For more than seven years now, a resolute struggle has been going on in Delhi against Silicosis- an incurable occupational disease. In a scenario where national and international health investment is dictated by what diseases the international donors are willing to put their money in, the struggle has succeeded in bringing to the fore a serious health concern which has so far been neglected, led by the very victims of the disease.
It has highlighted the crucial issues of labour standards, occupational safety and human rights in the mining and quarrying industry. It is has also managed to engage various arms of the State – from various ministries to the NHRC and the Supreme Court- to recognise and deal with the issue. More importantly perhaps, it has been successful in exposing the policies of the State and politics of its inaction. It has succeeded in establishing that the onus of diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of victims lies on the State and the companies.
We bring you the story of Lal Kuan’s struggle against Silicosis in this issue of Update Collective.