Make India Asbestos Free

Make India Asbestos Free
For Asbestos Free India

Journal of Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI) that works for Asbestos Free India inspired by trade union leader Purnendu Majumadar. Occupational Health India and ToxicsWatch Alliance are its members that includes doctors, researchers and activists. BANI demands criminal liability for companies and medico-legal remedy for victims. It works with trade unions, human rights, environmental, consumer and public health groups. For Details: 1715krishna@gmail.com

Sunday, December 19, 2010

BANI Supports Asbestos Ban Struggle in Bihar

Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI) has urged the Bihar government to stop the construction of the asbestos cement plant in Chainpur, Muzaffarpur which poses grave risk to the life and health of villagers. It has denounced the police firing by the private army of the owner of the factory on the villagers who were the protesting against the plant which is being built in the residential area and the agricultural fields. Many villagers have been injured in the incident.

BANI has written to the Bihar Chief Minister, Bihar State Pollution Control Board and Bihar Human Rights Commission. BANI has visited the site of the plant. It will come out with a Fact Finding report shortly.
Alternatives of asbestos is a must to ensure that our country becomes asbestsos free. The reason for alternatives of asbestos being costlier can be traced to political patronage. Almost every Union Budget presented in the parliament has made asbestos artificially cheaper.
There are multiple alternatives of asbestos else 52 countries that have banned it would not have done that. Alternatives are usage specific. For prevention of asbestos related diseases to be achieved providing information and technical assistance on the various alternatives to asbestos in construction materials is a must for protecting human health. Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) and polypropylene (PP) used in combination with cellulose for themanufacture of fibre-cement pipes and roofing materials in place of asbestos.

Substitutes for asbestos cement materials can be divided into two broad categories. Firstly, those products that directly substitute asbestos with another material in the same Hatschek cement process (e.g., PVA and cellulose in fibre-cement roofing). Secondly, there are also a number of wholly different products that can replace the asbestos products, for example gypsum or aluminum.
1. Present production of Asbestos related products in India, with separate quantity of AC sheets
According to Asbestos Cement Products Manufacturers Association (ACPMA), Chrysotile (White) Asbestos Cement Sheet Production for the year 2009 was 33,70,270 tons. This figure does not reveal the whole truth becasue ACPMA represents only large scale 15 companies which own 51 manufacturing units located in various states in India. Its gross annual turnover of approx Rs.4500/- crores is also based on the production figures of these very companies.
2. Has there been any reduction in its usage / production in the country in recent years

No, its consumption is rising at an alarming rate due to political and fiscal support of the Government of India. Suppression of information about asbestos hazards from citizens/consumers in India too is a factor.
3. Is there any attempt to find a subtitute by the sheeting industry

Yes, but it has been suffering because of Government of India's step motherly treatment. One Congress MP from Andhra Pradesh owns the biggest asbestos company in the country.
4. What is the status of the Ban White Asbestos Bill in Rajya Sabha and what willbe its Impact on usage of Asbestos, if any.

The Bill is pending and will never lapse because Bills introduced in Rajya Sabha never lapse. This relects legislative intent and it will adversely impact white asbestos usage.
Gopal Krishna
BANI
Patkar plea on asbestos manufacturing unit
The Times of India, Dec 18, 2010
PATNA: Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA) fame social activist Medha Patkar has shot a letter to chief minister Nitish Kumar requesting him to direct the administration to immediately initiate dialogue with theKhet Bachao Jeewan Bachao Sangharsh Committee spearheading the movement against setting up an asbestos sheet manufacturing unit in Kanti locality in Muzaffarpur district.

Patkar, in her letter, said that asbestos producing unit is an industry which spreads cancer in the vicinity where it is located. The asbestos plant also violated Environmental Protection Act 1986 as well as 1994 notification made under this Act. It is also in violation of the National Rehabilitation Policy 2009, said the NBA leader.

She said that in view of the gravity of the situation, socialist leader and ideologue Sachchidanand Sinha too has joined the ongoing farmers' agitation against asbestos manufacturing unit.
Attack on cops at asbestos factory
The Telegraph, India, Sept. 14, 2010
Muzaffarpur, Sept. 14: A mob of villagers from Bishunpur, Aima, Chainpur and Marwan attacked policemen and district administration officials on the premises of TMT Saraiya factory at Bishunpur.
The officials had gone to the village to open the factory which was locked by the villagers on September 8.
The villagers had objected to the running of the asbestos factory, as it would adversely affect their health, and had demanded immediate shifting of factory from the village.
Hundreds of agitating farmers and villagers, under Khet Bachao Jivan Bachao Sangharsh Morcha, gathered on the factory premises and chased away the policemen and the district officials.
The morcha is spearheading a crusade against the asbestos factories. Supervisor of TMT Saraiya, Alok Kumar had sought police protection in view of the palpable tension brewing in the region due to the factory.

Subdivisional officer (west), Kundan Kumar said that the policemen had to face the wrath of the villagers and farmers. The supervisor and other employees of the factory managed to flee from the scene when the villagers barged into the premises.
Nagrik Forum, an outfit of intellectuals, also condemned the move of TMT Saraiya to run an asbestos factory, putting lives of rural masses at risk.

The think-tank of the Morcha, led by Sachidanand Sinha, Ram Kishore Prasad, Uday Shankar Singh, B. Prashant, Arun Kumar Singh, Ravindra Kumar Ravi, Shashikant Jha, Nawal Kishore Singh, D. Satyarthi, Ramesh Pankaj and Abhijit held an emergency meeting and sought immediate intervention of chief minister Nitish Kumar to put a blanket ban on the asbestos factory.

They also lodged an FIR against the owners of the factory and accused them of endangering the lives of farmers and villagers of the areas.

They expressed their displeasure over district officials attempt to open the factory.

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