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.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Make India Asbestos Free – It kills !

Ghatkopar land sold to Wadhwa for Rs571 crore

In a major land deal in the city, asbestos products maker Hindustan Composites announced, on Monday, that it would sell its 18-acre property on LBS Marg, Ghatkopar to the Mumbai-based Wadhwa Group for Rs571 crore. Including the stamp duty, the value of the land is expected to go up to Rs600 crore with the land rate roughly working out to be Rs4,000 per square feet.

Vijay Wadhwa, chairman, Wadhwa Group said that they have taken a loan of approximately Rs300 crore from IndiaBulls Financial Services Ltd and raised the balance Rs271 crore by way of sales and discounting a few of properties they had leased.

Realty experts said the deal would provide Wadhwa with the much needed confidence. Coupled with global slowdown, the group had over-stretched itself after it had successfully bid Rs831 crore for a plot at Bandra Kurla Complex in 2007.

Many funds like Morgan Stanley had refused to back Wadhwa in the Composites land deal as they did not agree to the costing and profits projected by the developer.

“I always knew that the project cost will go over Rs7,000 per square feet as the plot is strategically located and also with the kind of development we have planned,” Wadhwa said. “In fact I have already sold 2.5 lakh square feet at Rs8,500 per square feet.”

The developer has plans to set up at least 15 residential buildings with over 1,100 apartments on land, which has a development potential of about 15 lakh square feet. Also, this development potential could go up substantially if Wadhwa takes advantage of the government’s parking FSI of 4.

January 19, 2010, DNA

Some basic facts
"Asbestos" is name given to a group of naturally occurring metamorphic minerals that are distinguished by their crystalline structures. There are three types of asbestos – Chrysotile (white asbestos); Crocidolite (blue asbestos) and amosite (brown asbestos). The Chrysotile is the most commonly used.

Asbestos is used mainly for water pipes or as roofing sheets in the construction industry. It is also used in the manufacture of pressure and non-pressure pipes used for water supply, sewage, irrigation and drainage system in urban and rural areas, asbestos textiles, laminated products, tape, gland packing, packing ropes, brake lining and jointing used in core sector industries such as automobile, heavy equipment, petro-chemicals, nuclear power plants, fertilisers, thermal power plants, transportation, defence, etc.

Hazards related to Asbestos Exposure
Breathing air containing asbestos dust causes fatal lung diseases. There is usually a long delay between exposure to asbestos dust and the onset of the disease; this can be between 10 and 50 years. The more you are exposed to asbestos, the more chance you will get sick later on. Diseases caused due to Asbestos exposure include – Asbestosis, Mesothelioma, Pleural Thickening and Lung Cancer.
Both workers and consumers are at risk, therefore use of all forms of asbestos products must be stopped with immediate effect.

Indian Context
An unprecedented environmental and occupational health crisis with regard to unnoticed asbestos epidemic in our country is on the horizon. It is high time concerned authorities took note of exposures of workers installing and maintaining asbestos-cement pipe and asbestos cement roof, which is quite high.

The Supreme Court of India has ruled that the Government of India must comply with ILO resolutions, so far the ILO resolution (June 14, 2006) stating “the elimination of the future use of asbestos and the identification and proper management of asbestos currently in place are the most effective means to protect workers from asbestos exposures and to prevent future asbestos-related disease and deaths” has not been acted upon.

Supreme Court has ordered that the industrial units must maintain a health record of every worker up to a minimum period of 40 years; insure workers under the Employees State Insurance Act or Workmen's Compensation Act; or give health coverage to every worker. This has been disregarded.

Global Scenario
Some 50 countries besides International Labour Organisation, World Health Organisation, World Trade Organisation & others have realized that “safe and controlled use” of asbestos is not possible and consequently have banned asbestos because of the incurable but preventable cancer caused by this killer fiber.

What can be done?
Take steps to ensure that there is no more exposures to killer fibers of asbestos from now on. This can be done only by making India asbestos free.

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