Royal Commission on Labour in India: Report(1929)||
During our visit to Khewra, we were struck by the poor health of the miners and their families. Anemia is prevalent, and it appears from a report made by Col. Gill, Director of Public Health in the Punjab, in 1922, that neither hookworm nor malaria is responsible. Col. Gill also pointed out defects in diet and a complete absence of sanitary arrangements. At the time of our visit, conditions seemed to be much as this report presented them, and we have been unable to find that any action had been taken on it. Health conditions in the mine are no more satisfactory than in the settlement itself and the inadequacy of the sanitary arrangements and the pollution of the atmosphere underground may be regarded as contributing to the low standard of health of the community. A special obligation lies upon the Government of India, who own and work this mine, to see that health standards and working conditions are improved. We recommend that, in addition to the application of our general recommendations as to health, early steps be taken to correct defects and to bring the sanitary conditions of the workings and the settlement up to a reasonable standard. We also recommend the provision of latrine accommodation near the entrance to the mine and improved latrines underground. A small sanitary staff should also be provided and placed under the supervision of the medical officer in charge of the hospital. We understand that a system of electric haulage in the main gallery is awaiting sanction, and this, with a more effective method of ventilation, would greatly improve the health of the mine.