CSE's Nineth Media Fellowship on The Coastal Concerns of India

This fellowship was supported by Jamshedji Tata Trust

9th CSE Media Fellowship on The Coastal Concerns of India November 2009-January 2010.

A jury comprising of senior journalists and issue experts selected 12 journalists to do stories under the Ninth CSE Media Fellowship on the Coastal Concerns of India. The meeting was held on December 30, 2009.


G Pattabi Raman
Photojournalist, New Indian Express

Approved Proposal: The impact of sea erosion on the South-east coast and portrayal of human life. Pattabi proposed to study the impact of Sea erosion on South East coast and the Portrayal of Human condition. He proposed to cover a 200 kms stretch from North Chennai  to South Pondicherry and portray the results in the form of a Journalistic Photoessay. He wanted to concentrate on groyne; a rigid hydraulic structure built out from the shore which interrupts the flow of water and sediment,  and if it is benefiting or defying its purpose for the coastal villages between the mentioned stretch.

Fellowship output : Through a picture collage, Pattabi was able to convey a message of the existing  stand of the widespread erosion along the Chennai coast. His interviews with the locals proclaim the extent of encroachment of the sea on the land. His pictures narrate the story of the villagers who have suffered the loss of land due to the sea erosion. His picture story “Chennai's broken Shoreline” was published in The New Indian Express on Saturday, May 1st, 2010.

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pattabi-sea erosion.pdf



Features Editor, Outlook Saptahik
New Delhi

Approved Proposal: Coastal deforestation – the Sunderbans
Geetashree’s study proposal had focused on the issue of deforestation in the Sunderbans, its causes and factors, and its impacts on biodiversity, climate and people’s lifestyles and livelihoods, besides providing an insight into the role of mangroves in safeguarding the coastlines.

Fellowship output :Between February and March 2010, Geetashree published a series of Hindi articles on her subject of study in publications such as Outlook Saptahik, Daily Chhattisgarh and Rashtriya Sahara. Her stories bring to life a variety of issues and concerns related to the Sunderbans and the coasts around it. Unchecked destruction of forests and habitats, increasing population pressures, and a general lack of vision in official policy-making are slowly depriving the area of the safety jacket proffered by the mangroves – leaving the coasts and their peoples vulnerable to the devastating effects of cyclones and rising sea levels. One of Geetashree’s stories examines the fallouts of the cyclone Aila on the region – lands have disappeared or have been turned barren due to erosion and sea-water ingress, rivers have turned saline, and livelihoods have been completely destroyed.

Sea erosion, in fact, has become one of the biggest concerns in the region. Deforestation has also resulted in an increase in cases of tiger attacks on humans. In one of her features, Geetashree points out if the Sunderbans falls, the city of Kolkata is bound to be seriously threatened.

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Hema Rawat
Senior Reporter, The Statesman
New Delhi

Approved proposal: Impact of climate change and human activities on corals. Hema proposed to sudy the threat to coral reefs along the Indian coasts, imposed by the natural and artificial ways, and to what extent is the damage after the el niño effect in 1998.

Fellowship output : Hema inspected the Gulf of Mannar, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and Lakshwadeep Islands to check for the after effects of the el niño along with other factors harming the coral population for her reportage published in The Statesman.The cover story highlights the underlying reasons behind the damage of the reefs. She pin points, region wise the issues faced by the reefs, and the response of the corals subsequently.
Population pressure, irresponsible fishing, exploitation by the lime factories are some of the key factors amongst others which need to be strictly regulated to ensure the sustenance of these life forms.

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Juhi Chaudhary
Correspondent, CNN-IBN
New Delhi

Approved Proposal: Lives and Livelihoods of fishing communities in Gujarat. Juhi proposed to do a visual documentation focusing on  why the fish industry in India is on the verge of collapse.  Her proposal was focused on the coastal villages around the Mundra Port in Gujrat, to investigate their lifestyles and if there has been any change due to climate change and the steady increase in industrialization.

Fellowship output : Juhi did two broadcasts for her channel CNN IBN about the situation around the port. Mangroves have been killed and grazed, and the area covered with sand for  the ports, effecting the fish population in turn causing distress for the fisher folks. Her second story made a clear statement how climate change and sea level rise directly threaten the poor people living along the coasts, causing wide spread loss of life and land, while the world is just beginning to accept climate change.

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Nirmala G
Special Correspondent, Malayalam Vaarika
Palakkad, Kerala

Approved Proposal: Lives and livelihoods of fishworkers and impact of government policies. Nirmala wanted to take a closer look at the problems besieging the fisherfolks along Kerala's coast and report on the actions undertaken by the government and various fishery board for the welfare of this marginalized community in an egalitarian Keralite society. She wanted to report on the accountability of the funds allocated by the government for the upliftment of this society.

Fellowship Output: Nirmala published two features in Malayalam Vaarika, voicing the problems of the fisherwomen in the southern Kerala. She reported on the various existant political games manipulating the livelihood of the fisherfolk. The inconsiderate government policies, politicised fisher boards, encroachment of the sea and coasts by the capitalists are only a handful of issues faced by this vulnerable community.

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Rajanish Joshi
Sub Editor, Sakaal
Solapur, Maharashtra

Approved Proposal: Industrial pollution, development vis-à-vis wildlife and livelihood of fisherfolk in Konkan. Rajanish Joshi proposed to report on the coastal areas of Raigad, Ratnagiri and Sindhudurg. These areas are home to 350 villages and various development projects, thermal power plants, amusement parks etc. Rajanish wanted to report on the environmental impacts on these areas due to industrial pollution, tourism, construction projects, climate change and the communities along with their livelihood practises, marine diversity, and mangroves.

Fellowship Output : Rajanish reported extensively on the issues facing the Konkan coast. He published 20 reports from 13th February to 26th March in Sakal. He highlighted the gravity of the destruction taking place on the Konkan coasts, leaving the fisherfolks and other communities strugling to earn their daily bread.

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Reema Narendran
Senior Reporter, New Indian Express
Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

Approved Proposal: Development pressure on the coastal wetlands of Vembanad.  Reema proposed to write on the rising number of developmental projects in and around the Vembanad wetlands displacing the traditional community accustomed to the coastal lifestyle. She also wanted to write on the deteriorating state of fragile ecosystem, wide scale pollution of the water, health hazards coupled with the carefree attitudes of the government officials and lack of action to save the wetland.  

Fellowship Output : Reema published 5 articles in The New Indian Express from March 15 to March 25 covering these issues. She reports on the degrading quality of water resulting in growing health issues, destruction of mangroves along with subsequent damage to the dependent fauna for development projects,  and the mounting pressure from tourism.

Personal Experience : Reema found this opportunity to enrich her knowledge and awareness about the issues surrounding the Vembanad wetland and the population, without not feeling sad at the encroachment of the developmental projects on the livelihoods of the fisherpopulation. As her stories were well researched and identified a niche, she was contacted byThe Malayalam Varikha who carried out her stories in Malayalam. A team under B.S.Corrie, Chief Conservator of Forests followed suit by investigating the matter after reading her articles. The dredger near Perumbalam Island in the Vembanad Lake for mining fossilised clam by the public sector companies (see March 18, 2010) has been removed from the area following her reports.

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Shailesh Malode
Programme Executive and Head
All India Radio
Satara, Maharashtra

Approved Proposal: Pollution and urbanization in Mumbai, agriculture in Konkan region, effect of tourism on Konkan region, climate change, people’s protest. Shailesh proposed to report on the issues faced by Mumbai in terms of sewage disposal, population pressure, CRZ violations harming ecological sensitive zones. He also wanted to report on the impact of six big power plans on the mango orchards in the Konkan belt along with the problems faced by the villagers.

Fellowship Output : Shailesh aired a radio doccumentary of six episodes in Marathi, spanning 13 minutes each on All India Radio, narrating the stories of destruction, challenges, effort, success and sustainability.



Shalini Singh
Senior Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi

Approved Proposal: Market driven pressures in Goa, coastal management and regulation and sustainable tourism Shalini wanted to write about the overwhelming social impacts under the disguise of development and the subsequent environmental damage. She wanted to do a follow up on the contentious debate on the mining activities in Goa and report on the underlying problems in the State.

Fellowship Output: Shalini published three articles in The Hindustan Times spanning from February through March. Her articles revealed the various social issues faced by the coastal communities in Goa. The ongoing clash between the society, fisher community and activist versus the state, capitalists and politicians seems to be heading no where with the villagers and fisher folks suffering the most. Shalini also reported on the little known Tiger population in the state and questions the image of Goa as a tourist state in an interview with Goa's chief minister Digambar Kamat.

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Viju V V
Sub Editor, Mathrubhumi
Kannur, Kerala

Approved Proposal: Conflicts between tourism and fishworkers community in Kerala. Viju  proposed to report on various issues brought about by increasing tourism activities in Kerela. Fishermen communities are hugely affected by the growing influx of tourism. Kerala is known for its flowing backwaters and great beaches, which invites hordes of tourists during September to March. Land acquisition, crz violations and sprouting of tourist resorts are some of the thriving issues in the name of catering to tourists. The adverse results are forced on the fisherfolks.

Fellowship Output : Viju has written a series of reports in Mathrubhumi, Kerala, dated 29.04.10 through 04.05.10, about the problems faced by the fisher communities due to rising tourism. He has covered a few of the main problems which can be regulated by the government, however nothing much is being done to correct the violations and prosecute the offenders. Problems ranging from polluting houseboats, leaching pesticides from nearby agricultural fields, land acquisition near the beach for tourist resorts, are engulfing the marginalized fisherfolks.

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Vivek Kumar Tiwari
Staff Reporter, Amar Ujala
Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh

Approved Proposal:  Pollution caused by Pipavav port in Gujarat and its impact in local population. Vivek wanted to report on the the environmental degradation caused by industrail development. He wanted to work on various issues surrounding the inhabitants around the port such as sea water intrusion in Datarwadi river, sea erosion, destruction of mangroves, land reclamation for the port, construction projects due to the port.

Fellowship Output : Vivek published two stories in Amar Ujala and six stories in various Hindi dailies between 16th March to 7th May. His stories covered the violations carried out by the port authorities insensitive to the neighbouring villages, increasing water salinity in the Datarwadi River, and various impacts due to upcoming development projects in the surrounding areas. 

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