With a population of more than 1.3bn, India’s energy needs are set to rise more than any other nation in the next twenty years, according to the International Energy Agency. But communities like the one in Odisha remind us of the challenges in reducing the dependence on coal for meeting these requirements.
Jamuna Munda is squatting by a smoky outdoor stove in a makeshift slum on the edge of a colliery. A labourer who survives on odd jobs, she is one of tens of millions of Indians who still do not have access to electricity. She is using coal she has taken from the mine to heat up her chicken broth. If we do not have coal, we can’t cook. At night, we burn it and keep it in the house so we also have some light, she said as she stirs the soup vigorously. If it’s harmful, what we can do about it? We have no other option but to use coal. >>>