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 7, 2011

Supreme Court Takes Note of Ban White Asbestos Bill in Rajya Sabha

Press Release

Supreme Court Takes Note of Ban White Asbestos Bill in Rajya Sabha
Bihar Government Decides to send back proposals of asbestos units?
BANI Welcomes Sandeep Pandey supports against Asbestos Factories
Lessons not learnt from Kumbakonam deaths, Asbestos tragedy on the horizon in Tamil Nadu

New Delhi/Patna/ Muzaffarpur, 7 February: Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI) welcomes the support of Dr Sandeep Pandey, a Magsaysay awardee for the campaign of asbestos free India that has been launched from Chainpur-Bishunpur, Marwan Block, Muzaffarpur, Bihar.

Notably, in its order dated January 21, 2011, Supreme Court’s bench of Chief Justice of India Justice S.H. Kapadia, Justice K.S. Panicker Radhakrishnan and Justice Swatanter Kumar observed in para 15, “the Government has already presented the Bill in Rajya Sabha. The statement of objects and reasons of this Bill specifically notices that the white asbestos is highly carcinogenic and it has been so reported by the World Health Organisation. In India, it is imported without any restriction while even its domestic use is not preferred by the exporting countries.”

It further notes, “Canada and Russia are the biggest exporters of white asbestos. In2007, Canada exported 95% of the white asbestos, it mined out of which 43% was shipped to India. In view of these facts, there is an urgent need for a total ban on the import and use of white asbestos and promote the use of alternative materials. The Bill is yet to be passed but it is clearly demonstrated that the Government is required to take effective steps to prevent hazardous impact of use of asbestos.” BANI condemns the misreporting by certain section of media about the apex court’s order.

Reliable sources have revealed that Bihar government has decided to send back proposals of asbestos units. The state government has appealed to the anti-asbestos campaigners to get asbestos banned at the national level. BANI supports the demand for inquiry into firing by private army and police on 13th December, 2010, 9 January, 2011 and 22 January, 2011 on villagers and members of Khet Bachao Jiwan Bachao Jan Sangharsha Committee and appeals to the concerned citizens of Patna to join the Nagrik March against asbestos factory on 10th February from Juloos Gandhi Maidan, J P Golambar.

BANI contends that health being a state subject, Bihar government is within its rights to ban asbestos taking into the consideration the health hazards and diseases caused by the fibers of the white asbestos.

BANI would report to the Press Council of India, the boycott of mass movement against asbestos factory in Bihar by certain news channels and newspapers.

Dr Sandeep Pandey visited the plant site to express support for the villager’s Khet Bachao Jiwan Bachao Jan Sangharsha Committee’s struggle against the construction of hazardous asbestos factory. He complimented the villagers for launching a resistance movement against killer asbestos factories.

It germane to note that Supreme Court on 4th February, 2011 directed the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government to explain why compensation has not been paid to the families of 94 children who died in the fire tragedy in Kumbakonam town of Tamil Nadu's Thanjavur district in July, 2004. Sadly, Tamil Nadu Government sanctioned finances to replace thatched roof with asbestos roofs of schools. This replacement with asbestos sheets, which is a cancer causing material is going to have disastrous health consequences. The Public Works Department had been entrusted with this task.

BANI appeals to the Tamil Nadu government and Tamil Nadu Human Rights Commission to take note of Kerala Human Rights Commission’s ruled that the state government should take steps to phase out asbestos roofing from all schools in the state. This order dated January 31, 2009 paves the way for the eventual complete ban on asbestos and its products. The apex court may take suo motto notice of the possible asbestos exposures of school children and direct the state government to take preventive measures.

For Details: Gopal Krishna, Ban Asbestos Network of India/Asbestos Mukti Andolan,
Mb: 9818089660, 07739308480,

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