People in India were glued to their television sets on May 7 to watch the news of a deadly gas leak from a chemical plant near the southern city of Visakhapatnam, also known as Vizag, which took more than 11 lives and left many injured. But few would know about another gas leak from a paper mill in Chhattisgarh state a day earlier. While no one died, at least seven workers were hospitalised.
The Chhattisgarh accident is a testimony to local people’s difficult choice between earning a living and losing their health. Residents had been dependent on income from agricultural farms for decades, but with dwindling incomes over the last few years, they started opting for industrial jobs, which are often low paying but with high risk.
Accident in industries are not uncommon, but victims are rarely compensated. There are laws to protect workers, but only on paper.