Industrialisation taking heavy toll on State

Staff Reporter

81 workers die in industrial accidents this year

State has so far signed 70 MoU with different industries

Cess collection for workers yet to be started

BHUBANESWAR: The State may boast of having attracted investments in mineral sector more than any other States of India, but it has also lost a substantial number of labourers this year with the construction phase of upcoming industries going on in full swing.

Replying to a query on deaths of labourers in workplace in State Assembly on Saturday, State Labour and Employment Minister Pradipta Kumar Nayak said as many as 81 workers died in 73 separate accidents in factories since beginning of the year 2008.

Going by the list of fatal accidents this year, 48 labourers were killed in already operational steel plants and upcoming steel mills constituting nearly 60 per cent of total casualties.

Similarly 11 died in the premises of alumina and aluminium plants while seven workers lost their lives in upcoming power generating units.

The record shows facility of Bhushan Steel Limited, which is coming up at Kuspanga in Dhenkanal district, has apparently become a death trap for its workers.

As many as 11 labourers died at different points of time during this year.

Similarly, Bhushan Power and Steel Limited that is developing its facility at Thelkoloi in Sambalpur district, also has high number of workers’ deaths. Its death toll is estimated to be at six.

Bhushan group has also been news for high number of accidents leading to deaths in previous years too.

Vedanta group’s facilities in Jharsuguda has been embroiled in controversies following deaths of six labourers in last 11 months.

Only one death was reported in Vedanta’s alumina refinery unit in Kalahandi district.

The number of casualties in public sector units are also significant ones despite the claim that these plants follow stringent safety measures. Accidents reported in facilities of National Aluminum Company (NALCO) and Rourkela Steel Plant have together touched 11 this year alone.

The State government has so far signed about 70 memoranda of understanding (MoU) with different steel, power, alumina and cement industries envisaging investment around 100 billion dollars.

In another reply, Mr. Nayak pointed out that there was no provision of registration of labourers in Labour Laws.

However, according to Factory Act, 3,172 plants had been registered and 1,77,425 persons were working in those facilities.

Despite reports of significant deaths in factories, the State government has adopted insouciant approach to implement the Orissa Building and Other Construction Rules, 1998.

On Saturday, Labour Minister admitted that cess collection for construction workers, which was a provision under the rule, was yet to be started.

The only thing, the State government has done so far, is that it has constituted a 17-member Orissa Construction Workers Welfare Board.