Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Life in the Pits

Balochistan is home to the richest coal fields in the country, but unfortunately the miners in the province work under very dangerous conditions. According to rough estimates, there are about 250 mines and 60,000 miners in Balochistan. Boys as young as 13 are employed in the mines. On average, miners work 16 hours a day at low wages and tend to develop pneumoconiosis, a group of lung diseases. Indeed, the International Labour Organisation had pointed out that due to the lack of safety measures the death rate as compared to production per tonnage of coal was higher in Balochistan than other parts of the world.
The president of the Pakistan Central Mines Labour Union says, “Around 100 miners die annually in Balochistan in mine accidents, but so far not a single mine owner has been tried or convicted for deliberate negligence. The absence of strict accountability is the main reason proper safety measures aren’t taken.”

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