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|
Afaque Asad Azad
Amit Kumar Singh
D Shyam Kumar
Manish Kumar Soni
Pradip Kumar Srivastav
Prakash Chandra Bebarta
Suresh Kumar Dwivedi
Sushil Kumar Boxula
Vijay Singh Thakur
|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|
|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