The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind presented the National Safety Awards (Mines) for the years 2013 and 2014 at a function held at Vigyan Bhavan in New Delhi today.Speaking on the occasion, the President said that India is endowed with an impressive mineral wealth. Today, the mineral sector contributes 2.6 per cent of our national GDP and provides direct employment to over one million people on a daily average basis, and helps the lives of their families.The President said that in recent decades, the Indian mining industry has progressed appreciably in production and productivity through intensive mechanisation and adoption of new technology. Never before in its long history has the Indian mining industry experienced such revolutionary change, at such an accelerated pace. The balance between greater productivity and profit margins and the safety of workers is vital. Human safety and lives must always come first. They are always the priority.
The President said that he was confident that the National Safety Awards in Mines will continue to be an excellent motivator for upholding safety and welfare standards in the mines of our country. The safety practices of the award winning mines from today’s event should be case studies for students of mining engineering and management. Students should also visit such mines as part of their familiarisation programmes.
The Minister of State(IC) for Labour and Employment, Shri Bandaru Dattatreya congratulated the award winners and said that the growth of mining sector has to go hand in hand with rapid industrialization in other sectors, and has to remain an important cog in the wheel of development. However, the production of minerals at any cost, especially in terms of human sufferings is not acceptable. The mining community must adhere to the principles of “safe mining”, which consequently benefits the whole society.
Dattatreya informed that the Ministry of Labour and Employment is keenly interested to ensure reduction in risk of occupational diseases and casualties to persons employed in mines by drafting appropriate legislation and setting standards, through various promotional initiatives & awareness programmes, creating an environment in which safety is given due priority.
The Labour and Employment Minister informed that the appropriate amendments of the Mines legislation have already been taken up and at present, the amendments of the Coal Mines Regulations and Oil Mines Regulations are in the final stage. DGMS has taken initiatives to bring awareness amongst workers, mine owners of small mines in unorganized sector and community as a whole, by organizing awareness camps in silicosis prone states. The Secretary, Ministry of Labour & Employment, M. Sathiyavathy said that National safety awards will not only motivate the recipients to achieve highest standards of safety & health in mines but also will inspire every single person involved with mining industry for achieving the same.