The fight against big coal in India has gone bicoastal.
On the heels of the clash over Tata Mundra in the west, local fishing communities on the east coast are fighting back against a proposed 4,000-megawatt “Ultra Mega” coal-burning power plant near Cheyyur.
The Cheyyur project is slated to be built in Tamil Nadu on the very spot these local fishworkers have lived and fostered their livelihoods for decades.Their struggle and the increasing resistance to the proposed project has been highlighted in a recently released documentary from u-ra-mi-li that can be seen below.
From this unique perspective, the plight of the fishworkers has been contrasted against the background of their beautiful land.
The fishing communities, located between Chennai and Pondicherry, source most of their livelihoods from a combination of fishing and agriculture. Residents here rely heavily on the varied fish species in the area to supply fish for thousands of people in the cities of Cheyyur, Maduranthankam, Chengalpet, and Panaiyur.
The natural resources in the area -- including seagrass, mangroves, sand dunes, and estuaries -- provide an idyllic location for thousands of birds and millions of fish. The combination of these resources and the skills acquired over generations for fishing and farming have allowed the local people to thrive in this area for decades.
But the Indian government is seeking to disrupt their way of life with big coal.