INDORE: Taking an exception to the deaths from silicosis in Panna, the National Human Rights Commission ( NHRC) issued a notice on Thursday to the chief secretary asking him to explain the reasons for not giving relief to the kin of the deceased on time.

The state government has been given eight weeks’ time to reply to the notice. The NHRC also wanted to know from the government the measures it is taking for the workers down with the disease.

The commission feels that the state has failed to protect lives of three Panna workers: Bal Krishna Durga, Ramjan Khan and Asharam Gaund.

The NHRC also said the chief secretary should ask the Panna district magistrate to get all the quarry workers examined by a team of doctors and submit a report. The team should also mention the names of the employers/firms they are working with.

The commission said the district magistrate should be asked to ensure free treatment to the rest of the workers.

The commission observed: “The administration should also find out the possibility of an alternative employment for those suffering from silicosis.”

Earlier, there were reports that only Jhabua and Alirajpur were racked with silicosis. In August, 2011, Environics Trust had held a medical camp in Panna, and out of 40 workers examined 36 were found to have been afflicted with silicosis.

In January 2012, the trust had submitted a complaint to the NHRC requesting it to direct the state government to take steps for their treatment and compensation to the family of one person out of 36 who died after the check-up.

In February 2012, the NHRC had forwarded the report to the chief secretary and asked him to submit a report about the measures taken to stop silicosis.

Also, it wanted to know whether the survey of Enviromics Trust was correct and the rehabilitation package for the sufferers.

In December 2012, the director of public health had confirmed that 17 workers were down with silicosis in Panna.

In July 2013, the trust had informed the NHRC that three other workers who were on the list provided to the NHRC died from silicosis in Panna.

The NHRC feels that the state has failed to protect the lives of the three workers.

Interestingly, a Hollandbased specialist Dr M Murlidhar had conducted another survey in October 2012 and examined 224 labourers. And 82 were found to have been afflicted with silicosis. Reports said about a dozen people are in serious conditions.

Courtesy: hindustan times

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