Dahod district is one of the least developed districts of Gujarat. One of the Members of the Legislative Assembly from this district commented that Dahod is a district which primarily produces labourers for the rest of Gujarat. Nansinghbhai, resident of Vanbori village in Dahod district, came to Vadodara district as a migrant labourer. He was engaged in masonry work of a commercial complex being built on Dabhoi Road. His eldest son Mahesh were also engaged as labourers. Nansing bhai and Mahesh had start their work on dated 22-8-2012. The complex was small hence only 20 to 25 labourers were engaged in working at the site. On 1st September everyone had started their work in the morning as per the assignment given by the labour contractor, Harshad Patel. Mahesh was assigned work to clean the top of the first floor and clear wooden scaffolds. Whilst throwing materials, one piece touched the electric line passing 4 ft away and Mahesh instantly fell due to severe electric shock. Mahesh’s right hand, toes, chest, neck and face were severely burned. He was admitted to civil hospital and his treatment is currently on going. Though he escaped death, his future is bleak because his right hand has been severely injured. Mahesh goes through unbearable pain when the wounds are dressed, which happens every day, but it’s with the hope that their condition will improve. However the doctor is not giving any guarantee that the skin on Mahesh’s hand will recuperate.
Mahesh’s family possesses a ‘Below Poverty Line’ card, but they do not have a Rastriyrnea Swasthaya Bima Yojana (National Health Insurance Scheme) card. Though Nansingbhai and his wife are with Mahesh day and night, they do not have money to treat Mahesh in a private hospital. Because of Mahesh’s treatment they are not able to earn a living, a major opportunity cost. Every day they need R. 300 for treatment whilst the contractor covers some other expenses; nobody else is there to take care of their needs. When the Bandkam Mazdoor Sangathan contacted the principle employer, he was of the opinion that he does not have any legal responsibility as Mahesh was appointed by the labour contractor and it is up to the contractor to look into the matter. When contacted the contractor said that he is a small contractor and has done whatever he could with a small income. It is also the State responsibility to record and investigate the incident under the BOCW Act 1996.
At the time of the accident Mahesh was 17 years old however he looks closer to 15 due to malnourishment. Mahesh had discontinued his studies after 8th standard and started working as labourer with his father. Due to the nature of labouring the potential loss of a hand due to his severe injuries is threatening Mahesh’s livelihood.
It is ironic that the Government of Gujarat, which has proved so effective at collecting welfare cess from employers, having currently collected Rs. 450 crores, is so slow at distributing such welfare funds. The Construction Workers Union (Bandhkam Mazdoor sangathan) passed a resolution at the joint meeting with the Builders Association and the Gujarat Contractors Association on 28th April 2012, International Workers Memorial Day, proposing that even workers not registered with the Welafare Board should be able to claim benefit from the Welfare Board if they have injured in an accident in the course and out of employment. There are so many victims of accidents in the workplace who do not get any help for treatment at all. They are deprived of legal benefits that are designed to protect them. Will the authorities hear Mahesh’s cry?
Samuben Darbar, 49. succumbed to silicosis on 23rd September 2012. She never worked as agate polisher but her father-in-law established factory in front of their house in Shakarpur, Gujarat where once upon a time at least 25-30 workers used to work. Business was taken over by her husband and his brothers. One by one all brothers dies but Mansingh, Samuben’s husband. Samuben was diagnosed having silicosis in 2010. The picture was taken on 14 September by medical students of Dhiraj Hospital, Vaghodia visiting Shakrpur.
With deep sorrow and pain I regret to inform that our friend and activist Rachel Lee passed away this afternoon. She lost her battle against Mesothelioma, something she has been fighting with great courage. For those of you who attended the A-Ban meeting and the ANROEV meeting in Jaipur, in November this year, you would remember Rachel’s presence in the meeting. She was there to lend her support to the victims movement in Asia despite her fragile health. It is a real great loss for our movement, especially when BANKO was felicitating her for her contribution towards Banning Asbestos and strengthening the anti-asbestos movement. Read More »
Worked in Samsung semiconductor Assembly & Test factory in Onyang for six years from 1997 to 2003.
Diagnosed malignant brain cancer at 2010. Underwent Brain surgery and chemotherapy.
Died on 7 May 2012, at age 32, leaving behind loving husband and two children.
Lee Yunjeong had applied for Workers’ Compensation to the Governments, which is one of Korean social insurances, but the Governments refused to compensate her because she could not prove which toxic chemicals she had been exposed to. Read More »
We had set out at about 2 and after visiting Lalita in Garanwas we went to Falasiya on our way to Nenbara (Jhadol-Falsiya, Dist:Udaypur) to collect Dolatramji to accompany us. And now sun had almost set and yet we had not reached our destination. I was worried as I intended to take evening bus for Ahmadabad. When we reached Nenbara, my hosts started locating the house. They had sent two of their colleagues in advance to meet three victims in this area. They were contacting them on mobile. I was told that all victims have been asked to wait for us at one place so that we do not have to waste our time in reaching out to all one by one. Read More »