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, June 19, 2012

DM orders immediate stay on Vaishali’s white asbestos plant

ToxicsWatch Alliance Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI)

Press Release

DM orders immediate stay on Vaishali’s white asbestos plant

Stage managed burning incident & fake police cases condemned by left parties

Vaishali/Patna/New Delhi June 19, 2012: Following protest of the villagers of Vaishali’s Chaksultan Rampur Rajdhari and their Mahadharana on June 14 against the proposed white asbestos based plant of Kolkata based Utkal Asbestos Limited (UAL) company, Jitendra Srivastava, District Magistrate (DM), Vaishali has ordered stay on the construction of white asbestos based factory till further orders. The protest has been going on for the last 2 years.

In a significant development, all the left parties in Bihar have jointly demanded permanent closure of the proposed white asbestos plant of UAL company in Chaksultan Rampur Rajdhari near Panapur in Kanhauli Dhanraj Panchayat of in Goraul block in Vaishali. The joint statement of Communist Party of India, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India (ML) Liberation, Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist) and Forward Bloc took cognisance of the protest against the lung cancer causing hazardous plant of Utkal Asbestos Limited (UAL) on June 14 in front of the factory gate under the banner of Khet Bachao Jeevan Bachao Jan Sangharsh Committee (KBJBJC). The statement observed that the villagers had opposed the hazardous plant even at the time of Public Hearing. It took note of the usual collusion between the factory owners and the ruling political parties.

The statement condemned this act of company management and demanded that white asbestos plant should be closed in public interest keeping public health in mind, register case against the management of Utkal Asbestos company sought for hatching a conspiracy by burning its own factory premises and dismiss fake case registered by Utkal management.

Expressing support to the villagers protest against the asbestos factory, Jan Abhiyan, Bihar, a shared platform of democratic and revolutionary organisations too has issued a statement and endorsed the above demands. Jan Abhiyan comprises of Janmukti Sangharsh Vahini, Janwadi Mazdoor Kisan Sabha, Communist Party of India (ML)-SR Bhaiji, Jan Pratirodh Manch, Janwadi Lok Manch, Communist Party of India (ML)-New Democracy, Sarwahara Jan Morcha, MCPI (U) and Communist Party of India (ML). Both the statements were issued on June 15, 2012. ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA) appreciates the support of the left parties for asbestos free India movement which is gathering momentum.

TWA observes that media persons of Bihar are under probe by a three member committee of the Press Council of India. Their balanced and objective reporting of the anti-asbestos movement can set a healthy precedent and redeem journalism’ higher standards.

It is noteworthy that DM held a Jan Adalat (Peoples Court) in the local Middle school to hear the testimonies and find out the reason for dispute between the villagers and the factory owner of the white asbestos company on June 16. He said that the legitimate demands of the villagers cannot be ignored. He heard the views of both the villagers and the factory officials. DM asked the villagers to form a team for negotiations with the factory management. He asked the factory management to present all its papers to him for scrutiny in the presence of local officials like Superintendent of Police, U K Sinha, DSP Pritesh Kumar, SDO Jyoti Kumar, DCLR, Nazar Hussain. The villagers protesting against this lung cancer causing hazardous plant under the banner of Khet Bachao Jeevan Bachao Jan Sangarsh Committee (KBJBJC) said that factories are required but factories of death and disease are unacceptable. KBJBJC members and villagers were who gave testimonies included former Mukhiya, Govind Rai, retired teacher, Asheshar Sharma, Ajit Kumar Singh, Sunita Devi, and others. DM has promised to examine the matter till June 30, 2012. UAL company, was represented by its Vice Chairman, Ajay Kumar Chakravarty.

Meanwhile, the committee has received a letter on June 17 seeking names of the team members who will negotiate on behalf of the villagers. A copy of the letter is attached.

At a villagers meeting on June 18 in Panapur where TWA was also present, the KBJBJC condemned the conspiratorial acts of UAL which has filed concocted cases against 8 villagers including committee members and 200 unknown persons as part of company’s design to malign the anti-asbestos movement. There was police presence at the site of Mahadhrana who were informed prior to the program still local police official, Vinay Sharma has mechanically registered the cases. UAL managed had engineered a fire within its own factory premises when the Mahadharana was on in police presence. Even media reports revealed that the journalist could see through the design.

The attached pamphlet of KBJBJC refers to Union Government’s views against asbestos. "The Government of India is considering the ban on use of chrysotile asbestos in India to protect the workers and the general population against primary and secondary exposure to Chrysotile form of Asbestos." It has noted that "Asbestosis is yet another occupational disease of the Lungs which is on an increase under similar circumstances warranting concerted efforts of all stake holders to evolve strategies to curb this menace".

TWA was in formed by one ex-army person, Ram Agar Sharma who is in the business of supplying security guards that most of the guards he supplied to asbestos factories in Rajasthan like Ankit Roofings, Jaipur became diseased. Therefore, he refuses to provide guards to asbestos based factories.

TWA demands that state government should set up a special committee to examine the occupational health status of the migrant workers from Bihar who work in hazardous industries like asbestos based factories and provide medico-legal relief to them. The status of workers currently employed in asbestos based factories in Bihar also merit serious attention because their life is in grave danger.

TWA condemns the shady designs of the UAL company against the villagers to protect its hazardous plant at the cost of villagers’ health. TWA has appealed to national and international groups and experts to come forward in support of Vasihali villagers’ right to health struggle against hazardous asbestos based plant.

For Details: Ajit Kr Singh, Khet Bachao Jeevan Bachao Jansangarsh Committee (KBJBJC), Vaishali, Mb: 08002903995
Gopal Krishna, ToxicsWatch Alliance (TWA)-Ban Asbestos Network of India (BANI), Mb: 08002263335, 09818089660,

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