Silicosis sufferers demand disability pension


 

Jaipur, August 8. Malla Singh Rawat died  leaving behind  his ailing wife, three school going children and a debt of around Rs. 6 lakhs.  He was one of the 15,000 mine workers in Rajasthan who are suffering from Silicosis, which has no cure.

While his wife Narbada desperately awaits due compensation from the government, Nanda Singh Rawat, 63, Shantilal, 32 and many others are fighting a painful battle against silicosis and government help for diagnosis, treatment and pension.

Nooparam of sirohi rajpura village  has been working for the past 20 years carving marble.  He and his wife both suffer from silicosis but haven’t got their certificate from the government yet. He also awaits to see his demand for Rs. One lakh compensation and pension after retirement.

More than 1000 Silicosis patients gathered in Jaipur on Wednesday to participate in a public hearing to get their voices heard. The jansunwai was organised by the Mazddor Kisan Shakti Sangathan in association with the Suchna evam Rozgar Adhikaar Abhiyan.

There are more than 10 lakh mine workers in Rajasthan, of these, more than 15000 workers are affected by incurable occupational disease Silicosis.

Narbada Rawat has an aadhaar card and bhamashah card but she hasn’t got Rs.3 lakh after her husband husband’s death. Though suffering from leg pain, body ache and breathing problems, she has to continue working in the mines due to financial crisis.

Sharing their woes, the mine workers said there were long queues for workers waiting for diagnosis, pending diagnosis results, pending compensation post diagnosis and pending after-death compensation to their families.

The public hearing raised the questions as to what steps were taken by the government to prevent Silicosis and address the pendency at different levels?

The participants demanded to put them in national and state list of disabilities, Disability Pension, a bhamashah card with swasthya bima and other health care measures for the silicosis affected.

The panel members of public hearing  headed by noted social activist Aruna Roy also met Rajasthan chief secretary.

 

Mr. Devrajan , former member SHRC  said like in Haryana which has passed a state policy,  similar measures should be taken up in Rajasthan to give Rs.4,000 pension during life and post death family pension of Rs.3500, Rs. 5 lakh on diagnosis to the silicosis affected.

Kavita Shirvastava of PUCL said the disabilities act should be amended  for inclusion of silicosis related debilitating diseases. Just now Only mine and Building construction welfare worker get it. It should be expanded to all silicosis causing occupations.

Every collector in areas in silicosis prone occupations, should conduct public hearings, with the participation of all stake holders once in 3 months, she added.

 

 

 

 

 

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