If you have a roof over your head, some money in your wallet, and a body that functions well on most days, you're the luckiest person alive, because the story that I am telling you today is not only going to make your heart sink but also, make you more grateful.
Jadugoda, a town of 19,500 people about 1,370km from New Delhi, is a four-hour drive from Ranchi, Jharkhand. In 1967, this tribal town became the site for India's first nuclear mine. It is often called India's best kept secret. The government-owned Uranium Corporation of India (UCIL) mines for uranium in the region. The small township is home to the world's finest uranium ore, magnesium diuranate,
Locals were initially ecstatic because this would increase employment opportunities. Over the past 40 years, the UCIL has conducted indiscriminate and unchecked uranium mining. This has destroyed local environment and the health of the tribal population. The toxic emission has caused facial tumours, mascular dystrophy, deformed skeletons, lung cancer and curved spines, to name a few.
The crimes of the UCIL have been under-reported in the media. There are articles and documentaries portraying the state of the town and the areas nearby but not much has been done as a follow up while people of Jadugoda continue to suffer for 50 years now. India's nuclear dream has costed the well-being of Jharkhand's tribals and made them suffer in silence.
This is the tale of a mother from Jadugoda. Read it with empathy in your heart.