New Delhi: The Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu yesterday asserted that the mining industry must accord top priority to the safety, health and life of all the workers by developing a culture of prevention across the industry.
Addressing the gathering after presenting National Safety Awards for the years 2015 and 2016, Naidu suggested making the mining sector a secure workplace as well as a powerful driver of the growth of the Indian economy by upholding all safety and welfare standards.
“The concepts of ‘Self-supervision’ and ‘duty of care’ should become the keywords for the mining industry in place of the present system of External Supervision,” he said.
The Vice President asked the industry to make good use of technological tools and e-governance for continuous surveillance of workplace hazards in addition to the present system of using the naked eye and experience. He called for exploring options to achieve the goal of ‘zero harm’, by eliminating human and skill-based errors in the mining area.
On matters pertaining to effective regulation and monitoring, Naidu advised synchronizing legislative measures with the emerging technologies.
Observing that keeping the environment free from pollution was essential for the sustainability of mining industry, Naidu said that there was an urgent need to provide a better environment to workmen and to local inhabitants in mining areas by improving the ecological conditions.
“It’s my firm belief that mine safety should not remain confined to human-beings, rather it should encompass all living beings and natural ecosystems as it is our duty to protect our environment,” he added.
Stating that the mining sector has contributed greatly towards the development of the nation, Naidu said that the mining sector counted for 2.6 per cent of our national GDP and provided direct and indirect employment to over 10 million people (2 million in coal and major metals and 8 million in minor minerals).
Naidu said that India must aspire to further expand the value chains of its key minerals to leverage these resources for faster economic development and at the same time focus more on aspects such as safety, sustainability, and impact on the environment.
Stressing the need to strengthen emergency preparedness of all mines to reduce the damage due to disasters and other incidents, Naidu asked the mining industry and the Government to frequently check disaster preparedness of district administration, rescue services, State Disaster Response Force and others by conducting mock rehearsals at mines.
The Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Santosh Kumar Gangwar; Secretary (Labour & Employment), Heera Lal Samariya; Joint Secretary (L&E), Kalpana Rajsinghot; and the Director General (officiating), Directorate General of Mines Safety (DGMS), R. Subramanian were in attendance at the venue where more than 90 people received National Safety Awards.
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