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Independent rights group expresses concern on deplorable working conditions in Balochistan's coal mines

ANI | Updated: Nov 20, 2021 17:36 IST

Balochistan [Pakistan], November 20 (ANI): Pakistan Human Rights Commission (HRCP) has expressed concerns over rights violations and deplorable working conditions in Balochistan's coal mines.
At least 176 miners have been killed and 180 injured in mining accidents this year, Dawn reported, citing the data provided by Pakistan Central Mines Labour Federation.
Miners in Balochistan also face the risk of targeted attacks by non-state actors, highlighted HRCP, which is an independent, democratic non-profit organisation.
Given that coal mining is internationally classified as a hazardous occupation, mine owners and contractors must ensure that every mining site has a functioning ambulance service and an on-site emergency health worker, and that regular internal safety inspections are carried out, a veteran member of the rights body, Husain Naqi, said at a press conference in Quetta.
With respect to external safety inspections, the fact that only 27 mine inspectors are available to oversee health and safety in more than 6,000 mines in the province is also a cause for concern.
"The mission's broad findings reveal that the majority of coal miners are not registered with the Employees' Old-Age Benefits Institution or other social security programmes, which leaves them highly vulnerable once they are no longer able to work," he pointed out.
According to the HRCP, many labour union representatives also say they are deeply unhappy with the contractor system of operating coal mines because contractors have little stake in ensuring the safety and security of their workers and resort to cost-cutting measures.
It is also a matter of concern that, in many cases, contractors themselves function as the heads of labour unions, which is a potential conflict of interest.
Moreover, the compensation for death and injury is lower in Balochistan (i.e. Pakistani Rs 300,000) compared to other provinces (Rs 500,000). (ANI)