New Delhi, Oct 23 (ANI): Vice President Hamid Ansari conferred the "National Safety Awards (Mines)" here today.
The function was organised by the Directorate General of Mines Safety (DGMS) under the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
Addressing on the occasion, Ansari said that while the Indian mining industry has achieved phenomenal progress in production and productivity, accidents in the mining sector are also, sadly, a fact of life.
"While the risk of hazard cannot be eliminated from mining activity, the consistent efforts since Independence has been to ensure the safety, welfare and the health of workers of mines by minimizing the hazards through all available technological means," he said.
He said that the death rate and serious injury rate per thousand persons have increased during this decade.
"This needs to be addressed with alacrity, notwithstanding the progress made on safety issues in the decades after nationalization of coal mines and also considering the fact that our record is better than that of many other coal-producing countries," he added.
The Vice President expressed his concern that the total number of inspections carried out by the DGMS has gone down by a third in the last fifteen years - from 9942 inspections in 1991 to 7041 inspections in 2006.
The paucity of human resources is an obvious hindrance to inspection work, he said.
The DGMS website notes that "keeping in mind the limited resources available by way of inspecting officers and associated infrastructure, it is humanly impossible for them to ensure compliance by management at all times and at all work places."
He called upon them to correct this situation at the earliest and empower the regulator for mines safety to recruit the requisite talent.
"This would ensure that lack of personnel does not hinder inspections and thereby cause more human fatalities and casualties," he added.
The Vice President later praised the efforts of the DGMS in organizing safety campaigns and observing safety weeks, holding first aid and rescue competitions and undertaking awareness and information dissemination. (ANI)