Make India Asbestos Free

Make India Asbestos Free
For Asbestos Free India

Journal of Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI). Asbestos Free India campaign of BANI is inspired by trade union movement and right to health campaign. BANI has been working since 2000. It works with peoples movements, doctors, researchers and activists besides trade unions, human rights, environmental, consumer and public health groups. BANI demands criminal liability for companies and medico-legal remedy for victims.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Kerala Human Rights Commission seeks asbestos free schools

Kerala Human Rights Commission and its chairperson Justice N Dhinakar has ruled that exposing Indians to asbestos is a human rights violation. This paves the way for the eventual complete ban on asbestos and its products. On January 31, 2009, the Commission ruled that the government should take steps to phase out asbestos roofing from all schools in the state.

The commission has directed the state government to replace the asbestos roofs of those school buildings under the government control with country tiles in a phased manner.

The government has been directed to initiate measures to ensure that asbestos roofs are replaced with country tiles within a fixed time-frame in the case of schools that are run under the private managements. The state government has been directed to make sure that no new school begins functioning with asbestos roofing in the future.

The petition submitted to the commission complained that roofing school buildings with asbestos were hazardous to the health of children.

It is noteworthy that the order has come in the context amid reports showing how asbestos cement sector has bucked the trend of recession and has notched up impressive growth. A asbestos cement sector grew by 32%, according to data from a survey carried out by business lobby Confederation of Indian Industry (CII).

Underlining the current state of affairs this year's Republic Day Guest was the President of a asbestos exporting country.

Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI) appeals to the National Human Rights Commission and all the State Human Rights Commissions of the country to adopt the path-breaking order of the Kerala Human Rights Commission with immediate effect given the fact that none of the schools, offices, legislatures, courts, hospitals, automobiles, private and public buildings in our country are asbestos free.

Besides Congress led United Progressive Alliance government at the centre,
the support asbestos industry gets from the West Bengal Chief Minister although he belongs to Communist Party of India (Marxist) [that claims to have the mandate to fight for occupational rights of workers] is highly questionable, immoral and untenable still one hopes that Kerala Chief Minister who is also from the same party would desist from supporting this killer industry despite the fact that the state government owns Kerala Asbestos Cement pipe Factory Limited.

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