In a strict message that pollution-related deaths cannot be brushed under the carpet and that those responsible for failing to stop them and pay compensation to the victims will have to pay heavily, the Supreme Court on Monday directed the Gujarat government to release more than Rs 7 crore as compensation to the families of 238 workers, mostly tribals, who died of silicosis after working in Godhra’s quartz and stone factories. It also pulled up the head of the Central Pollution Control Board, the agency that is mandated to monitor such issues, after he did not show up in the court to explain steps taken for preventing the death of workers due to silicosis. The court also underlined that the Gujarat government had failed to comply with the directives of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in 2010 on monetary compensation to people who have died due to silicosis. Read more