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HC notice to 35 Maha thermal power plants over safety measures

Thermal Power Plant

Mumbai, Nov 15 (PTI) The Bombay High Court has issued notices to 35 coal fired thermal power plants (CFTPP) in Maharashtra seeking their response to a PIL urging measures to deal with safety and occupational hazards.

The notices, issued by Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice B P Colabawalla, are returnable on December 8.

The bench, hearing a suo motu (on its own) public interest litigation (PIL), recently directed the CFTPPs to submit necessary compliance reports to the concerned Ministry of the state government and the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), stating that they had taken adequate safety measures.

The judges also directed the 35 thermal plants in the state to submit their periodical reports to the district legal services committee of respective districts, in which the power plants are situated.

The court also directed the district legal services committees in the state to enrol the students of law colleges and other colleges in their respective districts to personally visit the plants and interview the workers employed in such power plants for ascertaining occupational health hazards faced by them in various CFTPPs.

Such students can also ascertain the steps which are being taken by CFTPPs, preventive, curative and remedial, for protection of the health and welfare of the workers, the bench opined.

The judges also asked the Maharashtra Government to respond to the PIL on or before December 8 and indicate what steps it proposes to take for effective implementation of the provisions of the relevant labour legislations.

The Supreme Court, while hearing a similar public interest litigation (PIL), had considered various suggestions made before it to reduce the occupational hazards of the employees working in various thermal power stations in the country.

These suggestions included a comprehensive medical yearly check-up of all workers in coal-fired thermal power stations and free medical treatment to workers found to be suffering from an occupational disease, ailment or accident until cured or until death.

It was also suggested that services of workmen would not to be terminated during illness and they be treated as if they were on duty. Besides, the thermal plants would adopt safety methods recommended by National Institute of Occupational Health (NIOH).

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