Chhattisgarh: Rapid Industrialisation Threatens Tribal Livelihood

The rapid industrialisation of Chhattisgarh has disrupted the environmental balance of the region. The livelihoods of the millions of indigenous people that depended on forest resources of the region are at stake, as the forests succumb to industries and mining activities.

Rajesh Gupta, Video Volunteer community correspondent captures the loss of livelihood of almost 13 lakh tribal families in the Saraipalli and Raigarh region as a result of vanishing Tendu leaves, also known as the Green Gold of the forest. Tendu leaves are used to wrap bidi, a poor man's cigarette. The small industry employs at least 10 million people in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh and annually sell about 550 billion pieces of bidi across India.

Gathering the Tendu leaves is a labour-intensive job, and the tribals have very less to earn during the lean month of May, due to the harsh summers. "But the pollution from nearby mines cover the Tendu leaves with black soot, killing them," says Kusmatram Sahu, a tendu leaves collector from Saraipali. The increasing mining activity in the region threatens the bidi industry, which annually gives livelihood worth Rs 250 crore to the tendu leaves collectors, mostly the tribals. "What people thought will be development, has resulted in the destruction," observes Rajesh.

Small-scale industries help the marginalised communities of the country. Let us save the Green Gold of the forest and help the tribals of Saraipalli and Raigarh save their livelihood. Call the concerned Environment Officer, Shri Sharma on +91-9685095442 and demand that protective action should be taken to protect the Tendu Leaves.

Community correspondent Rajesh Gupta reports from Chhattisgarh for Video Volunteers.

This video was made by a Video Volunteers Community Correspondent. Community Correspondents come from marginalised communities in India and produce videos on unreported stories. These stories are ’news by those who live it.’ they give the hyperlocal context to global human rights and development challenges. See more such videos at www.videovolunteers.org. Take action for a more just global media by sharing their videos and joining in their call for change. we could hyperlink to some VV pages, like our take action page.

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