Community Correspondents

Mamta Patra

Mamta Patra

State: ODISHA

Mamta Patra is an NGO founder and a Community Correspondent.

As a child, Mamta saw her father arrested by police on a fake case. This early experience set the direction for her life, which she has since dedicated to fighting inequality and corruption. Due to the injustice to her family, Mamta has familiarised herself with the laws which are meant to afford the people of her community their rights and privileges. She uses this knowledge in her videos as a means to expose injustice and create change.

Hailing from a farming community in Sambalpur district in Odisha, Mamta has an innate understanding of the implications of issues farmers are facing today. In one of her videos she reveals that despite the allocation of 8 lakh rupees to the West Odisha Development Council (WODC) for the purposes of building an irrigation system, this money was never spent. The result was three years drought:

“I depend on agriculture. It is my only livelihood. Its failure ruins us,” says one of her interviewees.

This commitment to the integrity of small income earners and producers is revealed in a range of Mamta’s videos, including those on farmer suicide, withholding of labourers wages under the MNREGA Employment Act, and the threat of development to agrarian livelihoods. Mamta also takes on caste and gender issues in her videos, which she argues are human rights issues. These include the brutalization and displacement of a Dalit family,“It is a fundamental right guaranteed by our constitution to every citizen to reside in any part of the country and to practice any profession. But this has been violated,” states Mamta.

Her commitment to human rights is furthermore revealed in her video on a woman whose First Information Report (FIR) is refused by police after she is brutally beaten by her in-laws. “If they come to take my son, I will never give him,” says the woman who has been assaulted. In this video, as in others, Mamta succeeds not only in exposing the injustice of this woman’s situation, but she also manages what so many documentarians work hard to achieve – an immediate connection between the subject and the viewer.

Among the other lived realities which Mamta urges the public to demand justice, are those of a small town in Kudi District, Odisha, where 20 percent of the town's population has died of kidney disease. Mamta takes us on a journey where we meet town members afflicted with the disease, as well as the visiting doctor. “Earlier soil and water test has happened but the report was negative. We doubt its result," she says.

While the mainstream media is just watching and does not, or will not, report on the lives of India’s most disadvantaged, Mamta and her grassroots counterparts turn on their cameras and demand that we pay attention. It is with this intention that she founded the NGO Kosjit Vikas Sangathan, and that she continues her work as a Community Correspondent of Video Volunteers.

Videos from Mamta

IU Impact: Correspondent claims Community’s right to water.

 
/ March 19, 2015

19th March | Bhalukhol village, Sambalpur district, Odisha | Mamata Patra Bhalukhol is a modest little Munda village of roughly 30 families. In this interview, Mamata Patra describes the daunting distances she traveled & diffident women she encountered as she claimed a community’s right to have easy access to potable...

Impact

Bada Hindol district in Odisha gets ANM

 
/ February 10, 2017

Auxiliary nurse midwife (ANM), is the first person of contact for any health services in most of the rural areas. But in Badahindol village of Odisha, where only one health sub-center is accessible to 5 villages, the residents have been deprived of health facilities for the last 10 years. The...

Odisha reveals how Mahua flowers and seeds are a Wonder Oil

 
/ November 1, 2016

25 Adivasi (tribal) families live in a hamlet called Bhalukhola village, in the Sambalpur district of Odisha. It is surrounded by hills and trees in abundance. The natural resources are plentiful. Our community correspondent, Mamta, reports for Indiaunheard. The women of this village have mastered an age-old art of taking...

Cooperative society in Odisha fudges loan amounts of over 200 farmers

 
/ April 20, 2016

Bholenath Pradhan committed suicide in broad daylight outside his house by consuming pesticides as his family and neighbours looked on helplessly. Pradhan was only indebted with loans worth at least Rs. 15,000 but fudging of documents of Odisha based Bansajal Cooperative Society showed loans worth Rs. 61,000 against his name....

Farmer commits suicide for Rs 5000 in Odisha

 
/ February 23, 2016

Another debt-ridden farmer commits suicide by eating poison. Bholanath Pradhan had taken a loan amount of Rs 5000 and 10 bags of fertilizer for his 3-acre land. The loan amount on paper was put down by the loan officer as Rs 51000 and 10 bags of fertilizer instead, which Bholanath...

Vishakha Power Plant Will Destroy our Livelihoods

 
/ August 27, 2015

Dimirimunda village, Redakhol block, Sambalpur District, Odisha | Mamata Patra reports for IndiaUnheard 70 families fear losing their land to a thermal power plant project proposed by Vishakha Power Ltd.The 1320 MW power plant will be set up across 1200 acres. Residents of the village, most of whom are cultivators,...