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The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Wednesday issued notice to the health and environment ministries on a report that asbestos-related cancer was on the rise in India.

Toxics Watch Alliance, an NGO fighting for environmental protection, alleged that about 50,000 Indians die every year because of asbestos-related cancer.

“The complainant sought the commission’s intervention for a ban on the use of Chrysotile Asbestos (white asbestos), which is hazardous for the health of people and causes various incurable diseases,” an NHRC statement said.

White asbestos is a fibrous material used for building roofs and walls.

The NGO cited contradictory positions of the government on the issue, alleging that though the mining of asbestos has been technically banned by the government, it allows its import and “that too from the countries which do not prefer its domestic use”.

“The commission has issued notice to the secretaries of ministries of chemicals and fertilizers, environment and forests, health and family welfare, industry and commerce and labour and the chief secretaries of all the states and union territories, calling for status reports within four weeks on the issues raised in the complaint,” the statement added.


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