The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has pulled up the Gujarat government for its failure to comply with its recommendation on the payment of Rs.3 lakh each to the families of 238 persons who died due to incurable silicosis disease.
If the State government failed to implement the recommendation within six weeks and revert back to NHRC with the proof of payment, then NHRC had no other alternative but to approach the Supreme Court which was seized of the matter, the Commission told the State Chief Secretary in a communication.
The affected people were tribals from Alirajpur and Jhabua districts in Madhya Pradesh and contracted silicosis while working in quartz crushing factories of Kheda and Panchmahal areas of Gujarat.
Setting aside the contention of the Gujarat government as unjustifiable that the families of such victims could be compensated under the provisions of ESI Act, 1948 and the Workmen’s Compensation Act,1923, the Commission held that the benefits under the statues would be in addition to the compensation recommended by NHRC.
Of the Rs.3 lakhs, one lakh had to be given immediately to the deceased’s families and the remaining two lakh be kept in a fixed deposit in a bank and interest accrued on the amount could be paid to the families on a monthly basis, it ordered.
REPORT BY BIKRAM SINGH RANA