Greetings. More on Sivakasi and fireworks........
1. As a society we did not boycott purchase of fireworks manufactured through child labour in the past; we don't do it now either. Where is the social drive, social plea for such an action?
2. How many of us support local manufacturers if any? Yes, they are slightly more expensive; the fireworks are not as fancyful; one may even have to pay in advance to enable the purchase of raw materials.
3. How about celeberating Deepavali quietly? Does it have to have fireworks?
As a society, we failed to dictate terms, where we could have. When we fail to take responsibilty, we are quick to blame others for the ill effects.
Burn injuries are horrible. It takes more to cure burn injuries than trauma injuries. I know about exposure to high temperatures like 1,000 Degree centigade (no typo). The accidents are horrible; safety ,measures need to be in place to eradicate such accidents.
Sri.Nara was kind enough to contribute two links with respect to this discussion.
"Silambarasan, a Class XI student, had succumbed to burn injuries sustained in the accident. Even as he began to narrate his tale of woe, his daughter Tamaraiselvi, who was studying in Standard VII in the same school as her brother, struggled to console her mentally challenged mother, Muthupillai. Holding a recent photograph of Silambarasan, a sobbing Tamaraiselvi said, “My brother was the school topper in Standard X. He always inspired me to study well so that I can achieve my dream of becoming a doctor.”
It was an unnecessasary waste of an young life. Safety standards, manufacturing techniques, storage facilities, safety protocols and medical help in hand are to be scrutinised and are to be improved. Class XI student does not come under 'child labour'. (My own children went to work when they were in class X. But the support here is very good). When kids work part time or during holidays, it can't be termed as 'exploitation'.
In the licensed factories, did the management take ownership? ....."The factory management disbursed Rs.2 lakh as compensation to the next of kin of the dead, and this is in addition to the insured amount of Rs.50,000. Labour union functionaries said though the management took care of the medical expenses of the injured workers, they were left high and dry after getting discharged from hospital. Only one-third of the workforce got statutory benefits such as Employees’ State Insurance or Provident Fund, they said."
"The Collector told Frontline
that the factory owners were aghast at the serious action taken consequent upon the enforcement raids as even minor violations were not ignored. She said hereafter only joint raids by personnel of the departments concerned would take place in order to cover all licensed premises in a time-bound manner. “The actual cause of the accident can be ascertained only after the completion of the inquiry,” she said. On reports relating to the prevalence of child labour in the industry, she said the National Child Labour Project sources claimed that the system did not exist in the district. However, “one of the aims of the current action by the district administration is to wipe out child labour – direct or indirect – in the legal or illegal manufacturing units,” she asserted."
Social responsibility is a two way street. The wider society as customers, pump in money in that industry. We are as much at fault as the owners who make the profit.
Next time when our child enjoy fireworks, will we remind ourselves that children just like our own toiled (although working part-time) to manufacture that fire-works? If we do, then we may do something about it. It is up to us, the customers.
Every suffering due to accidents can be avioded. The safety standards can be improved. As per the child labour, it is up to the Government to enforce laws to make it compulsory for all the children to attend school; to enforce a minimum age limit for the part-time workers. (By the way, I wish to add here - we are supposed to be the government).
Next link - Korean broadcaster shoots documentary on Sivakasi child labour
"Karuppusamy, sits with members of his family in front of his hut, packing gun powder into cylindrical tubes. The camera pans to his face, grabbing the sight of his totally scarred and deformed face and hands. Does it hurt now, he is asked. "No," says 14-year-old Karupussamy, flexing his shriveled hands.
His father, Lingam, says that a small compensation was given. But the father was made to sign a statement which said the accident in which Karuppusamy was involved did not take place in the factory where he had worked earlier."
I am really sorry to note.....Karuppusamy, although a victim continues in the same kind of work....His father Lingam had not stopped it...I wonder why? Have the parents took a decision not to let their children engage in such risky work? If not, why not?