Raj govt launches silicosis policy for mining workers



Chief minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday launched a scheme under which those suffering from silicosis, a lung disease, will be treated at par with differently abled persons and will get a monthly pension of up to Rs 1,250.

Mining and mineral processing industry is a major employer in 19 out of 33 districts in Rajasthan. However, mining workers run the risk of getting afflicted by silicosis by breathing in dust containing silica.

Official data shows that over 1,600 people have died of silicosis in Rajasthan since 2011 when the government started identifying patients afflicted with the dreaded disease. The total number of silicosis patients in the state are estimated at 11,000.

Announcing the Rajasthan Silicosis Policy-2019, Gehlot said in the event of a silicosis patient dying, his widow will get all the social security benefits from the state government, including a monthly pension of up to Rs 1500. The policy will also focus on prevention and control of the disease.

Labourers arrived sans safety gear

Jaipur: A team of civil defence and disaster relief personnel began a rescue operation and pulled out the labourers.

“The two were shifted to SMS Hospital where Khokhar died during treatment,” said Heera Lal Saini, the SHO at Muhana police station. The incident happened the same day that CM Gehlot said at an event that cleaning sewerage chambers without adequate protective gear was a problem across the country and many times people had lost their lives cleaning these chambers. “It’s a matter of concern and pain for all of us that a person dies while cleaning a sewer chamber,” he said and directed officials to come up with a plan and implement it within a year.

Talking to TOI, Saini said that both Khokhar and Kumar were called by local resident Rang Lal to clean the chamber. They arrived without safety gear and, as a result, inhaled toxic gases.

“We have registered an FIR against the resident under IPC Section 304 (punishment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder). The case is currently under investigation,” Saini told TOI.