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JDU -BJP rift on hazardous asbestos factories in Bihar

Written By Krishna on Wednesday, April 03, 2013 | 7:27 PM

Patna High Court is hearing a case on April 4, 2013 filled by Utkal Asbestos Limited (UAL) against the State of Bihar & others. This case which was filed on March 4, 2013 regarding a proposed asbestos based plant in Vaishali has seven respondents. The judgement in Israel against a asbestos company has come at a very critical moment. Some 55 countries including Japan has banned asbestos of all kinds including chrysotile asbestos (white asbestos). The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), New Delhi has received almost all the replies from the States, Central Ministries  and the NGO of asbestos companies, Asbestos Cement Products Manufacturers Association. NHRC will soon pronounce its verdict on asbestos diseases.

Day before yesterday the Deputy Chief Minister, Sushil Kumar Modi (he is also the Finance & Environment Minister) informed the Bihar State Assembly in Patna that asbestos will not be banned as long as it is not banned in the whole country.  He was responding to a question by Sanjay Jha, MLA from Jatna Dal (United) [JDU] regrading asbestos factories in Bhojpur. He appears to be feigning ignorance about the fact that Government of India has banned mining of asbestos and is in the process of banning it altogether as has been evidenced from Approach Paper presented by Union Labour Ministry in September 2011 at a EU-India Seminar. Modi has been impudently supporting asbestos plants which are facing bitter resistance in Bihar.  This Minister is from Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). Sushma Swaraj, leader of opposition of the Loka Sabah from BJP as Union Health Minister had informed the Parliament that asbestos causes diseases like asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma.

Nitish Kumar, the Chief Minister of State who is from JDU has expressed his opinion against the asbestos industry. Its a coalition government in the State. He has explained that there is a division within the State Cabinet on the issue of asbestos.
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