Damodar Consortium

DAMODAR CONSORTIUM

Damodar is one of the major rivers in the State of Jharkhand. The Damodar Valley Corporation is one of the largest and oldest thermal power stations in the country had lead to large-scale displacement of the local population affecting their livelihoods. A number of coal mining units, thermal power plants, cement and tin factories located on the riverside release the effluents into the river thereby causing massive pollution and contaminating the water bodies. This has had an adverse effect on the drinking water sources and the health of the communities living in the vicinity of the river basin.

The problems faced by the local communities of the Damodar river basin were undertaken as part of the PSP process of Swaraj. After due analysis of the problems, certain core issues were identified and accordingly activities were framed. Damodar Bachao Abhiyan (Save Damodar Campaign) was launched to create awareness and plan interventions. The objective of the programme is to save Damodar river from industrial pollution and to prevent destitution of local people owing to deforestation, mining and industrial expansion and displacement caused by dam.

The operational area of the consortium covers 15 villages in the districts of Bokaro and Kodarma. Three fellows are associated with the consortium (2 working on Damodar and 1 as part of IRN- Jharkhand). The core issues identified are

SJ-Jharkhand activists and local people taking an oath to save the Damodar River from pollution during Damodar Mela held in Jharkhand. 

Ø      Displacement

Ø      Pollution

Ø      Non availability of safe drinking water

Ø      Deforestation

Ø      Health issues

Ø      Alcoholism

Ø      Migration

Ø      Illiteracy and child labour

Ø      Women’s issues

STRATEGIC THRUST

1.       Establishment of Self-Rule for control over natural resources like Jal, Jungle, Jamin for sustainable development;

2.       Campaign for economic literacy and alternative education model;

3.       Understanding Human Rights;

4.       Encourage Gender Equality;

5.       Campaign against Addiction;

6.       Struggle against communalism and

7.       Struggle against Casteism.

AREA OF OPERATION

DISTRICTS

FELLOWS

GRAM PANCHAYAT

VILLAGES UNDER FIVE-VILLAGE CONCEPT

CONTACT VILLAGE

TOTAL

VILLAGES

2

2

7

10

15

25

 

INTERVENTIONS IMPACT AND ISSUES

–        Increased awareness and interest among the local community with regard to Save Damodar campaign.

–        Mounting pressure on the state government to address the issue of pollution affecting the area.

–        The first thermal power unit of Damodar valley corporation forced to shut down due to alarming increase in pollution levels.

–        Increased awareness among the community about government programmes/ schemes and taking initiatives to visit block and district offices to seek information.

–        Increase in women’s participation; initiatives to acquire leadership qualities.

–        8 women SHGs and 2 men SHGs are formed.

–        Forest protection committees constituted in 6 villages.

–        People more conscious of protecting trees and forests; decrease in felling of trees.

–        Community based education committees in 5 villages.

–        Village committees formed in 8 villages; equal participation of women and men in the committees.

–        There is a gradual increase in the enrolment and attendance of children in schools; teachers attending schools more regularly.

–        Construction of a high school in Bagda village.

–        Renovation of a middle school premises with community support.

–        Increased awareness and participation of women, dalits and other backward communities in the panchayat elections.

–        Increased opportunities for like-minded organisations to come together on a common platform and address issues.

–        Alcoholism is a growing concern in the region.

–        Influence of local party politics disrupts the process.

–        Caste and ethnic conflicts on the rise.