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.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Proposed Killer Asbestos Plant in Vaishali


Mr Sanjeev Hans
District Magistrate

Subject-Proposed Killer Asbestos Plant in Vaishali

Dear Mr Hans,

This is with reference to my earlier letter to Deputy Chief Minister which was copied to you. On behalf of Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI), this is to urge you to avoid providing assistance to any immoral exercise to help set up the proposed asbestos plant in Vaishali. More than 55 countries have banned asbestos of all kinds due to health hazards.

We have learnt that Kolkata based Utkal Asbestos Limited (UAL) Industries Ltd plans to establish a 2, 50, 000 MT per year capacity Asbestos Cement Sheet and Corrugated Sheet Plants at Chaksultan, Rampur Rajdhari and Goraul villages of Vaishali district in the name of UAL-Bihar. This proposed plant is contrary to the wisdom contained in the text books of Biology, Chemistry, Toxicology and Medical Sciences.

I am aware that thousands of villagers in Muzaffarpur are protesting against a proposed chrysotile asbestos based plant since May 2010 since they know that asbestos cannot be used safely and in a controlled condition anywhere in India or elsewhere. On 1st and 2nd February, 2011, the newspapers have reported that construction of the proposed asbestos plant has been stopped.

The villagers here are braving police firing and repression of the insensitive government but are convinced that hazardous factory of asbestos which would get its raw asbestos from Canada and other countries pose grave dangers for the present and future generations. Notably, Canada has a no home use policy and it has decontaminated its parliament (House of Commons) of asbestos materials.

Instead of taking cognizance of such developments locally and globally, we have noted that The Times of India has carried an advertisement of Bihar State Pollution Control Board announcing 6/3/2011 as the date of public hearing at Panapur for the proposed asbestos cement plant in Vaishali. The very fact that the asbestos raw material for the proposed will be brought from Canada, Russia, Brazil and Zimbabwe underlines that the asbestos mining in India remains banned because of health hazards.

It is an exercise in sophistry to argue that asbestos can be used safely because WHO and ILO have already established that safe and controlled use of any kind of asbestos is impossible.

We appeal to you to take cognizance of global movement against asbestos of all kinds including white asbestos and take action to deal with the unacceptable situation of facing huge number of victims of asbestos related diseases like lung cancer, mesothelioma and asbestosis.

In the light of incontrovertible evidence, it would be in the fitness of things if the state government and the central government is persuaded to take preventive steps to stop imminent public health disaster.

In the midst of a global epidemic of asbestos diseases, it would be deemed inhuman to allow exposure to asbestos in Vaishali and elsewhere.

We expect a proactive and positive response from you in view of supreme human interest.

Yours Sincerely
Gopal Krishna
Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI)
Asbestos Mukti Andolan
New Delhi
Mb: 09818089660, 07739308480

Shri Nitish Kumar, Chief Minister, Bihar
Shri Jairam Ramesh, Union Minister of Environment & Forests
Dr. Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, Member of Parliament, Vaishali
Superintendent of Police, Vaishali
DDC, Vaishali
Ms Sunita Narain, Director, Centre for Science & Environment, New Delhi

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