NHRC urges lawmakers to be more aware of silicosis

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New Delhi, July 22 (IANS) National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) member Cyriac Joseph on Friday said that there was a need for legislators to have more awareness on silicosis problems among workers, so that they can make stringent laws against the government bodies not taking steps to curb it.

“Building awareness about silicosis among legislators and parliamentarians is necessary to help them make laws and rules. They should also acquaint themselves with the ground situation, studies and recommendations by the State Human Rights Commissions and the National Human Rights Commission about this life threatening disease through the reports submitted to State Assemblies and Parliament,” he said during a day-long conference on silicosis organized by the apex human rights body.

Joseph said that the legislators and parliamentarians can question the governments on non-implementation of the recommendations on silicosis by Human Rights Commissions, to make them more effective.

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Union Mines Secretary Balvinder Kumar said that 40 per cent workers in Rajasthan were suffering from silicosis and efforts were needed to be made on a wider scale, which as of now are not sufficient, to check the spread of silica dust.

The day-long discussion included participants from the departments concerned of Union and state governments as well as the representatives from NGOs working in the field of silicosis apart from the senior officers of the NHRC and State Human Rights Commissions.

According to the commission, millions of workers due to exposure to silica dust fall victim to silicosis, which is an incurable disease of lungs and often confused with tuberculosis.

“It was felt that the states needed to be more proactive and consistent in implementing the recommendations given by the NHRC to address the issue of silicosis,” said a commission statement.

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