Government of NCT Delhi
May 18, 2013
Subject-Use of cancer causing asbestos products
This is with reference to my letter dated May 10, 2007 and October 16, 2008 seeking your urgent intervention in the matter of a serious unprecedented environmental and occupational health crisis. I submit that following the first letter Dr Anil Kumar, the then Senior Scientific Officer invited me to discuss how to respond to the imminent public health crisis. I had given my suggestions in this regard.
I submit that I have learnt that Shri PK Tripathi, Chief Secretary, Government of Delhi has 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. 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 in partnership with Drexel University, School of Public Health, Collegium Ramazzini, Ministry of Environment & Forests, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Government of India and Heart of England, NHS Foundation Trust.
I submit that according to the 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
I submit that according to the information shared by Union Minister of State (Independent Charge), Shri Oscar Fernandes with the Rajya Sabha on April 30, 2008, Delhi had 6 units of asbestos based factories wherein 231 workers were employed. The health records of these workers must be examined which is mandatory as per Hon'ble Supreme Court's order of January 27, 1995.
I submit that the database of the workers employed in these factories must be examined and their health check up by a panel of doctors who can certify asbestos related diseases must be formed to diagnose the diseases in Delhi.
I submit that all the medical colleges and hospitals may be asked 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.
I submit that 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 follow this example.
I submit 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.
I submit that in this regard Union Ministry of Labour has set up an Advisory Committee to implement Hon’ble Supreme Court order issued 18 years ago on January 27, 1995 on January 23, 2012. The Terms of Reference of the Advisory Committee includes incorporation of specific directions vide ILO’s Resolution of 2006 introducing a ban on all mining, manufacture, recycling and use of all forms of asbestos. Although more than 1 year have passed but the Advisory Committee headed by Shri A C Pandey, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Labour is yet to submit its report. In respect of the imminent public health crisis, your government can 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.
I will be happy to share more information in this regard to facilitate your intervention to prevent this public health crisis as a consequence of which some 55 countries have banned all forms of asbestos.
Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI)
ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA)