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.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

BANI Condemns Police Brutality on Anti-Asbestos Villagers

Press Release

BANI Condemns Police Brutality on Anti-Asbestos Villagers

Bihar Takes Singur Path, for Asbestos based Industrialization Six Asbestos Plants in the Offing

New Delhi/Patna 23/1/2011: Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI) condemns the lathi charge and police firing on villagers of Chainpur-Bishunpur, Marwan, Muzaffarpur, Bihar who are protesting against the construction of proposed asbestos plants. The colossal ignorance of Bihar government about the fact that more than 55 countries have banned asbestos of all kinds including chrystotile (white) asbestos is shocking.
BANI supports the Asbestos Virodhi Nagrik Manch and Khet Bachao Jeewan Bachao Jan Sangharsh Committee and their efforts to save present and future generations from the exposures of killer fibers of white asbestos.

BANI appeals to the Chief Minister and the Union Environment Minister, the concerned organizations and political parties to visit those villagers including women who have been injured in police firing to take stock of the situation in order to prevent the peaceful movement against asbestos plant from becoming violent.

Bihar government must assure the villagers and their committee that no police action will be allowed in future and those policemen responsible for such violence will be punished. It is learnt that some 20 people have suffered due to lathi charge and police firing and they are admitted in the hospitals. The injured include Sheela Devi, Rajo Devi, Sidheshwar Ram, Ganga Ram, Hare Krishna, Manoj Paswan, Suhati Devi, Kalash Devi, Saroj Kumar and several others.

The Chief Minister must intervene at the earliest to avoid such blood soaked industrialization and promote sustainable agro-based industries. The cases against the leaders of Khet Bachao Jeewan Bachao Jan Sangharsh Committee who have been framed must be withdrawn. Encouraging hazardous industries like asbestos based plants which is one of 64 heavily polluting industries under Red Category is quite myopic.
BANI calls on the Bihar Industries Association (BIA) and Bihar Chamber of Commerce (BCC) to persuade the proponents of the asbestos plants to establish plants which would could act as alternatives of the killer fibers as is being done in over 55 countries.

Instead of educating itself about the incurable diseases caused by the killer fibers of asbestos and the impossibility any technology in the world to save villagers and its workers, it is quite absurd for the Bihar Government to construction with the help of Police force akin to what seemed to have been attempted in Singur, West Bengal.

Bihar government should re-visit the Biology and Chemistry text books of Class Xth and Intermediate taught in its schools all over the state. These textbooks reveal that asbestos causes incurable diseases like asbestosis, lung cancer and mesothelioma. The Class XIIth textbook titled Inter Rasayan at page no. 2-345 categorically says, “Asbestos is a particulate pollutant of the atmosphere. In the process of preparation of asbestos sheet, the asbestos particles become airborne. If one breathes such air for a long period it causes asbestosis disease”.

Unmindful of this some 12 asbestos based plants are proposed in Bihar. It is also apprehended that some cement plants have hidden the fact that their factories are asbestos based cement plants.

BANI appeals to Bihar government and the Union Environment Ministry to stop the proposed asbestos plants in Bihar. These include:

1) Chennai based Ramco Industries Ltd for establishment of 1,20,000 MT/Annum Capacity of Asbestos Cement Sheet Plant and 2 Lakh MT/Annum Capacity of Cement Grinding Plant at Industrial Area, Bihiya, Bhojpur
2) Chennai based Nibhi Industries Pvt. Ltd for establishment of the One Lakh MT Capacity Asbestos Fiber Cement Corrugated Sheet, Flat Sheet and Accessories and Light Weight Fly Ash Block Plant at Industrial Growth Centre, Giddha, Ara, Bhojpur
3) Andhra Pradesh based Hyderabad Industries Ltd for establishment of 2,50,000 MT per year capacity Asbestos Cement Sheeting Plant in two Phases at Kumarbagh Industrial Area, West Champaran
4) Kolkata based Balmukund Cement & Roofings Ltd for establishment of 1.5 Lakh MT capacity production unit of Asbestos Fiber Cement Sheet (Corrugated/Flat) and Accessories at Chainpur-Bishunpur, Marwan, Muzaffarpur
5) Kolkata based UAL Industries Ltd for Establishment of 2, 33, 000 MT per year capacity Asbestos Cement Sheet and Corrugated Sheets Plant in two phases at Goraul, Vaishali in the name of UAL-Bihar. Earlier it was proposed at Bakhtiyarpur
6) Rajasthan based A Infrastructure Ltd for establishment of 1, 25, 000 MT per year capacity Asbestos Cement (A.C.) Sheet and 1,00,000 MT per year capacity A.C. Pressure Pipe at Pandaul Industrial Area, Madhubani. Earlier it was proposed in Industrial Area, Kumarbagh, Bettiah

Residents of Bhojpur, Bettiah, Vaishali, Madhubani, West Champaran, Muzaffarpur and other places in Bihar where Chrysotile (white asbestos) based plants are faced with the disastrous consequences of various types of cancers, including lung cancer and mesothelioma. Epidemiological and toxicological studies and laboratory experiments have demonstrate this and established it the impossibility of safe and controlled use of white asbestos myth about which are being propagated by the government having been misled by the industry.

Will the Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, Environment Minister, Jairam Ramesh, Commerce Minister, Anand Sharma and Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh see the writing on the wall and act to take steps to make our country asbestos free and not succumb to pressure from asbestos companies? The writing is attached.

For Details: Gopal Krishna, Convener, Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI)/Asbestos Mukti Andolan, Mb: 09818089660, 07739308480,

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