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Insights Daily Current Events, 06 April 2015

Insights Daily Current Events, 06 April 2015

Amend Mines Act to contain silicosis: Rajasthan HRC

The Rajasthan State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has asked the government to take a fresh look at the Mines Act, 1952 to contain the alarming spread of occupational diseases and effectively deal with violators.

Why?

It is mainly due to a significant increase in silicosis prevalence in the region.

What else has the Rajasthan State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) said?

  • The commission has recommended the constitution of an independent agency with adequate powers to deal with all issues relating to occupational diseases and another panel to conduct studies and research.
  • The SHRC has also said that it should be made compulsory for mine owners to use modern technology for extraction of sandstone and other dimensional stones.

Silicosis:

  • Silicosis is an incurable respiratory disease caused by inhaling silica dust and is widespread among miners.
  • The problem will be prevalent among workers engaged in several other occupations such as stone crushers, quartz mining and processing, foundries, sand blasting, ceramic industries, gem cutting and polishing, slate and pencil industries, glass manufacturing, and construction workers.

Present Scenario:

  • The majority of stone mines are in the unorganised and small-scale sector and provide employment to lakhs of people living around the mines. Reliable data about these workers are not available since employment details are not maintained, though rough estimates suggest that 25 lakh workers are engaged in mining operations in Rajasthan.
  • Roughly 57 silicosis deaths have been reported from the State since 2009-10 and over 891 cases detected. These workers are among the poorest of the poor.
  • Working conditions in stone quarries are far from satisfactory. Most of the small mine operators are reluctant to adopt safety and health measures and do not comply with the provisions of the Mines Act, 1952.

Recommendations made by the Rajasthan SHRC:

  • A medical examination at the time of employment and periodic medical examination prescribed under the Mines Act and the Factories Act should be made mandatory for contract and casual labour in hazardous occupations.
  • The commission has pointed out that the requirement of certification of silicosis by the Pneumoconiosis Board for claiming compensation in the case of death and disability is a futile exercise as far as most of the mineworkers are concerned since even the Board members do not have any expertise on the disease.
  • The panel has said the doctors in the districts with adequate training in pneumoconiosis may be appointed as Certifying Physicians or a Pneumoconiosis Medical Board consisting of a group of doctors posted in the district may be authorised to issue such certificates.

Sources: The Hindu.

Pipeline project in Surendranagar

Gujarat Chief Minister recently dedicated the Narmada Canal-based pipeline project to the people of Saurashtra and Kutch region at Dhanki village in Surendranagar district in Gujarat.

  • The 361-km long ‘Swarnim Gujarat Bulk Pipeline Project’ has been termed as the biggest water grid project of the state.

Details of the Project:

  • Under this project, the Gujarat government has built three large pumping stations at Dhanki village of Lakhtar taluka on the branch canal of Naramda canal network. Three bulk pipelines have been laid from Dhanki to carry water to different areas of Saurashtra and Kutch.
  • Water will be pumped from pumping stations in Dhanki and sent to various parched villages through pipeline networks.
  • The project is aimed at providing 165 crore litres of potable water to about 1.75 crore people in 5,587 villages and 116 towns of Saurashtra and Kutch.

Sources: BS.

DU students harness wind energy from Metro trains

Delhi University students have discovered an innovative way of harnessing wind energy churned out by Metro trains to generate electricity.

  • The project has got the backing of Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), which allowed the students to install a turbine on trial basis at one of the underground stations.

Details of the Project:

  • Without obstructing the operation, safety and security of Metro services, turbine was put up along the underground tracks at the mouth of tunnel where the maximum wind velocity available is 6.5 metre per second (m/s).
  • In the first phase, a three-blade turbine was installed and later a five-blade light rotor turbine with a cut-in speed of less than 1.5m/s. It was connected to a battery and the power generated was measured.

Sources: BS.

Agreement signed to pave way for Ambedkar’s memorial in Mumbai

Bharat Ratna B R Ambedkar’s memorial is proposed to be built in Mumbai at a place where his last rites were performed, with an agreement being signed to resolve the long-pending issue of land transfer.

Details:

  • It is a tripartite agreement involving the Union Textiles Ministry, the Government of Maharashtra and the National Textile Corporation.
  • The agreement paves the way for resolving the long-pending issue of transfer of land from the National Textiles Corporation to the government of Maharashtra to enable construction of a befitting memorial for Bharat Ratna Babasaheb Dr B R Ambedkar.

Sources: BS.

Ready to link Silk Road plans with India’s ‘Mausam’: China

China has expressed its readiness to work with India to link its ambitious Maritime Silk Road plans with India’s ‘Mausam’ project in a bid to address India’s strategic concerns and derive common benefits.

Project ‘Mausam’:

  • It is a Project under which the Government of India has proposed to establish cross cultural linkages and to revive historic maritime cultural and economic ties with 39 Indian Ocean countries.
  • The 39 countries include Bahrain, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Egypt, Iraq, Mauritius, Singapore, Thailand, Yemen, South Africa, Philippines, Pakistan among others.
  • Project ‘Mausam’ was launched in the 30th Session of World Heritage Committee meeting which was held at Doha, Quatar in June, 2014 and since then it has received positive response from countries such as China, UAE, Qatar, Myanmar, Iran and Vietnam.
  • It is a Ministry of Culture project with Archaeological Society of India (ASI) as the nodal agency and Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) as its Research Unit.
  • The endeavour of Project ‘Mausam’ is to position itself at two levels: at the macro level it aims to reconnect and re-establish communications between countries of the Indian Ocean world, which would lead to an enhanced understanding of cultural values and concerns; while at the micro level the focus is on understanding national cultures in their regional maritime milieu.
  • The central themes that hold Project ‘Mausam’ together are those of cultural routes and maritime landscapes that not only linked different parts of the Indian Ocean littoral, but also connected the coastal centres to their hinterlands.

Sources: IE, ignca.nc.in.

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