Despite being a killer disease like HIV/AIDS, Silicosis has not received government's attention, leaving thousands of unskilled workers exposed to the deadly lung ailment, the National Human Rights Commission has said.
"Like HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis, Polio and others, Silicosis has not received the attention that it requires though it is as deadly a killer as all these diseases are...government and its functionaries are not paying the attention at all," NHRC member P C Sharma told PTI.
Sharma said Silicosis is caused by inhalation of dust containing free crystalline Silica. Silica dust is released during operations in which rocks, sand, concrete and some ores are crushed or broken.
Workers engaged in mines, quarries, foundries, and construction sites or in the manufacture of glass, ceramics, abrasive powders, are vulnerable to Silicosis, which is "irreversible and fatal" if not detected at the early stage and treated, he said.
The "rich" employers in pursuit of making the maximum profit out of their industrial venture disregard this health hazards posed to their employees, who come from poor section of society and cannot afford the expensive treatment of Silicosis, he noted.
"They (employers) ignore the safety precautions. And the worse is that whenever such cases come to their notice they do not take sufficient measures to get them treated. And when casualties takes place, they don't compensate them adequately," he added.