to resort to lathicharge and burst tear gas shells to control the agitators.
Six were injured in the police action, he said.
The agitators alleged the government had declared the fertile land of the area as arid and permitted a private company to set up the plant despite protests by them.
Eight injured in police lathicharge
Muzaffarpur, Jan 9 (PTI) Eight people were injured today when the police lathicharged a group of people protesting against construction of an asbestos factory in Chainpur Phari village in Bihar''s Muzaffarpur district, official sources said.
The policemen lathicharged the villagers while they were staging demonstration at the factory site, after their repeated pleas to call off agitation failed, the sources said.
As many as eight villagers sustained injuries in the lathicharge, they said, adding that the injured were admitted to nearby hospital for treatment.
The villagers had earlier also demonstrated and had locked the gate of the construction site located adjacent to Kajra police station to protest against the proposed factory.
PTI CORR KDK RG
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Letter from Citizens Forum Against Asbestos
Shri Shri Prithviraj Chavan
Government of Maharashtra
Subject-asbestos dangerous to health
I am a member of Citizens Forum Against Asbestos. I would like to draw your attention about a factory making asbestos mill board for insulation and heat insulation using asbestos which is very dangerous to health.
The factory is situated in the heart of the city and surrounded by people staying and schools within 500 to 700 meters of the factory and nursing home also.
The pollution smell and the asbestos fibers which is in this factory can cause cancer to the livelihood of the people staying around and very dangerous to the labour working in the factory.
Recently, it was in the paper that in a factory in Mumbai laborers had health problem and company had to pay compensation. So why bring such a situation and wreck life of citizens of Dahanu Road.
The factory is situated in Dahanu road, district Thane, Maharashtra complaining to the local government body here there is no action taken in this matter. The attached letter provides the details of the asbestos and the ban on it all over the world.
I once more plead you sir to take interest in this matter personally and do the needful.
Citizens Forum Against Asbestos
The attached letter is given below
Letter from Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI)
Shri Shri Prithviraj Chavan
Government of Maharashtra
Subject-Stop Asbestos Plants in Thane
This is to draw your urgent attention towards the asbestos based factory in Thane. Neela Asbestos Industries Pvt Ltd , Masoli, Dahanu in Thane region manufactures asbestos millboard which is used in the construction of walls and ceilings, particularly around furnaces and wood-burning stoves where insulation and fire protection was required. Most varieties of asbestos millboard typically contain between 80 and 85 percent asbestos.
At least 55 countries have banned uses of asbestos. The ban was enacted due to the known dangers of this substance. Asbestos fibers, when inhaled into the lungs can potentially cause incurable which have very high mortality rates.
I wish to inform you that The White Asbestos (Ban on Use and Import) Bill, 2009 is pending in the Rajya Sabha. Some 55 countries have already banned it. There is a compelling logic to initiate the process of banning asbestos manufacturing, trade and use in Maharshtra as well.
It is estimated that "currently about 125 million people in the world are exposed to asbestos at the workplace. According to WHO estimates, more than 107,000 people die each year from asbestos-related lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis resulting from occupational exposures. One in every three deaths from occupational cancer is estimated to be caused by asbestos. In addition, it is estimated that several thousands of deaths can be attributed annually to exposure to asbestos in the living environment." There is a list of documents reflecting WHO's assessment of the risks of the different forms of asbestos and WHOs' technical directions and recommendations for the elimination of asbestos-related diseases.
When the world is preparing and planning to get rid of all forms of asbestos, it makes us look stupid in Maharashtra to be still importing it, we should devote our scarce resources to prevent the impending public health disaster by phasing out this killer fiber as soon as we can.
Safer substitute materials for white asbestos are available, they should be considered for use. White (chrysotile) asbestos, which represents 100% of the global asbestos trade is not yet completely banned in India but all the relevant UN agencies have called for its immediate elimination because its safe and controlled use is impossible.
The United Nations (UN) document, Environmental Health Criteria 203 for Chrysotile Asbestos concludes, “Exposure to chrysotile asbestos poses increased risks for asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma in a dose-dependent manner. No threshold has been identified for carcinogenic risks.” This criterion has been created by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), ILO and WHO.
Strangely, India has banned mining of asbestos which used to be done in Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand by banning non-renewal of pre-existing leases including chrysotile asbestos mines due to health hazards from its lethal fibers but allows countries like Canada to dump their asbestos in India. Asbestos waste trade is also banned in India. Besides White Asbestos, all the other forms of asbestos such as Blue Asbestos, Brown Asbestos are banned in India. But Chrysotile (white) asbestos is yet to be banned despite incontrovertible evidence against it.
Asbestos is a mineral fiber that has been used commonly in a variety of building construction materials for insulation and as a fire-retardant. Either through wind erosion or through normal wear and tear, when asbestos-containing materials are damaged or disturbed by repair, remodeling or demolition activities, microscopic fibers become airborne and can be inhaled into the lungs, it leads to significant incurable health problems. It became a popular building material since the 1940 because its a health hazards were suppressed by the asbestos industry.
Asbestos exposure leads to diseases like mesothelioma, asbestos-related lung cancer, asbestosis, pleural thickening. Mesothelioma is a cancer which affects the lining of the lungs (pleura) and the lining surrounding the lower digestive tract (peritoneum). It is almost exclusively related to asbestos exposure and by the time it is diagnosed, it is almost always fatal.
Asbestos-related lung cancer is the same as (looks the same as) lung cancer caused by smoking and other causes. It is estimated that there is around one lung cancer for every mesothelioma death. Asbestosis is a serious scarring condition of the lung that normally occurs after heavy exposure to asbestos over many years. This condition can cause progressive shortness of breath, and in severe cases can be fatal.
Pleural thickening is generally a problem that happens after heavy asbestos exposure. The lining of the lung (pleura) thickens and swells. If this gets worse, the lung itself can be squeezed, and can cause shortness of breath and discomfort in the chest.
According to UK Government’s Health & Safety Executive, “Asbestos is a hidden killer that can cause four serious diseases. These diseases will not affect you immediately; they often take a long time to develop, but once diagnosed, it is often too late to do anything.” Not surprisingly, European countries were the first to ban the mining, manufacturing, trade and use of this killer fiber. Asbestos is being promoted freely in our country whereas the developed countries are keeping away from it. Canada which is one of the bigger suppliers of asbestos has decontaminated its parliament (House of Commons) and has adopted a no home use policy.
In view of the above, I wish to seek your urgent intervention in the matter of a serious unprecedented environmental and occupational health crisis with regard to imminent asbestos epidemic in Maharashtra in general.
Even if one asbestos fibre reaches the right place, it causes irreversible damage - leading to asbestosis, lung cancer or mesothelioma. Earlier on August 18, 2003, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare informed the Parliament that: "…long-term exposure to any type of asbestos can lead to development of asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma."
This was not the first official acknowledgment of the asbestos hazard. Government of India's Office Memorandum NO.6 (6)/94 - Cement, (Sept 1, 1994) of the Ministry of Industry states: "The Department has generally not been recommending any case of Industrial License to any new unit for the creation of fresh capacity of asbestos products in the recent past due to the apprehension that prolonged exposure to asbestos leads to serious health hazards".
It may be noted that in 2006 alone there were more than 1,000 mesothelioma deaths (asbestos related fatal disease) in Japan which along with some 52 countries has banned asbestos. Some 10, 000 people are dying of asbestos related diseases in the US. Indians in general and people of Maharashtra in particular face and await a similar fate.
These asbestos factories are operating unmindful of the fact that World Health Organisation (WHO) and International Labour Organisation (ILO) too have called for the elimination of asbestos of all kinds. Delay in stopping asbestos plants in the state is a victory for those who do not wish to put health and the environment ahead of commercial interests.
Although the Supreme Court of India has ruled that the Government of India must comply with ILO resolutions, so far the ILO resolution (June 14, 2006) stating "the elimination of the future use of asbestos and the identification and proper management of asbestos currently in place are the most effective means to protect workers from asbestos exposures and to prevent future asbestos-related disease and deaths" has not been acted upon.
The WHO document says, “Elimination of asbestos-related diseases should take place through the following public health actions: a) recognizing that the most efficient way to eliminate asbestos-related diseases is to stop the use of all types of asbestos; b) replacing asbestos with safer substitutes and developing economic and technological mechanisms to stimulate its replacement; c) taking measures to prevent exposure to asbestos in place and during asbestos removal (abatement), and; d) improving early diagnosis, treatment, social and medical rehabilitation of asbestos-related diseases and establishing registries of people with past and/or current exposures to asbestos.”
I am an environmental health researcher. I have worked with national and international organizations working on environmental and occupational health. I am an applicant in the Supreme Court in the hazardous wastes/shipbreaking case.
It is high time you took note of the possible exposures to the residents, consumers and workers from the Asbestos Plants in Maharashtra and took immediate remedial measures. The exposure of asbestos fibers defies regulatory control efforts in any country.
I wish to draw your urgent attention to the order of Kerala Human Rights Commission (KHRC) that has ruled that exposing Indians to asbestos is a human rights violation. This paves the way for the eventual complete ban on asbestos and its products. On January 31, 2009, the KHRC ruled that the government should take steps to phase out asbestos roofing from all schools in the state.
National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has passed an order recommending that the asbestos sheets roofing be replaced with roofing made up of some other material. The Annual Report of NHRC 2003-2004 refers to a Report entitled “Asbestos – Health and Environment – an in-depth Study” submitted by the Institute of Public Health Engineers, India. NHRC is currently examining an application to make our country asbestos free at the earliest.
As per the survey of U.P. Asbestos Limited, Mohanlalganj, Lucknow and Allied Nippon Pvt Ltd, Gaziabad, (U.P), the lung function impairment was found to be higher in subjects exposed for more than 11 years. This was the result of a Central Pollution Control Board sponsored project entitled "Human risk assessment studies in asbestos industries in India". This has been reported in the (2001-2002) Annual Report of Industrial Toxicological Research Centre, Lucknow. It has also been published in the 139th Report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Environment, Forests, Science and Technology and presented to the parliament on 17th March, 2005.
Given the ubiquitous presence of the fiber, there is no alternative to getting it banned in right earnest. Scientists, doctors, public health researchers, trade unions, activists and civil society groups has been working to persuade the central government and state governments to give up its consistent and continued pro-asbestos industry bias and lack of concern for the asbestos-injured who die one of the most painful deaths imaginable.
World over, public health researchers, civil society groups, trade unions and human rights groups have demanded an immediate ban on all uses of asbestos including an immediate end to the import of chrysotile. They seek measures to identify, compensate and treat the asbestos-injured and regulations to minimize harmful exposures are also being proposed. They demand criminal prosecution of those responsible for asbestos exposures such as factory owners and company directors who knowingly expose unsuspecting people to killer fibers of asbestos.
Although non-asbestos technology certainly exists in India, in fact in some factories the two technologies exist side-by-side, consumers will inevitably opt for the cheaper product: more demand will translate into higher sales which will generate more chrysotile rupees that can be used to obtain political support.
As the quid-pro-quo relationship between Government officials and asbestos businessmen exists outside the media spotlight, journalists and the public remain unaware of the pernicious reasons which motivate the decisions being taken; decisions which will expose current and future generations to the deadly asbestos hazard. Hopefully, the asbestos industry’s blind profit mongering will not succeed in silencing the officials in the state. A people’s government will keep public health ahead of commercial interest other kinds will not do so. The existing and proposed asbestos plants in the state are at test case for the same.
The pattern of asbestos disease in Maharashtra is all set to follow the diseases pattern seen in the developed countries. Concerned with the global and national evidence about the increasing death toll of asbestos workers, trade unions, labour and environmental groups have sought immediate phase out of chrysotile asbestos.
Despite the fact that even the World Trade Organisation (WTO) has given an appropriate judgment against it, upholding France's decision to ban import of asbestos from Canada, successive governments in India have promoted this killer mineral fibre ignoring public health.
Dr S R Kamat, a renowned lung specialist, former head, Respiratory Medicine, KEM Hospital, Mumbai notes that in the 5 surveys done in the country, large number of the subjects showed asbestos lung diseases. All of them showed breathing problem, many had cough, some had sputum, chest pain finger clubbing and chest pain. He notes, "Disability in the cases of asbestos diseases is permanent."
Union Ministry of Labour has concluded that even in controlled conditions asbestos workers continue to suffer and safety gear made no material difference in their condition. It took note of Prevalence of Asbestosis and Related Disorders in an Asbestos Fiber Processing Unit in West Bengal as early as in 1996.
Taking note of the fact that public concern, regulations and liabilities involved have ended the use of asbestos from the developed countries, residents of Thane wonder, "why is it that the concern of the countries, which have banned asbestos not relevant to India?." Exposing communities to asbestos must be equated to murder and legal provisions must deal with it accordingly.
"Experimental as well as epidemiological studies proved asbestos as carcinogen as well as co-carcinogen. Risk assessment and control of occupational exposure are very poor in developing countries like India," says Dr Qamar Rehman, a renowned toxicologist, former scientist with Industrial Toxicology Research Centre, Lucknow.
In the light of these findings and developments, in short I seek your immediate intervention to stop the asbestos based plants in our state.
We earnestly request you to direct all the workers and consumers in your state to take immediate steps to ensure that there no more exposures take place from now on.
I submit that our government must consider putting an end to the use of the of all kinds of asbestos products that is being used and encountered daily, because none of the schools, offices, legislatures, courts, hospitals, automobiles, private and public buildings in our state are asbestos free.
Therefore, it is necessary to initiate preventive action in order to protect present and future generations from asbestos fibers, a silent killer which is akin to a time bomb in the lung.
I will be glad to share more relevant information against asbestos of all forms including white asbestos (chrysotile) that is used in this plant and other such plants in Maharashtra.
Thanking you in anticipation.
Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI)
Asbestos Mukti Andolan
Mb: 09818089660, 07739308480
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
In a payout that could set a precedent, a defunct UK company that made asbestos sheets at its Ghatkopar plant has compensated 95 former workers – and in two cases their spouses – accepting their claims that the nature of their work was responsible for them suffering from asbestosis, a dangerous lung infection that could lead to cancer (see box).
Victims and their relations gather on Thursday at Marathi Patrakar Sangh to receive compensation
Till 1993, UK-based M/s Turner & Newall were one of the major share-holders in Hindustan Composites Ltd, which made brake liners and clutch facings. In 2004, Krantikari Kamgar Union along with Occupational Health and Safety Centre conducted tests on around 180 workers of the company, and around 42 were found to be suffering from asbestosis. A case was filed by the union, which is still pending in the labour court at Mumbai.
In the meantime, M/s Turner & Newall wound up operations and a trust fund was set up to settle claims for asbestosis from all over the world. After months of negotiations, the trust fund agreed to accept medical evidence of the Occupational Health and Safety Centre, and in November this year, 97 people received the first tranche of compensation. The union had forwarded 115 claims.
The two women who won the claim are wives of the company workers. They contracted asbestosis from the clothes of their spouses. One of the women, Indira Pavekar, said, “I received compensation of Rs 7 lakh. My husband had 60 per cent asbestosis. Obviously I am happy to get back something after my husband gave up his health for the sake of the company. This decision sends a message that no company can take their workers’ health for granted.”
Another claim winner, 68-year-old Ganpat Palshetkar, said he received around Rs 8 lakh. “The warehouse was my world. It took away my health, gave me this disease. I hope to put on track whatever remains of my life with this money.”
Krantikari Kamgar Union president Sanjay Singhvi said the aim of the entire campaign was to make sure “foreign companies stop treating In-dian workers like objects for experiment.” He said, “This is a huge victory and the compensation is welcome, but it is not the solution. How can anything substitute health? It’s time all companies create a healthy working environment.”
What is Asbestosis
Asbestosis is a chronic inflammatory and fibrotic medical condition affecting the lungs. It is caused by inhalation and retention of asbestos fibres and usually occurs after high intensity and/or long-term exposure to asbestos (particularly in those individuals working on production or end-use of products containing asbestos) and is therefore regarded as an occupational lung disease.
People with extensive occupational exposure to mining, manufacturing, handling or removal of asbestos are at risk of developing asbestosis. Sufferers may experience severe shortness of breath and are at risk for lung cancer.