Basudev Bhagat (55) is languishing in a private nursing home — the Singh Nursing Home — in Ghatsila in East Singhbhum district of Jharkhand. He is yet another silicosis patient staring at death.

 Silicosis is a condition caused by inhaling too  much silica over a long period  of time. Silica is a  crystal-like mineral found in sand and rocks. It  can have  deadly consequences for people who  work with stone, concrete, glass, or  other forms  of rock.

 Ironically, till date, the national human rights  commission (NHRC) has not  received a  comprehensive report on silicosis deaths that it  had sought from  the state by February 28. This,  when the disease is common in the district.

 Bhagat is among 20 silicosis patients that  Occupation Safety and Health  Association of  Jharkhand (OSHAJ) has been sending to the state  director-  in-  chief of health since December 20,  2013. One such patient, Salkhu  Murmu,  died on December 30 here at the Ganga Nursing Home, taking the death toll to  40 in the district so far.

The NHRC had exempted state chief secretary from personal appearance on January 31 on the condition that the state would file the report by February 28. The commission is still awaited the report. A resident of Rugrisai village under Kendadih panchayat, Bhagat was admitted in the nursing home on February 21. He has three sons and two daughters and was detected as a silicosis patient at Meherbhai Tata Memorial Cancer Hospital on February 10, 2012, while the International Labour Organisation (ILO) ratings of his x-ray plates at Belur ESI hospital confirmed the same on May 26, 2012.

Six more patients in the list continue to stare at death. As per OSHAJ petition to the health director and NHRC, another 16 are suffering from the disease, and 135 others are affected by silica dust – all engaged in two quartz grinding units of KK Industries and KK Minerals in Musaboni, 60 km from Jamshedpur.

“It is a matter of regret that in spite of several efforts made by OSHAJ, no medical investigation is conducted till date,” secretary general of OSHAJ Samit Carr wrote in his letter to the state health director.

Courtesy: hindustan times

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