New Delh May 20, 2013: In a letter to Chief Minister of Delhi, ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) has asked her to intervene to stop serious unprecedented environmental and occupational health crisis from use of cancer causing asbestos based products in the national capital.
The letter reveals that Shri PK Tripathi, Chief Secretary, Government of Delhi informed Dr Barry Castleman, a former consultant with WHO and World Bank that asbestos was banned in Delhi and assured him that documentation of this would be provided with regard to same. Shri Tripathi said so in the presence of Dr T K Joshi and Dean AK Agarwal, Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi in December 2012 following a conference that was organized by Maulana Azad Medical College, New Delhi organised by Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health. This documentation is yet to see the light of the day. The letter is attached.
The letter draws attention towards the claim of Chief Inspector of Factories, Labour Department, Government of National Capital Territory (NCT) of Delhi dated May 29, 2012 there are a total of 3 factories in NCT of Delhi which are engaged in handling of Asbestos or its products during the manufacturing process. These are registered units under the Factories Act, 1948.
These 3 factories engaged in handling asbestos are:
1. M/s Makino Auto Industries (P) Ltd, 537-A-2, Industrial Area, G T Road, Shahdara, delhi-110095
2. M/s Brakes International, Yogesh Arora, K-45, Udyog Vihar, Delhi -110041
3. M/s Minocha Metals (P) Ltd, Pradeep Kumar Minocha, 409, Patparganj Industrial Area, Delhi-110009
But according to the information shared by Union Minister of State (Independent Charge), Labour Shri Oscar Fernandes with the Rajya Sabha on April 30, 2008, Delhi had 6 units of asbestos based factories wherein 231 workers were employed. TWA has demanded that the health records of these workers must be examined which is mandatory as per Hon'ble Supreme Court's order of January 27, 1995.
TWA has sought a database of the workers employed in these factories and sought their health check up by a panel of doctors who can certify asbestos related diseases must be formed to diagnose the diseases in Delhi.
It has called for all the medical colleges and hospitals in the national capital to submit report on patients who were diagnosed to be exposed to fibers of asbestos. This will help steps in the direction of legal and medical remedy.
In the aftermath of what Shri Tripathi has said the roadmap for making Delhi India's first asbestos free state must be announced so that other states in general and neighboring states in particular can follow this example.
The letter underlines that as per the directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court dated January 27, 1995 in the Writ Petition (Civil) No. 206 of 1986 both central and State Governments were asked to incorporate fresh resolution of ILO in their rules and regulations. Government of NCT Delhi has not incorporated the ILO resolution dated June 14, 2006.
In respect of the imminent public health crisis, Delhi government should set up a committee to incorporate the resolutions of ILO and WHO sooner rather than later. Both the resolutions are attached besides 'WHO's outline for the Development of National Programmes for elimination of asbestos related diseases'', 'Report of the World Health Organization workshop on mechanisms of fibre carcinogenesis and assessment of chrysotile asbestos substitutes' and other relevant documents of WHO.
TWA has been writing to the Delhi Chief Minister since 2007 seeking her intervention to prevent public health crisis from exposure to killer fibers of asbestos as a consequence of which some 55 countries have banned all forms of asbestos.
For Details: Gopal Krishna, Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI)/ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA), Mb:9818089660, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Web: www.toxicswatch.com