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Content of Two Letters to Prime Minister Yesterday on Asbestos Housing Published

06.10.2018

LALIT has pleasure in publishing below the contents of the individual letters signed by 365 different people on behalf of their families protesting at Government’s delay in replacing asbestos housing. Around one half signed a second letter, their first one having been ignored by the Prime Minister, while the other half wrote informing him of who lives in their house, and with the same demands as the other letter.


 Here is the content:


 Name [of housing estate inhabitant living in asbestos house and writing to the Prime Minister for the 2nd time]: .....................................................................................


 Cite EDC in:  ......................................................................


                                                                                                                                    5 October, 2018


 To the Prime Minister, Pravind Jugnauth.


 Dear Sir,


 During a protest march on 6 July, 2018 organized by the Joint Local Housing and Local LALIT Committees, I submitted a letter to you, on behalf of my family, with specific demands concerning your Government’s failure to put into action its “grand projet d’envergure” announced by your Government in writing in 2015, and its failure to follow the specific recommendations of Dr. Sibartie and the Truth and Justice Commission to demolish and reconstruct houses made of asbestos.


 Our letters to you were polite. We called on you to announce a time-frame for the promised work, and for local/regional “desks” to be set up so that we can check on progress in the demolition-reconstruction work. I, with some 340 others, appointed 6 delegates to leave the letters at your office on the same day. I have waited 12 weeks. I have received no reply. You made no public statement, either. Your Ministers of the Environment and of Housing have made vague and hollow statements with a whiff of procrastination about them, while choosing apparently arbitrarily 4 EDC Cité out of the 59, and while allocating the paltry sum of Rs20 million for thousands of houses or more.


 I am, like thousands of other families, in the impossible situation of being forced to live in housing sold to me by the State that I know is dangerous to me and my family’s health, and despite assurances from the State from 2006, 2011 and 2015 that you will remedy this dangerous situation by replacing the toxic housing sold to us by the State. It is the responsibility of the State to remedy this urgently. And the State has admitted that it is its responsibility. In addition, it is dangerous for amateurs like me to dismantle this housing, anyway.


 I now wish, during a second national protest march today 5th October, 2018 to call on you, in addition to our demands specified in my last letter, to:


 1. Reply to our letters publicly, as well as individually, announcing your timetable for replacing our houses, and where you will provide a “desk” for us to ascertain progress being made.


2. Immediately arrange for screening for asbestos-related illnesses i.e. for tests that measure:


a) breathing


b) oxygen levels


c) exercise capacity


d) breathing during sleep


as well as scans. The cursory screening done in 2002 on a handful of people is wholly inadequate; we call for systematic and thorough screening for possible asbestos-related illness.


3. Take heed of recommendations by the Ombudsperson for Children on the effects on children of living in this dangerous housing.


 We petition you again as we are the victims of what is an urgent public health issue.


 Yours sincerely,


........................................


Signature or thumb print




Name [of housing estate inhabitant living in asbestos house and writing to the Prime Minister for the 2nd time]


 ................................................................................


 


Street: ................................................................... No....................


 


Cite EDC: .................................................................................................


 


5 October, 2018


To: Prime Minister.


Dear Sir,


We write to you as Prime Minister, after the apparent collapse of the National Committee on Asbestos which had an array of Ministers on it. It was set up after the then Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Housing issued a communiqué announcing a “grand projet d’envergure”and stating clearly: “L’amiante étant un matériau toxique, le Ministre du Logement a plaidé [with the then Minister of Finance] pour un plan de désamiantage. Le Ministre des Finances a agréé a cette demande et il déboursera le budget nécessaire pour enlever de l’amiante dans ces maisons EDC/Ex-CHA.” (Official Communiqué 22 July 2015). After some 350 asbestos housing inhabitants wrote to you on the 6th of July, your Ministers of Environment and of Housing have made vague and hollow statements with a whiff of procrastination about them, while choosing apparently arbitrarily 4 EDC Cité out of the 59, and while allocating the paltry sum of Rs 20 million for the thousands of  houses.


 In the meantime, I and the members of my family, listed below, are still residing in an asbestos house.


 1. We write to you today to call on Government to begin work on urgent and necessary assistance in eliminating asbestos housing and rebuilding.


2. In particular we call for you to publish “regional contact details” for Sub-Units in charge of this work in each region, so that my family can register with it for urgent and necessary assistance.


3. We call for the National Committee on Asbestos to proceed with the phase-by-phase removal of asbestos and elimination of the waste, having assured the appropriate (i) training and (ii) equiping of a team of workers, organized to cover the 59 Cité EDC concerned, and for the reconstruction of a house for each family.


4. We call on you to publish a “time-frame” for the demolition-reconstruction work.


5. Immediately to arrange for screening for asbestos-related illnesses i.e. for tests that measure a) breathing, b) oxygen levels, c) exercise capacity, and d) breathing during sleep, as well as scans. The cursory screening done in June 2002 on a handful of people is wholly inadequate. We call for systematic and thorough screening for possible asbestos-related illnesses.


6. To take heed of any recommendations of the Ombudsperson for Children on the effects on children of living in dangerous housing.


My family living in the unit includes:


Name                                                                          Relationship                           Age