IU Impact: Illegal Asphalt Factories Shut Down by Videoactivist

An IndiaUnheard Video titled  'Cancerous dust smothers rural Rajasthan' was turned into a change.org petition on which over 3500 people signed in favor of shutting down 5 illegal asphalt factories that were making life a living hell for the adjoining villages. Video Volunteers contacted the Pollution Board and helped apply institutional pressure. By November 2012, the factories ceased operation and were shut. The people living in the area are now breathing cleaner air and living better lives. Agriculture in the region has picked up. It all started with a video and our Impact manager Tania Deviah writes on how she co-ordinated the whole process from issue to impact.... In April 2012, India Unheard community correspondent Sunita Kasera made a video Cancerous dust smothers rural Rajasthan. Seeing the blatant violation of licensing and pollution control norms and the fact that we had possession of an official letter from the Bharathpur Regional office of the RSPCB, stating that this particular plant along with 4 others had been functioning illegally , we knew we had a water tight case. We started the petition through Change.org  and targeted the Member Secretary of the Rajasthan State Pollution Control Board. Mr. Pandey received thousands of emails through the petition and numerous calls from Tamseel (Change.org) and myself over the course of 3 months. Sunita backed us up with follow up on the ground with officers at the Regional Offices and even the DC of Karauli and Sewai Madhopur (a little). After weeks of notices been sent out and waiting for the parties to respond, we now have confirmation from the RSPCB that all 5 factories have been shut down for non compliance with licensing norms and pollution control norms! Sunita says " Working together with the Change.org and the Video Volunteers team has meant that I was able to show the authorities we will not give up and that we have supporters from all over the country. It would not have been possible without the support of the people who signed the petition and our team." This victory is especially sweet for me because it showcases how using the law/ rules to strengthen your case will definitely lead to results. When there is merit in your claims, people will stand by you. I would also like to extend our gratitude to the Member Secretary for being gracious and proactive in our interactions with his office. This victory would not have been possible without officials such as Mr. Pandey, Member Secretary, RSPCB and Officers of the Regional Office, Bharathpur, Rajasthan.

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