“Money is not important than life”
It is an article in a renowned national daily that has prompted to bring our audiences’ notice to the serious issue of domestic industry disaster compensation. That article is about a village located in the Indian state of Telangana. It is said in the article that the village referred in it is commonly known in the area as the village of widows.
The first question that comes to one’s mind when he/she goes through the headline of this article is that why this village is named like this.
That name itself tells thousand stories. The stories of denied justice, negligence and purposeful suppression of facts are significant among them.
The main story that led to all these stories began in 1970s. A quartz-mining and crushing factory was the central character of this story. That factor was the livelihood of hundreds of poor families in the village. Those employed there, who received a constant monthly income, were considered more privileged than others in the drought-hit village, as the prime occupation of the village was farming and that occupation was not profitable due to the consistent occurrence of drought and thousand other agrarian problems.
One day, suddenly, everything changed. Most employees working in the factory one by one started to fall under the clutches of a mysterious disease. Those affected by the disease either did not survive for long or lived with the symptoms, akin to TB, all through their life.
Most medical officials suggested that the deaths were due to TB, the disease common in that part of the state.
While the family of the employees running hospital to hospital for the relief of the sufferings faced by their lone breadwinners, one surprising thing happened. The company was closed down at least ten years before the date of the completion of their mining license, citing that the business was not profitable.
It took decades to unearth the real reason behind the sudden shut down. The reason was that the company identified that the mysterious disease that was troubling their employees was not TB, but was Silicosis, the incurable disease that causes due to the constant exposure to odourless Silica dust –this dust is commonly found in the places where the industrial processes of quartz mining and quartz processing take place.
The central character of this story is not a foreign company, not a corporate company, but is a government owned company. Is that a shock? Wait! Then, listen to this also. Not a single victim has received any compensation for the suffering they has undergone due to the negligence of that government company till this date. Not only that! The authorities have several times tried to portray that the victims were not the patients of silicosis, but TB.
The legal system of the country has recently intervened in the issue. Already three to four decades has passed post the incident. Now, not many believe that they would get justice.
It is high time to form a framework to ensure timely justice to those affected due to the negligence of industries.
Justice delayed is justice denied!!! What Do You Think?
Vignesh. S. G
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