Dusty deaths

Published: Tuesday 30 April 1996

THE villagers of Chinchugeria in West Bengal are threatened by silica and gypsum dust released by two different factories. Even as they reel under the shock of the recent loss of 20 lives to silicosis caused by silica dust from the stone-crushing unit Surendra Khanij, they are facing serious health hazards due to the gypsum dust constantly emitted' by Reshmi Cement Ltd.

Activists under the banner of a local organisation, Top Quark Science Centre, have forced Surendra Khanij to shut down. Constant exposure to mineral dust causes pneumoconiosis, a dust-disease affecting the lungs causing tuberculosis-like symptoms - asphyxiation, breathlessness, weakness and giddiness.

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