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, May 10, 2011

Promoting Asbestos, a Corporate Crime

andhra pradesh: protests
The Silicate Murderees
A proposed asbestos unit faces spirited opposition
Madhavi Tata, Outlook, May 16, 2011

Serving Krishna Poison

Proposal to set up an 1.8 lakh tonne per annum asbestos making unit in Andhra’s Krishna district (its third, if it comes up) attracts widespread criticism
Asbestos is carcinogenic
Fifty-five countries have banned its mining and use
India has been phasing out asbestos mining since 1986

It was called a magic mineral till it was found to be carcinogenic. Asbestos, which is used mostly in the construction industry and is known for its durable, fire-resistant quality and cheap price, is now primarily associated with lung cancer, mesothelioma (cancer that develops from the protective lining covering internal organs) and ‘asbestosis’. Such is its toxicity as a human carcinogen that 55 nations have banned its mining and usage entirely. India, however, continues to use it in various sectors despite its proven threat.

The gamut of emotions and issues involved in the use of asbestos in India was played out recently in Andhra Pradesh, where a proposal to allot a factory site to Pune-based Sahyadri Ltd in Narasimharaopalem village of Krishna district to set up an asbestos sheet and accessories manufacturing unit led to a massive public outcry. The extent of disapproval was seen during an environmental public hearing on April 21. The proposed plant, with a capacity of 1.8 lakh tonne per annum, is opposed by environmentalists and occupational health hazard researchers, Ban Asbestos Network of India, Jana Vignana Vedika, Human Rights Forum and Rythu Coolie Sangham. With big players like Ramco Industries, Bhagyanagar Woodplast, Hyderabad Industries and Visakha Industries, Andhra Pradesh is considered the asbestos capital of the country. Both Hyderabad Industries and Visakha Industries are owned by G. Vivek, Congress MP from Peddapalli constituency. Hyderabad Industries (Kondapalli) and Visakha Industries (Jujjuru) are both located in Krishna district. If allowed, the Sahyadri asbestos plant would be the third in the district.

India has been phasing out mining of asbestos since 1986. The central government has stopped granting new asbestos mining leases or renewing old ones. But official estimates state that seven mines are operational in the country. It is still mined in some parts of Gujarat, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh. In Andhra, asbestos is mined in the Saraswati-Brahmanpalli mines in Kadapa district by a company owned by Y.S. Prakash Reddy, a cousin of the late Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy.

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