Coal Curse

A film on the political economy of coal in India

Page - April 9, 2013
Coal Curse, film by Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, supported by Greenpeace, takes you on a journey to the land of dirty coal and the trails and tribulations of the people working in the coal mines.

The documentary film explores the political economy of coal in contemporary India with the situation in Singrauli as a case study. It highlights the scandal, popularly called Coalgate, and the consequences of coal mining in the Singrauli region in central India. It raises questions as to whether the mad rush to extract for coal is the best answer to secure India’s energy needs.

Event details:

Coal Curse, a film by Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, supported by Greenpeace.

Date: Tuesday, April 16, 2013.

Time: 4.30pm onwards

Venue: PVR Plaza, K block, Connaught Place.

The screening will be followed by a discussion on India’s energy crisis and possible solutions.

Coal Curse


COAL CURSE

Synopsis - The documentary film explores the political economy of coal in contemporary India with the situation in Singrauli as a case study. Coal is used to generate more than half the electricity used in India. The black mineral is crucial for the manufacture of steel and cement, among other products. Coal is basic to the working of the economy.

After highlighting the scandal, popularly called Coalgate, the film then moves from a macro-level to examine the micro-level consequences of coal mining in the Singrauli region in central India. The ecology of this region, described as the “electricity hub” of northern India, and the livelihoods of many, particularly those belonging to indigenous communities, have been irreparably devastated by coal mining.

The documentary film juxtaposes contrasting claims and counter-claims. It raises questions as to whether the mad-rush to extract coal is the best answer to secure India’s energy needs. Despite the best efforts of the government to step up thermal power generation, there were two electricity grid failures in the whole of northern India in July 2012.

The narrative of the documentary is laced with chosen nuggets from oral history and human experiences, old and new, that vary with experience, knowledge and degrees of suffering. Over and above the hard evidence provided, both visual and statistical, the film narrates the views of agents of change, positive as well as negative, in local government agencies, political groups, industrial organisations, civil society bodies and among activists in rural areas and urban clusters.

About Paranjoy Guha Thakurta:

Paranjoy Guha Thakurta is a renowned independent journalist with a career spanning nearly 35 years cutting across different media: print, radio, television and documentary cinema. He is a writer, speaker, anchor, interviewer, and a commentator. Some of the media organizations that he has worked with are Business India, BusinessWorld, The Telegraph, India Today, The Pioneer, and Television Eighteen. Paranjoy has closely followed the issues around coal in the past, along with various aspects of the Indian political economy. He has produced other documentaries on coal.

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