The National Human Rights Commission has issued a notice to four central government ministries on its contradictory stand on white asbestos (Chrysotile) and a claim that fifty thousand people die in India every year due to asbestos related cancer.
The notice comes after India admitted at a recent international meeting under the Rotterdam Convention in Geneva that white asbestos was hazardous to human health.
White asbestos is commonly used for insulation in buildings and also for roof sheets. Chrysotile asbestos is banned in 55 countries, including the European Union and Japan.
Although the government's stated stand is ban on mining of white asbestos within the country, it allows its import from countries, where its domestic use is prohibited.
"Citing contradictory position of the Government on the issue the complainant Gopal Krishna of Toxics Watch Alliance has alleged that though the mining of Asbestos has been technically banned by the government, but it allows its import and that too from the countries which do not prefer its domestic use," NHRC said in its notice.
The notice has been issued to environment, chemical and fertilizer, commerce and labour ministries and they have been asked to submit their replies within four weeks.