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Project February 26, 2024

Our Green Future: Stories From the Coal Fields of Jharkhand



As India commits to net-zero emissions, a computer technician, a feminist social worker and a fish farmer from India’s remote coal region are navigating rigid administrative and social systems to create alternate skill platforms for coal communities to transition to green jobs.

In a coal town where 50% of mines have closed and unemployment is high, those like Shashi Kumar have found a way to sustain themselves by breeding fish in abandoned mines. He has employed 12 families in eight years, but the government-body who owns Ramgarh’s coal fields remains unimpressed.

Almost 40% of coal workers in Jharkhand work informally, without a guaranteed minimum wage and no rights. A majority of them are women.

But one woman is determined to change the fate of all. After spending years training them in tailoring, Sushma knocks on the doors of the CSR wing of a government coal company to fund her work, but gets caught in administrative red tape.

An hour away from Sushma's village, Vinod teaches Microsoft Office to second-generation coal gatherers for free. Nindiya, a 12-year-old girl, is a student of Vinod and dislikes coal work. As Vinod finds ways to sustain the free classes through the district’s funds, conservative patriarchs in Nindiya’s village loom over her learning prospects.

Through the lives of its characters, a documentary released by the Financial Times highlights citizen-led groundwork intended to transition Jharkhand’s coal community to newer means of livelihoods.


yellow halftone illustration of two construction workers moving a wheelbarrow of dirt


Extractive Industries

Extractive Industries
teal halftone illustration of a construction worker holding a helmet under their arm


Labor Rights

Labor Rights