धान से राख तक
Director: Sunil Kumar; Cinematographer: Sunil Kumar
Duration: 01:00:22; Aspect Ratio: 1.778:1; Hue: 53.020; Saturation: 0.079; Lightness: 0.398; Volume: 0.138; Cuts per Minute: 4.256; Words per Minute: 73.913
Rice Bowl to Ashtray
How wide is this land on which we are walking? About?
About... Keep walking, let me tell you ahead
From here it must be about 1 kilometer wide
Width? Yes, width
And over there it must be 1.5 kilometers wide
Its wider there because the river flows on this side, it gets wider there
People living on the bank of a river have a very close relationship with it
A relationship which often does not have a name
A relationship that is made of a few scenes in our eyes
But now among these scenes is a new picture
And that is: barrage!
We told the Chief minister, we requested him. Nothing was acknowledged
When we asked them about compensation, they kept us in the dark by saying
That in the barrage being constructed, nobody's legal property would be submerged
This is Saradih barrage and this is Mirauni barrage
The village is on this side of the river?
Yes, village is here
The farmlands are in the middle
The land near this bank of the Mahanadi are also effected
This stream is about 1 kilometer wide
This is also 1 kilometer wide
This part in between is 1.5, 2, 3 kilometers wide
When there is excess water in river this gets submerged
If there is a flood, this is completely submerged
So if there is a dam, it will always be submerged
Depending on the water level we cultivate the crops
Like here you can see potato crop. This belongs to all the villagers, even I have some
This has peas also
And there are some more potatoes
Like this all of us farmers have cultivated crops
We did not have to go out of here
But given our situation now, we will have to even leave the village
I have land, so it is alright
If some poor farmer does not have land, what will they do?
They will have to go out of the village in search of livelihood
Approximately, 900 to 1000 acres of land in Sakrali is affected
Out of which about 100 to 150 acres is towards the village
The rest of it lies between the Mahanadi and Borai rivers
Which means, about 8 to 9 kilometers long and
about 1 to 1.5 kilometers wide land
is completely affected. It yields three harvests for all of us
It starts from Sakrali
and there is Upni, Manjarkud, Siriyagarh
Nawapara and Basantpur
All of them are between the rivers
And when water will fill up here at the dam
We cannot go across the river
We work through the summers
In rainy season we do weeding only, so we cross in boats
If both the sides are filled how will we cross 1 kilometer?
If it is always filled
We cannot take the plough and vehicles
And even if the land survives
In my opinion we cannot cultivate it anyway
The guard at the Mirauni barrage did not want me clicking pictures
On this river, within about 90 kilometers five big barrages are being constructed
Shivrinarayan barrage, Basantpur barrage, Kalma barrage
Mirauni barrage and Saradih barrage
All these barrages are being constructed by private companies
Which are largely power generation companies
The water from the barrage will be given to these companies instead of supplying for cultivation
For which Chhattisgarh government has set a price of a mere Rs. 3 per 1000 liters
During my stay in Bhilai
For the same quantity of water I have spent fifty times more money
Saradih barrage will directly affect 9 villages
Which holds a population of about 12,500 villagers
If we combine the population of people affected by all five barrages, it will exceed 50,000
Where do you do your ablutions? Here itself
You did not say anything to the company?
We have told couple of times, they have done nothing
We asked them to stop it coming here or make a drain
to throw it out, but they are not listening
They are forcing it on us
They said in front of the collector that we will dig ponds for you
and give place to store fodder
No such such place, nor pond was given
In addition we had 20 acres and 19 decimel land
which was flattened. There was a pond which animal used to drink from
There are some people still there
This pond in Chhuri village
has become like a water reservoir for Vandana power plant
Based on a complaint by the villagers, the high court has banned the industrial use of the water for now
To remove excess water during monsoon a canal was built
Where today the walls and boilers of the plant has been erected
Perhaps Vandana power plant hopes that a future high court ruling will be in its favor
In my mind there is a very different image of a farmer in Janjgir-Champa
The farmers here produce the highest quantity of paddy as compared to other districts
Since 88% of the farmland is well irrigated, 1 acre yields about 1000 kilos of paddy
In the name 'Rice Bowl' given to Janjgir-Champa
The biggest contribution is of the land, water and the farmer's labour
North and south of Chhattisgarh is an area with jungles and hills
Both have mines and tribal areas
The region in the middle has plains, there is less slope, hence they grow paddy there
Chhattisgarh is a paddy bowl
Especially Janjgir district
has one of the best paddy crop
Because almost 70 - 80 % is irrigated
Because of irrigation, in many places there is double crop
A single crop is certain
There is no chance it will fail
Like in my block which is Dhabara block
In places near by like Shakti, Mankada, Jaijaipur, other blocks and tehsils, crop never fails
In Dhabara block, initially private companies bought the land
Now, in the past five years
Government is acquiring land and giving it to private companies
About 2 and a half months ago land acquisition for four companies was stopped by a high court ruling
It was cancelled
The high court stated that allocation of agricultural land to private companies
by the government in the name of public interest is not justified
How is the company acquiring land?
Company is forcing us, enforcing land acquisition
Forcing in the sense initially they were pestering people
What pestering? You can say mental pestering
where they would go to someones house constantly and ask them to sell the land
They promised good rate
Like this they would visit someone two, three, five times a day
So a person gets mentally weak on what to do
They would lie that your peers have sold the land
Or, what are you looking at the others, give the land
Later land acquisition will be applied
These kind of things were being said
If land acquisition is applied, the government will pay less than what we are paying
So they threatened directly with land acquisition and bought land
Yes, you can say so, it was a kind of threat through which they bought our land
This land acquisition act
was created by the British
It is a very old act
It was created by British rule to take away land from Indians
Our government is using the same act
At that time the British rule used it for itself, for the government
Now it is being used to give land to private firms
They used to tell people that your land will be acquired by government
You give it
But, we were only notified after section 9 was applied. We were informed that section 9 has been applied
Or section 12 has been applied
The earlier sections 4 and 6 were never informed to the farmers in advance
Why do they not get to know?
Because we don't get newspapers here
Also the company does not publish it in local newspaper
They print it in newspapers outside
Earlier you used to do farming? Yes
So... you were not aware, how did you come to know the first time?
After one, or one and a half years we understood that the company is doing it
In the earlier office the Sarpanch and the Kotwar
were the first ones to give away land
Then the rest of them started to give their lands
They must have had some weakness
Even the government land has been sold. All kotwari land has been sold
And there are many other problems
Then we protested, all women participated in it
For two months. Okay
For two months we protested
To get rid of the company
So... what happened then?
After protest they promised to fulfil all our demands
We were pleased to hear that
Later we got the same compensation of Rs. 1.5 lakhs
For a land which was going at Rs. 1 lakh 10 thousand or 1 lakh 20 thousand, they gave us 1.5 lakhs
Are you the sarpanch? Yes
They promised to give us jobs
What job? We are doing daily wage now
for Rs. 120, paid weekly
They promised us jobs with an agreement
Until the company takes over the land
you can cultivate it
This is what the company had said
Later they said
we will not give, it is the company's work there
The land belongs to the company and we will not give it to anyone
And anyone who farms, a case would be filed against them
In the nights they would send goons to attack us
Four months we were in jail
This poor fellow was caught for no reason
They have framed me under section 307
Because of the company
There was some violence in some other place
Since we were against the company they added our names in that case
For no crime, four of us were framed
Poor fellow had to be in jail for no reason
We had to spend Rs. 40 thousand for no reason
We were in Khokhra jail for four months and five days
So these were goons from company?
We were part of the protest
Most of the villagers were against the opening of the factory
Four of us were there
She had already become sarpanch, but they caught us
They thought that getting these people in jail will break the movement
Later they told us they will remove the section 307 on us, if we stop all this
'You people must do your work'
They made us work and put us in jail also
The company has given us so much sorrow
The company made false promises and enticed us
They took me to 4 to five places to show land, to Faguram Bhadri
Where there is a main road, later on Deverghata main road also they showed some land
So I told them give me any of this land
Since nothing was decided, they said they will pay Rs. 1 lakh 10 thousand or do what ever you want
I have kept the papers
I got the papers done thinking I could get an inquiry done on this
I was thinking of going to Ministry. But we are so insignificant, who will listen to us in the Ministry?
How many villages' people were affected in this way?
You can say in
Kekrabhath, Dhekrapali, Bhandapali, Uchpinda and Kanakot, Ghiwara, Dhobnipali
in these place it has happened especially
Yes, according to the records I have, government has acquired nearly 15,000 acres of land and given it
Plus they are giving the government land as well
The next hearing was after a year
Okay, what happened at the public hearing?
They promised many things
To give money, and job to every person
Even if 5 to 10 decimel goes, you will get a job
Normally there should be a meeting here before a factory comes
Did that happen?
You mean public hearing right? Yes
Public hearing took place
But, in the public hearing people opposed it completely
But, they get it passed by themselves
Usually, not just this, we have seen many other companies
Athena is there, DB power plant, we attend all public hearings
there people do protest and agitate against the factory
However the public hearing is passed and factory is established
Who was the government official present at the public hearing?
The collector was there
Often the additional collector is present at the public hearing
There will be protest, pushing, pulling, banners were torn
In the end everything gets passed
Every factory is opened
We can even make good statues with this
Did they make statues here?
Yes. Over there is a stall
of a woman...
There you should see, there are these big elephants made of stone
They are made of these very stones
Elephants and... what do you call it, Shivling
All those are made with this stone
It has broken cleanly
It can be even more precisely broken
This rock cuts as you cut it
But what do we do now, company has taken away everything
Nor do they give any work
This was our livelihood
It is all rocks over there
All this land-livelihood has been eaten up by the power plant
We used to break the rocks here and live by making grindstones
Now this has gone, where will we get the rocks from?
The little bit of land I had, they bought it for very cheap
Little money, now it is of no use
How many families were there in Uchpinda who used to break rocks?
The entire village of Uchpinda does this work
Even in Bandhapali, all of us break rocks
Both the villages live on this
where the power plant is located, by making grindstones
Now that they have made a power plant there, what will you do now?
What will we do now?
Power plant did not give any work?
They did not
They did not keep us on job also
When the factory was under construction they said they would would take out the rock and keep it aside
So that some of us could break it, they would keep it aside
But they did not, they just flattened everything
They did not give the rocks also
Now that they have enclosed everything, how can we find the rocks?
These rocks are outside so we have them
All this quarry was for breaking rocks
You have not got a job here yet?
Now we just go for attendance
How much do they pay for one attendance?
Rs. One hundred seventy five
You attend and what do you do there?
What time do they call in the morning? 8 AM
8 AM they give you attendance and let you go? Yes
Sometimes they call us in the evenings, so we go in evening
How much land do you have in all?
I had 6 acres land
Rest of it is gone
So you cultivate the rest?
Now there are 2 acres of scattered land
So the land that Athena took, is it all farmland?
Yes,farmland. All of it
The money they got for the land
farmers have spent it on vehicles and to build houses
So what will they eat in the future?
What will they eat in the future will depend on what the company does
Now it is giving Rs. 5000, they are managing with it
If this 5000 also goes way, the villagers will be forced to go away
What do you think, the company will continue to pay this 5000?
It will not
Company will pay as long as the farmers have land
Once the company owns the land
Once they acquire the land, slowly they will discontinue the 5000 also
But the company has already paid compensation and acquired the land
So, what is forcing them to give them jobs?
No, there is still some left
Still about... 100 to 150 acres of farmland is still left
After acquisition some of them have not collected their compensation
Till the 150 acres are there, they have kept us
Otherwise they have plans to get rid of all of them
Do you think that this wage payment will continue like this for long?
Why are they doing this?
All this is to see that there are no fights…
Today they asked to bring papers
and only whoever has it can come for duty
What kind of papers?
Papers for the land we sold
They told us to bring them
Those who do not have it…
they tell them to leave
So, many people do not have them ?
So... how did they give their lands without papers ?
This is all illegal business...
his land, their land…
they do not want any type of hassle
They have given the quoted compensation
It is not about money
they have paid everyone
Everyone is happy
Everything is great now, but we will know in 2-3 years
In a way, our forefathers have been surviving on this land
Yes yes, we only had this for our sustenance
What will happen now? how will it happen?
For those who have lost big parts of their land?
What will they do now?
We all have to die
How do you see an arts graduate employed in a power plant ?
Where do you see a science graduate employed in a technical wing in the power plant ?
And mechanisms today, with advanced technology in power plants
how much man power is needed?
If it is a 500 MW power plant
then do we not even need 500 people
Among the 500 people, there will be executives
technicians and labourers
And these executives
and technicians are hired from outside
Then will you keep the villagers only as drivers
And they outsource this work
how does this generate employment?
Those who were feeding off their lands for five generations
you have made them servants on their own lands
And even employment will be given only to the current generation
what about the next one?
When they had land
the next generation could work on it and earn bread
Then you have actually increased unemployment
rather than creating jobs
Earlier the whole village economy came together because of the land
you have given jobs to 50 people now
The local person will work as labourer
who will be outsourced though hiring contractors
or will work as security guards outside the plant
There is no telling when they will be fired from these jobs
The biggest examples for this are Lanco, Vandana
One day before Diwali they threw 90 people out of Vandana plant
They did not even return their stuff
Even if all the villagers go to the District collector
he does not care to respond
But if the industry makes even one phone call
the whole force will go and stand with them
It feels like the whole system and officials are all serving them
Disappointed by the employment situation
people are trying to find employment in their own ways
has been used differently by different people
Along the boundary wall of Athena
many tin shed shops have come up
Go and bring cigarette
When did you start?
You are starting now?
Okay, before this you had a shop on the other gate?
Aunty, how much land did you lose?
I do not know in decimels
But it was close to half an acre
It was here, near the temple
So what happened with the money?
I have bought 95 decimal farmland in Andi and Parsi
I have deposited Rs. 85,000 in Sai Prasad at triple interest
And... I have deposited 75,000 in Union bank
Bought a bike
Is any money left or is it all gone?
It is all gone
I have this bike
[Announcement] Everyone get ready quickly
Our MLA is arriving soon
It is time for him to come
Get ready quickly and come
Hello... Say, Bharat mata ki [Praise Mother India]
Say, Bharat mata ki
In these unfortunate circumstances
In these hard times
You all stood like a rock with our family...
For that we are thankful to all of you
All of us villagers should be prepared to face in the future
Sometimes some small problems,
Sometimes situation with jail, police
Sometimes court cases
We have to face these everyday
For such times you need
to choose a strong candidate
Who has the courage to take on this company
Choose a strong candidate of whose name
The company, are scared
Whichever politician comes here
Goes away with a bundle
What is that bundle?
Bags and bags full... and then they leave
The bags are strong and they walk away from here
If any politician comes here...
Like you have come
You should also go back with bags
Am I right?
Your servant at your door
We are coming among you
And we are telling you the accomplishments of our government
We are telling you
what our leader Dr. Raman Sing has done for you
And we request you
That you look at our work
understand our work
and compare it
Compare to which government...
Hail to Sonia Gandhi
After this the company was told to establish a committee
for CSR activity, for money to be spent
5 villages are affected
under the corporate social responsibility act
To establish water supply
Building proper concrete roads
Women's empowerment and some small scale employment
None of this was done
We made a committee but it never had a meeting
We have submitted the report to the company
Nothing has happened so far, nor is anyone asking
A tap was to be fixed here. None was ever fixed
Water does not get filled in the tank?
Water does not fill in the tank; it is always dry
Just stands here empty
He told us many things, but nothing was fulfilled
They said that they will provide drains
proper concrete roads, but nothing ever materialised
They robbed our land with these promises
Nand Kumar came here. He came and promised, but what happened of it?
They ran away with money
It is difficult to imagine a village without its dense trees
It is surprising then
that the villagers are most often accused of felling the trees
It is sad that our village used to have a lot of trees
But around 900 of them have been cut already
Towards Rampur Mohalla side
And trees on the western side the village are now being cut
Trees are being cut indiscriminately
They don't see if this is a useful tree or not
They just cut the trees and drop them to the house
They hire a tractor and drop the tree to the house
Whose house? The owner's house
They do not even ask them?
Everybody is studying so attentively
Usually girls make a lot of noise
How come you are sitting quietly?
What happened that day?
Did you know beforehand that blasting will take place here?
So what happened?
When blasting took place, the ground shook
Big rocks were blown into the sky
They fell on houses also
Some people went to stop the blasts
but nobody listened to them
One person got hurt on his head by the rock
Who got hurt?
Somebody who was working there
Was the school open at that time?
Yes, at that time we were having class
See the wall. These cracks are because of the blasts
Is that why it's cracked ?
The same thing happened to some houses nearby
So what else happened that day
what did you feel?
What else did you feel the day of the blast ? Someone speak up
The blasts had taken place many times earlier
It has happened many times before
So how many times has it happened?
Don't know the number
but it used to happen daily
6-7 times in one day
Were you present then?
That time that day?
The day of the blast
Blast happened every day and we were there
So would you like to comment
on what the children are saying
They are telling everything
Whatever they saw and heard
But you were also present here
The kids are telling you
But you were also here
During the blast
we would be in the classroom or in the office
When the blasts occurred
and if the kids were playing outside
We would tell them to go inside
Because it is possible that the stones can drop here
and hurt someone on their head
So, the kids are saying that stones were falling on the roof
No, no one till now saw the stones falling
The kids are saying that they heard them falling
Maybe they saw something
For instance, after lunch some kids climb on the roof
And there are many stones lying around on the roof
Sometimes the kids throw little stones around while playing
But no one has seen stones flying from there so far
For the construction of the water reservoir
Athena power plant conducted blasts
at a distance less than 100 mts from the school building
The chimney of DainikBhaskar power plant will be
within 500 mts of the boundary wall
of Badadara primary school
The distance between Athena's chimney
and Nimuhi school
Is only 200 mts
Only a wall separates RKM power plant
and Uchpeda primary school
They were encroaching land behind the school for their company
We went and told them that
This is our land
We own the land 50 mts beyond the school
They said, that it is 50 feet
I told them that it is 50 mts
We have a written document from the patwari
Based on that written document
we built the government school
So they stopped building the boundary wall?
No no, it is as it is
But they are still parking on our land
50 mts from here
To produce 1 MW of electricity
there is a daily need for 18-20 tonnes of coal
In Janjgir-Champa, the goal
for production of electricity
has been set at 40,000 MW
Which means that they will burn
7,60,000 tonnes of coal everyday
It was important for me to know
the effects of burning of coal in this huge quantity
on the surrounding areas
Is the chief electricity producing town
Every day it produces 6000 MW electricity
It is also among
the 5 most polluted cities in the world
The area with the grass there
It is all ash. Everything is ash
How long have you been extracting sand here?
For four years
Do you know what our problem is?
We cannot get sand directly from the river
Every year after the rains, there is a layer of sand
Then again it rains and there is another layer of sand
Then next year we get a layer of ash and then sand again
Which means we have multiple layers of sand and ash mixed with each other
So we have to work very hard to separate sand from the waste
Only then we get sand
How much ash are they dumping everyday in the river? Approximately
Approximately 10,000 tonnes
Everyday, between 8 to 9 PM
If you have to take out the sand
how many layers do you need to extract?
This river is very big
so the ash
gets accumulated near the banks of the river
They do not have any place to keep the ash anymore
If they leave it in the air, it is a problem
ash dam is full of ash, so it is a problem
So they find it convenient
to dump it into the river where it will flow away
To fulfil the environmental norms
the power sector is burning the best coal possible
The kind of coal that is available to us
we assume it has 40% ash content
So in Korba nearly 51 to 52 thousand tonnes
of ash is produced everyday
52 thousand tonnes fly ash is produced in Korba everyday
And we cannot consume even 0.1% of it
All kinds of plants here
Like drumstick trees, potato, cauliflower, in all these flowering plants
there is no crop at all
Because ash from the ash dam flies and
it sticks to the plants
You can see it yourself
There is Sitaphal
There is Ber shrubs
There are drumstick plants
There is seminar
None of them bear any fruit
Earlier without any water supply
there was a lot of crop
We could not consume all of it, we would give away some to others also
Today there is nothing
It is only a 10 year old story
Not very long ago
Now see we have a ash dam beside us
And now it is coming in front as well
The ash from here flies straight to the collectors office, Korba
But the officials are still unaware as to
where the dust comes from
Where as everyone knows about it
It is not that they don't know
they do not want to talk about it
They just add to their bundle of wealth
They are in Korba today and tomorrow they will go to Dantewada
The officials think like that
And they are right
It is after all a job
They are here for two days and at two days elsewhere
In two days how much ash will you eat
This is how it works here
So it is impossible that
by making bricks
or filling it into ditches
or mixing the ash in a cement plant
you will be able to utlise it
So you have to assume that, the ash has to be disposed only
And this is one such problem
that will never end
As long as power plants will run
ash will be produced
And to dump that ash
you will need land
This is one condition
which will lead to a very scary situation in future
For instance I told you
that 52 thousand tonnes of ash is produced daily in Korba
If we take an average of all the power plants
then after every 5-7 years
power plants will need 500-600 acres of land for ash disposal
In the next fifty years, the situation will be such that
in Korba, in all directions surrounding the city and district
just for ash disposal
they would be building ash dams
with 6-7 power plants Korba is in this condition
What will happen to those places
For example the neighbouring district Janjgir-Champa
Where, without any study
or without any planning
You have signed about 32 MOUs
What planning do you have for ash disposal?