Rajasthan’s orans and bustards under threat from green energy infrastructure
Organisation: Mongabay India ( https://india.mongabay.com/ )
Organisation size: Small
Publication date: 12/08/2021
Credit: Madhav Sharma
I am an India based independent journalist active since 2013. I writes on Environment, health, gender, and agriculture, political and social issues. In my 8 years of career in print and digital media, I got five national level media fellowships and three awards for my reports. Many were very impactful.
I started my career from one of the largest newspaper of India called RAJASTHAN PATRIKA and then I worked for DAINIK BHASKAR, world’s 2nd largest circulated newspaper. I studied Journalism from India’s top journalism institute named INDIAN INSTITUTE OF MASS COMMUNICATION.
In addition, a unique think about me is that I am the first journalist from my village. My mantra of life is, “Do, what you always wanted to do with honesty.”
This story is about the struggle between the villagers and corporate companies in Rajasthan, the western part of India. Villagers are struggling to save their pasturelands and the state bird, the great Indian bustard but the state and central govt allotting this land to private companies to develop solar parks and green energy. According to the villagers and experts, these solar parks are danger to desert’s ecology. Companies replied to the court that villagers are against the development. Papers shows that these companies violating the court’s orders and devastating the pasturelands. These pasturelands are the lifeline of the Thar actually.
After the publication of this report, the local villagers increased their protest. They got the confidence that someone is hearing the voice of them too. The Supreme Court also sought a compliance report on its orders in its next hearing. After the news was published, the accountability of the companies increased and they started talking to the local villagers. Other victims have also made their application in the court. This has increased the pressure on private solar companies to underground electric wires.
I tried to bring out the reality through ground report. For this, through the Internet, its various aspects were understood. Go straight in the ground and talk to people. Read the orders of the Supreme Court. Tried to connect to solar companies for official versions. Make videos from mobile phone and then also made a video story.
What was the hardest part of this project?
Because in journalism, it is very important to take part all the parties in writing any report. I did the same practice for this report as well. But the representatives of solar companies did not want to tell anything in this matter. Still I tried and was able to talk to a local representative of a private company operating in this area.
What can others learn from this project?
After the news was published, I got calls from many local journalists of Jaisalmer district. They told me that they thought that news was very routine and simple, but by publishing it with so much detailed information, they understood the depth and seriousness of that issue. And And also how a report should be written without taking any side with all the evidence.