JAIPUR: It was a day of discussion on health at the Jawab Do dharna on Tuesday. Small groups of people had arrived from many of the 20 districts in the state where silicosis is rampant, to share their experiences of getting Rs 1 lakh compensation from the state government. In 2013, the state decided to offer Rs 1 lakh compensation to patients of silicosis certified by the Pneumoconiosis Board. The kin of those dead would get Rs 3 lakh. Abhay Shukla of Jan Swasthya Abhiyan said that the Supreme Court has ruled that all those afflicted with silicosis should get a pension.

Many patients, some of them quite gaunt, recounted how they had been certified for over a year but had not received any compensation at all, or any support from the state government. While the compensation is offered only to mine workers, silicosis affects even those who sculpt with stones like marble – these workers are among the ones receiving the least benefits from the government. Many of them are tribals. Read more