Broken Landscape: a film on the lives of people affected by “rat hole” coal mining, Meghalaya, India

The film Broken Landscape examines the lives of those on the front lines of water-energy-livelihoods choke point, complicated by illegal mining and  corruption


In India’s resource-rich, green, yet poor state of Meghalaya, unscientific or “rat hole”coal mining has been one of the dominant industries for the last few decades. This has transformed the environment and it became the livelihood of many people who depend on it. Coal mine owners have been prospering from booming production and have over time diverted their profit to real estate in Shillong, the capital of the state. Few laws regulated the dangerous and polluting practice.

A new government tribunal in April 2014 banned all coal mining in the region, effectively shutting down the economy. Mine owners and workers staged protests, while people living downstream are struggling to cope with dead rivers that once provided their livelihoods, food, and drinking water.

Despite the ban, illegal coal mining still thrives and the river route is used to smuggle the extracted coal in Meghalaya to Bangladesh. In the last six months, the Border Security Force of India seized about 400 tons of coal (Read more).

The movie, Broken Landscape produced in January 2015 under the Environmental Change & Security Program (ECSP) of Wilson Centre, in partnership with Circle of Blue and Think Out Loud Productions explores the impact on the lives of people affected by the ban. The movie has been shown in many international film festivals.

The film is shared here under the Creative Commons Attribution licence.

%d bloggers like this: