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.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

There is an urgent need for a total ban on the import and use of white asbestos: Supreme Court

Note: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. In 2007, 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.” In the light of the above, Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI) contends that the misinformation campaign has been demolished by the apex court’s order.

Gopal Krishna

Hyderabad Inds in Rs 100 cr expansion
Prashanth Chintala / Chennai/ Hyderabad February 12, 201

Hyderabad Industries Limited (HIL), a CK Birla group company engaged in the production of asbestos cement products, has embarked on a Rs 100-crore expansion plan besides shifting its focus on manufacturing green building products.

HIL managing director Abhaya Shankar told Business Standard that the company was in the process of adding another asbestos sheets production line at its Satharia plant in Uttar Pradesh involving an investment of Rs 50 crore.

“The new production line will have a capacity of 100,000 tonnes per annum (tpa) taking our total installed capacity to 1 million tpa. Following this, we will be one of the largest producers of asbestos cement sheets in the world,” he said.
HIL is currently a leader in asbestos sheets production in the country with a share of 21 per cent in the Rs 3,000-crore market. In 2009-10, its turnover and net profit stood at Rs 756 crore and Rs 89.7 crore respectively.

“Our brand Charminar, established over six decades, continues to enjoy premium brand equity in the market,” Shankar said, adding the company's target was to cross a turnover of Rs 1,000 crore three years down the line.

Besides expanding the capacity of Satharia plant, the company is looking at setting up a manufacturing facility at a cost of Rs 50 crore in Bihar. The proposal is expected to be finalised shortly.

At present, HIL has 12 manufacturing plants spread across the states of Andhra Pradesh, Haryana, Jharkhand, Kerala, UP, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Orissa and Tamil Nadu. The company has also leased out a sheets manufacturing unit in Punjab.

Shankar said the company was constantly exploring the option of enhancing the capacity at its existing locations and setting up new plants to keep pace with the growing demand for its products.

According to Shankar, HIL has set up an autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) blocks production unit at Golan near Surat in Gujarat as the company is now focusing on becoming a manufacturer of green building products. The Rs 80-crore, two million cubic metre capacity unit commenced commercial production in August 2010 and is expected to achieve 75 per cent capacity utilisation by next year.

Made of fly ash and cement, the AAC blocks are stated to be light weight and are becoming the choice of the new generation builders.

Stating that green building products today account for 15 per cent of the company’s turnover, Shankar said HIL’s endeavour was to increase this share to 35 per cent in three years.

Shankar emphasised that the company going in for green building products was not linked to the furore being made by some voluntary organisations about the hazardous effects of asbestos. In this context, he cited a Supreme Court order, issued on January 21, 2011, that refused the plea of a petitioner for banning all uses of asbestos.

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