Bhan Sahu thought being poor meant walking a kilometer to school and then having to drop out when she was eight years old, until she started working at an NGO and realized there were others even less fortunate than herself. Her interest in education didn’t wane, however. Using video as a tool to bring people together, her Community Correspondent reports…
As Kundankulam anti-nuclear power plant stand-off among the locals and the state intensifies, it only shows to underscore the alienation the people feel from the key decision making processes that concern their lives. The state's articulation of development in terms of rapid industrialization is at odds with the aspirations of the people who have elected them into power. More and more people are feeling vulnerable against the present paradigms of development followed in the country. They are speaking out and fighting back. In today's video our correspondent Bhan Sahu visits a village in Raipur District where an industry has bypassed the opinions and views of the local and cquired land for setting up a huge industrial plant. Life as the people knew it is on the cusp of being altered forever.
The Village of Khorpa, only 10 kms away from the capital of Raipur in Chhattisgarh is home to around 30 - 40 families. Agriculture is main source of sustenance. There is a lake nearby which irrigates the land. It is a modest village in the midst of much greenery. It is no wonder that the villagers are fearing and protesting the setting up of an industrial plant in the region by the influential conglomerate Kalpataru Power Ltd.
The corruption begins at the local governance. The village head has given a 'no objection certificate' to the plant without holding a meeting in the village. "The people obviously suspect, and I feel the same, that the village head was bribed," says Bhan. "When the people took up the matter with him, the village head spoke like the government of India. That 'development' would bring more jobs. But who wants to be a slave in the factory when they can work on their own land. They have listened to and witnessed too many horror stories from the nearby towns to believe in what the government has to say."
There has been an open protest. Bhan herself co-ordinated and took part in a rally against the factory but she feels that what was done was not enough. the powers to be are too distracted to hear the voices from the ground.
The factory is currently in the last stages of completion.
In this video of UPS Manwan Awoora school, Kupwara, Kashmir, the community correspondent Pir Azhar shows us that there are nine classes for 250 students, and due to lack of space, the lower primary classes are held outside in the open. Also the school has only 7 teachers.