Video Volunteers community correspondent Rahul Pal reports from West Midnapore and Jhargram districts of West Bengal, where several poor labourers from the districts went to Jharkhand to work in a stone-crushing factory. But two years later they had to return after a prolonged illness. They were later diagnosed with silicosis, a medical condition where fine dust particles of silicon dioxide settle within the lungs leading to difficulty in breathing. In extreme cases, it even leads to death.
The WHO recognises silicosis and asbestosis as an occupational disease. Indian laws also have sections where those affected can claim compensation and treatment. But despite all provisions, patients and their families struggle to receive any help. Many migrate for better treatment to metro cities like Kolkata and Delhi eating up into their savings. It becomes very difficult to manage the costs of treatment especially when their only source of income is selling willow leaves.
Rohini Pawar distributed ration kits to those most in need.
Last year too they couldn't earn anything as the lockdown was imposed just before their earning season.