Pravin has narrated the problem nicely. Though most of us know we did not narrate the Pravin has done.
My colleague rang me up this morning to inform me that Jivan has breathed his last yesterday evening and funeral is at 9.30 am today. Jivan, one of hundreds of Agate workers was suffering from Silicosis- a deadly occupational disease. Since last two years his earning had gone down to almost zero. We used to help him now & then in various ways we could. He used to tell us that he do not even have a rupee to buy poison necessary for suicide. For days he would not turn up to our weekly dispensary to get medicines.When my colleague enquired his Mother replied, how would he come without money? We charge token Rs.5/- for medicine but give free to the deserving. He was shy of asking favor. Agate polishing is not only dusty process, noisy, too. Jivan was hard at hearing and his friends used to tease him. When I last visited, he requested me to bring for him hearing aid from Baroda.
Every year we register 10-15 deaths due to silicosis among these workers. We have documents dating back to 60s stating high incidence of silicosis mortality. Doordarshan made a film in 1989 called Living Stones on this issue which inspired me to visit these workers for the first time in 89. Syed Fayaz made a documentary Way to dusty death in 2006 with PSBT grant, screened several times on Doordarshan. We have been making lot of noise since last so many years and making representations.At least two PILS filled in Guj High Court did not brign any change. We petitioned with NHRC also. NHRC has joined petition by PRASAR in Supreme Court which is hope now.
Migrants condition is very pitiable in Gujarat. We work on Occupational Safety & Health and we oserve that most vicitms of accidents at work are migrants. Most stories do not coem out. In Surat Oriya workers are employed by Textile processing units swhich are very hazardous but few get work in diamoind cutting, Surat is known for. Surat is also house for lower loom which are extremely noisy but few workers claim compensation for Noise induced deafeness.
Peoples Training And Research Centre
Dinesh Mill -Urmi Rd
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