Knowledge Resource

Black paddy, black lungs: How coal mining has wrought havoc in Odisha’s Sundergarh

Charudutta Panigrahi
Odisha's Sundergarh is known as a "dark land." No, the earth is not black. The region is a coal mining area, and the activity has severely harmed the health and way of life of the locals, primarily indigenous groups like the Hill Khadia, Bhuyan, and Gonds. The Sundergarh district's Hemagir block is engulfed in poisonous black coal dust. This is due to the 3,500 trucks that transport coal from surrounding open cast mines everyday via 45 villages. Coal mining has negative health effects that are severe. It causes a number of lung illnesses, including as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and coal workers' pneumoconosis (COPD). Over the past ten years, COPD cases have increased by roughly 45% in Sundergarh.