Fifth CSE Media Fellowship: Mining, Environment and People’s Protests
September 15, 2005 – October 15, 2005
Mining is an issue that has stirred deep emotions, fanned desperate conflicts, and upset the applecart of ‘development’. It is also an issue that has largely gone under-reported or glossed over by the media.
Questions remain unanswered. What has it really meant for the environment and the people? How has it impacted livelihoods and socio-cultural systems? What has been the nature of environmental impact assessments (EIAs) and public protests related to mining? Have EIAs ever impacted operations in this sector in a positive manner?
The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) tried to answer these and similar questions through its fifth media fellowship on ‘Mining, Environment and People’s Protests’. From September 15, 2005 to October 15, 2005, it offered journalists a unique opportunity to travel, research and report on mining activities in India and their impact on environment and people.
A jury was constituted to select the fellows. The objective of the jury was to finalise the selection of journalists for the fellowship, enrich proposed story ideas with fresh perspectives and suggest ways to make future fellowships more challenging and meaningful.
The external jury included:
Prof C R Babu, Faculty, Department of Botany, Delhi University.
Mr Madhusudan Srinivas, News Editor, The Times of India, New Delhi.
Mr Mangalesh Dabral, Executive Editor, Sahara Samay, New Delhi.
Dr R Sreedhar, Convenor, Mines, Minerals and People, New Delhi.
Dr S Muralidhar, Advocate, Supreme Court of India, New Delhi.
Sunita Narain, Director, CSE and Pradip Saha, Managing Editor, Down to Earth were also present at the jury meeting.
The jury selected 12 fellows based on their originality of ideas; grasp of issues covered; relevance of the issues covered; range of the issues covered; analytical skills; writing skills; and initiative. Extensive modifications were suggested by the jury in the work proposals of some candidates.
Impact of the Fellowship
The fellowship exposed journalists to vital areas of concern related to mining and its impact and brought them face-to-face with the ground realities in mining areas. Of the 12 fellows, Ratna Bharali Talukdar from Assam received two awards – Chameli Devi Jain awards, 2005 for outstanding women mediaperson and the Ramnath Goenka Awards – for her stories on the coal mine workers of Makum area in Upper Assam.
We present here the fellows, their profiles, work and experiences and their reactions to the fellowship.
Anupama Kumari is a news writer with the Ranchi based Hindi daily Prabhat Khabar. She has been doing special supplements for Prabhat Khabar, including a 75-page supplement published on the day Jharkhand was formed. A science graduate from B N Mandal University, she has studied journalism from P K Institute of Media Studies, affiliated to the Bhartiya Vidya Bhawan, Mumbai. She is also pursuing a course in human rights from Indira Gandhi National Open University.
Anupama submitted a proposal to study mining in tribal areas of Kolhan in West Singhbhum district, Hazaribagh in Dhanbad district, and Giridih, Latehar and Lohardaga districts in Jharkhand with special focus on problems of women and children. She wanted to focus on the plight of tribal women displaced and disempowered by mining, who traditionally have had rights on natural resources and hence played an important role in decision-making. Displaced from their lands, they are reduced to working as housemaids or prostitutes. In settlement colonies, their needs like healthcare and education are ignored. Women are thus reduced to working as bonded labour, bearing with physical and sexual abuse, low wages and no security.
The Jury was of the opinion that it was a good proposal and Prabhat Khabar was a committed newspaper as far as reportage on environmental issues is concerned. The Jury, however, suggested that besides women and children, Anupama should also look at and report on public hearings and Environment Impact Assessments in the state.
Anupama published ten stories between October 21 and November 21, 2005 on the lives of women in mining affected areas. Her stories have pushed local journalists to do stories on the plight of women in areas affected by mining. Local NGOs, says Anupama, are using her stories for campaigning and advocacy on the issue. Anupama felt all the field visits she made were exposes on their own.
Freelancer, The Samaja
Brajakishore Mishra is a freelance journalist contributing to various Oriya media organisations like the leading Oriya daily, The Samaja. He is working as a special correspondent with the news agency, Hindustan Samachar and had presented the letter of support from The Samaja. He was previously associated with the Oriya daily The Swarajya, United News of India and Dainik Hindustan. A law degree holder, he has been writing on development issues for the last 25 years.
Brajakishore had proposed to study the environmental degradation caused by mining in Keonjhar and the anticipated impact and protests in Kalahandi district of Orissa. Keonjhar has been ravaged by 50 years of mining iron, manganese and chrome. Because of mining activities and ore beneficiation, soil destabilisation, pollution of water resources, loss of vegetation cover and solid waste problem is rampant. Lives and livelihoods of the primitive Juang and Bhuyan tribes have been endangered. But their protests have gone unheard. The promises made by mine owners to reclaim the area in the Environment Impact Assessment reports have not been fulfilled.
In Kalahandi, Brajakishore wanted to study the bauxite mining project of Vedanta Aluminium Limited at Niyamgiri hills for its aluminium plant. Niyamgiri is home to 15,000 people in 300 hamlets, endangered medicinal plants and a source to 32 perennial streams and two major rivers.
Having received several applications from Orissa, the Jury felt Brajakishore’s was the most journalistic of the lot. He had given a balanced and well-judged list of people for interview, and this impressed the Jury. At the same time, the jury suggested that he should focus on POSCO, because it was of contemporary interest. According to the Jury, he could look at what would happen when POSCO comes, and do a critical analysis of POSCO’s EIA. They opined that the issues mentioned by Brajakishore in his proposal, for instance the people’s protests, could be weaved around the story of POSCO.
Brajakishore published six stories in The Samaja between October 16 and November 20, 2005.
The stories filed by Brajakishore were an eye-opener for him as well as the readers, with the environmental degradation caused by mining and the poverty of the tribals etched out in the stories. According to Brajakishore, the impact of the stories was mind boggling, with a lot of people calling him up and The Samaja receiving numerous letters. In his report on POSCO, Brajakishore highlighted the unknown fact that the government had already started the process of taking over land in Jagatsinghpur.
Staff Reporter, The Hindustan Times
Ejaz Kaiser has been with the Hindustan Times since 2000. Before that he was a feature writer with the National Mail and Chronicle. Based in Raipur since 2002, Ejaz has been covering state bureaucracy, forest, wildlife and environment, mining, political events, crime, courts and tribunals and tribal issues. He is a psychology post-graduate from Aligarh Muslim University and did journalism from Writers Bureau, Manchester, England.
Ejaz’s proposal focused on mining in Jagdalpur, Kanker, Sarguja, Bastar, Korba, Raigarh, Bhilai (Durg) and Rajnandgaon in Chhattisgarh. His story ideas included the study of state’s mineral policy; the extent to which Chhattisgarh’s mineral riches have benefited the local populace; success stories from mining industries; scope of private participation in mining sector; families involved in mining activities; whether mining activities and preservation of forests and environment go hand in hand; diamond mining in Chhattisgarh; tribals and villagers’ consciousness of mining’s impact on their health and environment; and the significance of protests and rebellion registered in Chhattisgarh and adjoining areas over mining activities.
The external jury felt that Ejaz’s proposal was much too broad. But Chhattisgarh being an important state in terms of mining, the scenario in the state needed reflection through these fellowships. So, the jury suggested that Ejaz should be asked to refocus. The members of the jury were very interested in one of his suggested areas of study – diamond mining in the state. According to them, the Chhattisgarh mining policy is opening the gates of the state to all private companies and MNCs. Mapping licenses have been given to DeBeers and other companies; investments have come from the Bharat Shah group as well. The subject of diamond mining, thus, has immense possibilities. Hence, it was felt that he could do stories on diamond mining in the state, in terms of the future of mining, policy implications, impact on people, ecology, water, etc.
As per the suggestions of the jury, Ejaz Kaiser, covered diamond mining in Chhattisgarh under the fellowship. He published seven stories in the Hindustan Times between October 20, 2005 and November 19, 2005.
In terms of the impact of his stories, Ejaz says that the diamond smuggling issue was taken up by the chief minister Ajit Jogi after his story on the issue. He also mentioned that his stories raised question on diamond mining in the state and hence angered bureaucrats and mining companies.
Freelancer, The Pioneer & Hindustan
Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
Kulsum Talha is a freelance journalist based in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. She started her carrier as a journalist with the Northern India Patrika in 1983. She then joined the Times of India and worked with it for the next 14 years. Kulsum also worked with the Indian Express, where she was looking at political issues. She has been associated with Doordarshan and All India Radio as well, where she scripted programmes on youth, women and social issues. She also regularly contributes to BBC, the German Radio and the Voice of America and was a stringer for the Associated Press.
Kulsum proposed to look at the Sonbhadra area and study the mining activities there. Sonbhadra supplies minerals like dolomite, limestone, andalusite, china clay and coal to various industries and gives the government revenue of Rs 200 crore. There are about 160 mining leases and 180 crushers in the Billi-Markundi and Chopan Sinduria areas where limestone is found. Kulsum wanted to focus on the pollution (dust and noise) created by the crushers and the lack of health and sanitation facilities. She also wanted to write about the influence of naxalism in the region since the terrain does not support agriculture and there are no other job opportunities. Her other point of interest was the corporate social responsibility, especially in the case of big financers and corporate houses: whether the corporate houses were following the rules and regulations to carry out safe and scientific mining and an environment management and reclamation plan?
The Jury felt that the Sonbhadra region certainly needed some exposure and Kulsum’s proposal scored on that count. But it also felt that getting the articles published in Pioneer wasn’t enough and she had to provide a letter of support from some other publication – like Dainik Jagran – as well.
Kulsum has published four stories, two in Hindi daily Hindustan and two in The Pioneer. Kulsum’s stories on the conditions of mine worker’s children at mining sites and their vulnerability to pollutants generated interest. Her stories were appreciated by other journalists as well.
M T Shivakumar
District Correspondent, Prajavani and Deccan Herald
Shivakumar is a staff correspondent with Prajavani, since 2001. He has been associated with leading Kannada dailies like Udayavani and Mysooru Mithra. Shivakumar has also contributed to documentaries and features of the All India Radio. He has been writing on issues of mining in Bellary, naxalite activities in the region and civic affairs. Shivakumar covered the special task force operation against Veerappan and the 2004 Lok Sabha and Assembly elections. Graduate from the Mysore University, he has studied criminology and forensic science, public administration, journalism and mass communication.
In his proposal for the fellowship, Shivakumar wanted to study iron ore mining in the Bellary region of Karnataka. Bellary district, one of the most backward districts of the state, is a hotbed of mining activity (both legal and illegal). He proposed to study the mine mafia and involvement of politicians in it; extent of child labour in the mines; condition of migrant mine labourers; labour safety measures; impact of mining on Hampi, which is a World Heritage site; exploring link between AIDS prevalence and mining and other health issues; people’s perception of mines in Sandur, Hospet and Bellary and their resistance; degradation of environment especially on water bodies and the impact on agriculture; revenue loss due to illegal mines; changed socio-cultural systems like depleting folklore; changes in traditional economic practices; and the air pollution caused by the tens of thousands of trucks commuting on the roads carrying mineral ore.
The Jury felt that Shivakumar had submitted a good proposal, which had several original ideas. They believed that stories on some of the issues suggested by him would make very interesting news. Like, child labour in mines and a study of enforcement of the law in this context, impact of mining on Hampi, the linkages between AIDS and mining (is the large migrant labour population a factor?), changes in socio-cultural systems as a result of mining, the issue of trucks carrying mineral and overburden through the area and the pollution caused by them. But, the jury felt, that Shivakumar should not restrict himself to only these – he could also explore all the other issues that had been proposed.
As a result of his extensive travel and research, Shivakumar has published 11 stories, nine in Prajavani and two in Deccan Herald, between October 12 and November 22, 2005.
Shivakumar feels that the publishing of articles on mining has highlighted the demerits of mining. His story on children working in mines has led to the formation of a team to check child labour in mines and the district collector of Bellary too has warned mine owners against it.
Mahesh Chandra Joshi is an assistant editor with Hindi fortnightly paper Nainital Samachar. Formerly with Rajhans Press (prints Nainital Samachar) as a composer, Mahesh joined the editorial section of Nainital Samachar in 1985. He has also been an activist, involved in the public campaign against drugs and other campaigns in Uttaranchal.
Mahesh proposed to study mining in Almora, Pithoragarh, Tehri, Bageshwar, Nainital and Udhamsingh Nagar in Uttaranchal. He wanted to focus on the relationship between the politicians who have reached influential posts with the help of the mining business and the mining money involved in running politics. He sighted examples of members, leaders in the state legislature and ministers in the state government. He also wanted to write on the people’s movement in Chaurasthal (Patti Malla Danpur) and the related court case.
Other areas of study proposed by him were, the vanishing water sources due to magnesite mining in Chandak, Tadigaon, Jhirauli and white clay mining in Reema and Nakuri areas in Bageshwar district; the impact on agriculture of magnesite and white clay mining; the changing socio-cultural set up of the villages due to mining activities.
The Jury felt that Mahesh’s proposal was well defined, serious and very well written. It did not make any changes in Mahesh’s proposal. Based on his proposal, Mahesh published 6 stories in Uttarakhand Shakti, Yugvani, Nainital Samachar and Sahara Samay between October and November 2005.
About the fellowship, Mahesh felt that the one-month duration of the fellowship wasn’t enough to do the research, writing and publication and he had to reduce the ambit of his study to meet the deadlines. Also he felt that the most read daily newspapers were not writing at all about the problems of mining – the region has become a stronghold of the mining mafia. Only the government’s and business’s side of t he story reaches the national dailies leaving no space for the plight of the people to be registered.
Raju D Nayak
Principal Correspondent, Loksatta
Raju Nayak is a senior development journalist working with the Marathi daily of the Indian Express group, Loksatta. Before joining Loksatta he was the editor of Sunaparant, the Konkani daily newspaper. During his tenure Sunaparant was in the forefront of the campaign against Nylon 6.6 project in Goa. He has been associated with Rashtramat and Mumbai Sakal. He is now also the state representative of the Indian Express. He has also written plays on social and environmental issues. Raju is a commerce graduate.
Raju had proposed to study open cast iron mining in Goa. His focus was on six major issues, the first of which was mining and agriculture. Rejects from the mining sites were dumped in the open, as a result of which toxic effluents seeped into agricultural land. Further, he proposed to look at mining’s impact on the Western Ghats, particularly the Sahyadri ranges of which 600 sq kms falls inside the state. The Mhadei and Netravali sanctuaries in these belts were affected by mining. The impact on Goa’s drinking water supply, the pollution of rivers, the collapse of village culture as a result of mining; and the lack of steps taken by mines to fix its workers’ occupational health problems. Raju also wanted to study the success stories of mining companies that have tried to find solutions to the problems.
The Jury discussed Raju’s proposal and the situation in Goa at some length. It was of the opinion that Raju should focus on private mining in Goa. There were big names involved in this sector, but the mining practices were outdated and reclamation was unheard of. Mining overburden was being dumped in the ocean and Goa’s much vaunted restoration and reclamation was nothing but a farce. The jury agreed that Raju could look at the impact of mining on drinking water, water bodies and groundwater. It also suggested Raju to follow up on the work of the Supreme Court’s committee looking into impact of mining and why its report was not made public.
Raju published five stories in Loksatta between October 11 and October 16, 2005. The same series may also be published in The Indian Express.
On the impact of his fellowship stories, Raju feels that his stories generated lot of interest in readers. He received many calls and letters including one from a lady that wanted to write a fiction on the issue. His stories have also provided impetus to activists in Goa to group together against the mining industry. Raju exposed the politician and mining industry nexus, where the industry is extracting ore (with or without a license) and the politicians are providing the machinery to mine.
Ratna Bharali Talukdar is a freelance journalist based in Guwahati, Assam. She contributes regularly to numerous Assamese and English dailies and magazines. She was previously a contributor to The Times of India and the Press Information Bureau, Guwahati. She has also worked as a staff reporter for the Purbanchal News Network. Ratna also writes short stories for Assamese literary magazines.
Graduate in anthropology, Ratna has special interest in environment, women and children, and in development and ethnic issues. She is currently pursuing a study on the condition of women with special reference to girl child in the refugee camps in Kokrajhar district of Assam, under the 10th national media fellowships programme of National Foundation for India.
Ratna had proposed to study the impact of coal mining activities in Makum area in Tinsukia district of upper Assam on surrounding environment and socio-economic condition of the people. Her focus was on the four underground mining fields – Bargoloi, Ledo, Tipong and Jeypore, and two open cast mines – Tikak and Tirap in the Makum area. The objectives of the study were to find out if coal mining in Makum is done in a scientific manner; whether post-mining treatment and management of mined areas has left any impact on the local flora and fauna; and the changes in the ecosystem surrounding the coalfields that have taken place over the past 120 years.
The impact of mining on water availability and quality, and on water bodies around these mining sites, and the impact on the health of the local people were other points she wanted to include in her fellowship. She also wanted to study Tangsa, a village in the Makum fields, inhabited by the Tangsa Naga community, which had caved in due to underground and open cast mining. Ratna intended to study the village vis-à-vis the impact of mining on livelihoods and village economy.
The external jury felt it was a good proposal, and also suggested some areas that Ratna could perhaps focus on additionally. The first of these was the issue of safety of mine workers and the people living in the neighbouring areas and their health concerns. What did the law say on this issue? Were its guidelines being followed in Makum? A health index of the region of the last 30-40 years, the jury thought, would be interesting.
The jury also suggested that stories could emerge from the issue of restoration of mines in the region. Were there any guidelines for restoration, and were these being followed? How much money had been spent on restoration, and how much had the mines generated for their owners? The jury also felt that it was difficult for a journalist to tell whether mining was scientific or not. It was suggested that she consult experts, geologists and other relevant people to understand scientific mining and then report on it.
Ratna had presented the letter of support from Sambhar, the Sunday magazine section of Asomiya Pratidin. The jury opined that it would be good if the articles were also carried by the main paper, Asomiya Pratidin, as this would enhance their readership tremendously.
Ratna published five articles in the daily, Asomiya Pratidin, as part of a series titled Nishiddha Nogorit Abhumuki (Peep into the forbidden city) between October 21 and October 24, 2005.
As a consequence of her stories Ratna was recently awarded the Chameli Devi Jain award for best reportage by a female journalist. She was also awarded the Ramnath Goenka Award for her stories written under the fellowship. About the fellowship, Ratna says that her stories, especially the one on the conditions on health and safety of coal miners in the mines, were an eye opener.
Sub Editor, Mathrubhumi
Sasidharan Mangathil is a sub editor with the Malayalam daily Mathrubhumi. He has worked at various editions of the paper in Kerala, including Thiruvananthapuram and Calicut. Holding a masters degree in geology from Calicut University, he has worked with various scientific institutions as well. He was a junior research fellow in a project on erosion and sediment transportation of Kariangote river sponsored by the state committee on science, technology and environment of the government of Kerala. He was associated with the Kerala Mineral Exploration and Development Project as assistant geologist. He also worked as a project scientist in the panchayat resource-mapping programme implemented by Centre for Earth Science Studies. Sasidharan has been awarded the Jaiji Peter Foundation fellowship for the study of landslides and its environmental impact in Kerala for the year 2002.
Sasidharan, in his fellowship proposal, wanted to study mineral sand mining in Kollam and Alappuzha districts of Kerala. The issues he wanted to take up were the impact of sand mining on fishing and fishing communities livelihood; the ingress of salt water from the sea into the backwaters and its impact on the Vembanad and Ashtamundi lakes after the barrier provided by mineral sand will be removed; the impact on coastal ecology; the John Mathew Commission; and a study of the three reports on mining heavy minerals in Kerala and the nature of mine management in the Chavara area.
The jury felt that Sasidharan’s was a good proposal and he had a good list of people to interview. The proposal suggested that he had done some background research on the issue. The members felt that perhaps, he could examine the technical aspects related to the feasibility of mining in these areas.
Sasidharan published four stories in Mathrubhumi between December 4 and 7, 2005 on sand mining.
Through his stories Sasidharan was able to expose the unscientific way of mining being carried out, especially in the Vellanathuruthu and Ponmana areas. His story on proposed mining in Arattuphuzha and Thirukkunnapuzha area of Alappuzha district may have lead to the Kerala government dropping the proposal completely.
Staff Correspondent, The New Indian Express
Shafi Rahman is a staff correspondent with the English daily, The New Indian Express, since 2002. He has been stationed at various editions of the daily – Kochi, Alappuzha, and Thrissur. He has also been associated with The Khaleej Times, Dubai and Gomantak Times, Goa. Shafi was awarded the Kerala State Award for working journalists in 2002 and the Thiruvananthapuram Press Club Award for best feature story in 2004. He holds a graduate degree in English literature and History from Calicut University and a postgraduate diploma in journalism and mass communication.
Shafi had proposed to study the mineral sand mining in Alappuzha district of Kerala. He wanted to focus on the evolution of mass movement against mineral sand mining and the role played by various local organisations, the Kerala Sastra Sahithya Parishad (KSSP) and mainstream political parties. The coastal stretches of Kollam and Alappuzha enjoy one of the world’s richest deposits of heavy minerals, including ore-yielding titanium. Shafi wanted to write on the politics around the mining leases and the people’s protests against it.
How the participation of mainstream political parties changed the course of the anti-mining movement in the area? The fate of the mass movements against mining in Alappuzha as compared to that of Kollam district where political parties have completely refused to pitch in due to pressure from trade unions. The present status of state government’s mining plans for the area.
The jury on discussing Shafi’s proposal said the proposal was very detailed and the focus on the political aspect was interesting. The Jury suggested that he could perhaps extend his research and reportage to sand mining in Tamil Nadu as well.
Shafi published two stories between September 23 and November 13, 2005. Shafi later published a third story on the unregulated mining in the hills of Braj in Rajasthan.
Special Correspondent, The Hindu
Sunny Sebastian is a senior journalist based in Jaipur, Rajasthan and has been covering the state for The Hindu since 1986. Extensively travelled in all 32 districts of the state, he has reported drought, floods, the post Deorala sati period and the changeover of power between BJP and Congress. He claims fairly good knowledge of the different regions of the state – Marwar, Mewar, Hadauti, Shekhawati, and Braj. His areas of interest include environment, health, education, agriculture, panchayati raj system and women’s issues among others.
He has been associated with Caravan and Women’s Era in Delhi, Free Press Journal of Indore and English edition of Rajasthan Patrika, previously. Sunny has received the first Pandit Jhabarmal Sharma Award for journalism in 1999 and is one of the directors of Kumarappa Institute of Gram Swaraj at Jaipur.
Sunny proposed to study mining in Rajnagar belt in Rajsamand, Kesariyaji mines and other areas near Udaipur. He wanted to focus on the impact of mining on the ground water level in Rajnagar belt; the impact of mining on the agricultural activities and land use and degradation of the soil; disposal or non disposal of waste and slurry; the possible decline or improvement in the living standards of the people in the area; the extent to which farmers had been rendered landless; displacement of the local people. Besides that he also wanted to look at the people who had benefited from mining. Other issues he was interested in were the crisis in Kesariyaji mines with the tribals opposing the induction of outside labour; and the status of the lakes in Udaipur.
The jury felt that Sunny being a senior and experienced journalist should be given the fellowship. But they also felt that he needed to rework his proposal. Sunny submitted a renewed proposal to study the pros and cons of marble mining in and around Rajnagar. What has it given to people vis-à-vis what it has taken away from them. In detail he proposed to write about the economic feasibility of mining for the Rajasthan government; the prevalent manual method of mining despite its impact on agriculture and low returns; the lack of slurry and waste management; and the impact of mining on the watershed area of Rajsamand lake.
Sunny’s proposal was approved. He did five stories in a series called Whiterock, but The Hindu published only two of his stories in the November 5, 2005 and November 7, 2005 editions. The rest if the stories and information was however used in Hindu’s Survey of Environment, 2006.
These stories published on the Op-Ed page of The Hindu generated considerable response, with researchers and academicians wanting the output material.
City Correspondent, Dainik Bhaskar
Indore, Madhya Pradesh
Rumni Ghosh is a correspondent with Dainik Bhaskar, Indore. During her eights years in journalism she has written on political investigations, crime, social issues, war and natural calamity and other humanitarian stories, with Tsunami, Bhuj earthquake and Godhra incident being some important events. She has been awarded the state level Gopi Krishna Gupta Award for reporting on the widespread affect of caterpillars on crops in the Malwa region. She has also received the state level Vikas Samvad fellowship for research on food security and poverty in Madhya Pradesh. Rumni is a graduate in science and a holds a post graduate diploma in journalism.
Rumni had proposed to study coal mining in Shahdol district of Madhya Pradesh. She wanted to write on mine safety, displacement and rehabilitation, health impacts and environmental pollution. She wrote in her proposal that the methods of coal mining in the region were causing pollution. She also wanted to highlight that tribal land has been taken away for mining and the displaced had received no benefits of the relocation policy. This had led to conflict between the company and the tribals. In her proposal she pointed out that the water released from the mines was being filtered and provided as drinking water. But the residents complained of irregular and polluted supplies. Overburden from the mines was not being removed. Plantation was not adequate. The region had a high crime rate and illegal mining was rampant. The jury felt that the proposal needed to be reworked and suggested her to examine the issues of mining in Panna and its neighbouring areas.
Rumni was unable to complete her fellowship and published just one story in Dainik Bhaskar dated November 1, 2005.
What is ‘good food’? Food that is free of contamination and adulteration, that is prepared in a way which does not harm the environment. Food that is wholesome, that does not compromise our health. The definition and understanding seems simple enough, but the issue is far more complex.