Understanding environmental issues for better reportage: A media briefing for journalists

Bilaspur (Chhattisgarh), April 9-10, 2015

Mediapersons from seven states trained on reporting on local and global environmental issues

Over 30 mediapersons gathered in Bilaspur district of Chhattisgarh at a workshop organised by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) for augmenting their capacity to report on environment.

Following the release of CSE’s Green Rating Project (GRP) report on the thermal power sector in India, Korba in Chhattisgarh was identified as a major centre for power generation through coal. The Media Resource Centre (MRC) at CSE chose Bilaspur as the venue due to its relatively good connectivity with several states such as Bihar, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, West Bengal, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh. Journalists from these states in addition to ones from the districts of Chhattisgarh were the participants in the workshop.

The external resource persons included lawyer and activist Sudha Bharadwaj, activist Lakshmi Prasad Chauhan and Editor of Daily Chhatisgarh Sunil Kumar. Down to Earth Managing Editor Richard Mahapatra and GRP unit’s Sanjeev K. Kanchan were the discussants and presenters from CSE.

Sudha Bharadwaj gave an account of several cases which she had taken up. “The government used its abundant authority to stymie protest. When the government sought to acquire land for the power plant, the village community resisted. However, using rules to bypass the community, the village was turned into a ‘town’ overnight through an order which no longer made it necessary for the government to seek the community’s willingness to give up their land.”


On the final day of the workshop, a visit to Korba was made.

Korba is home to more than 10 thermal power plants with 6,000 megawatts capacity. Some of these are operating without the requisite ‘consent to operate’ while none is fully compliant with the norms which are quite forgiving in the first place. The impact is visible and, well, devastating. Respiratory disorders are reported by residents in large numbers due to the fly ash that even covers trees on a windless day. Korba has not figured so far in the list of cities whose air quality index will be monitored under the new initiative of the Government of India. The skyline of Korba is dotted with chimneys spewing visible and dense smoke.

The trip included a visit to the polluted streams visibly carrying fly ash. A discussion with Korba’s journalists at the Press Club indicated a frustration at very little changing in spite of their repeated attempts. “We have been writing and reporting for such a long time but there is little action. Had it not been for the recent rain, you would have seen the leaves of this tree covered with white ash,” said the president of the Korba Press Club Naushad Khan.

At the conclusion of the visit, journalists went back with many new ideas on how to report on environment. CSE plans to amplify voices from the field so that the possibility of making an impact is greater. 


Participants at CSE media briefing on Understanding environmental issues for better reportage at Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh on April 9-10, 2015

Aamna  Khatoon              
Vrinda Media Publication (Khabar Mantra Press)            
Ranchi, Jharkhand          

Afaque Asad Azad          
Senior Reporter, Rashtriya Sahara           
Bhagalpur, Bihar

Freelancer/ citizen journalist
Bhubaneswar, Odisha   

Amit Kumar Singh
SMBG News                      
Ambikapur, Chhattisgarh

Amjad Badshah               
Executive Editor, The Sociocrat
Jharsuguda, Odisha

Amresh Dwivedi              
Junior Sub Editor, Dainik Jagran
Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh

Baba Mayaram 
Veteran Journalist                          
Hoshangabad, Madhya Pradesh

Bijay Mishra      
Correspondent,  The Pioneer, DD and AIR            
Angul, Odisha

Bikash Sharma  
Sub-Editor cum Reporter, The Hitavada                
Raipur, Chhattisgarh

Chandrakant  Pargir       
District Correspondent, Daily Chhattisgarh
Korea district, Chhattisgarh

Chinmaya Dehury           
Correspondent, IANS                    
Bhubaneshwar, Odisha

D Shyam Kumar               
Special Correspondent, Central Chronicle                            
Raipur   Chhattisgarh

Jhilam Karanjai 
Senior Correspondent, Ei Samay
Kolkata, West Bengal

Lalit Sharma       
Chief Editor, NewsExpres.com  
Raipur, Chhattisgarh

Manish Kumar Soni                        
Zee Media                         
Ambikapur, Chhattisgarh

Pradip Kumar Srivastav 
Senior sub-editor, Amar Ujala   
Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh

Prakash Chandra Bebarta                                            
Subarnapur, Odisha

Raghuvir  Pradhan          
District Reporter/ District co-ordinator, 
Hindusthan Samachar
District Raigarh, Chhattisgarh

Rashmi   Drolia   
Senior Copy Editor, The Times Of India  
Raipur, Chhattisgarh

Ruby  Sarkar      
Special Correspondent,
Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh

Sandeep  Pradhan          
Reporter, Metro India  
Raipur, Chhattisgarh

Santosh Sarang
Chief Sub Editor,
Prabhat Khabar             
Muzaffarpur, Bihar

Suresh Kumar Dwivedi 
Correspondent, Kaimoor Times
Sonbhadra, Uttar Pradesh

Sushil Kumar Boxula                                      
Ambikapur, Chhattisgarh

Tara Chettur-Menon     
Sub-Editor cum Reporter,
The Hitavada 526
Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh

Tikeshwar  Patel              
Press Trust of India       
Raipur, Chhattisgarh

Vijay Singh Thakur                          
Central Chronicle                            
Raipur, Chhattisgarh

Programme Schedule
Green Rating Project What, why, How?

By: Sanjeev K Kanchan

Environmental issues in Chhattisgarh

By: Sudha Bharadwaj

Global is local is global

By: Richard Mahapatra

Understanding Environmental Issues for Better Reportage

by Anupam Srivastava

The State of our Power Plants
Media Clippings
CSPGCL-Hasdeo power plant operating without consent

Central Chronicle, April 15, 2015

Korba: Power capital or pollution hub of Chhattisgarh?

Akhand, Merinews, April 25, 2015

MoEF guidelines for fly ash bricks not being followed by contractors

The Hitavada, April 17, 2015

Heat on Power Suresh Dwivedi,

Kaimoor Times, May 4, 2015

Fly ash underutilised in region

Tara Chettur. The Hitavada, April 19, 2015