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SUPRATIM BHATTACHARJEE, INDIA

INDIA: THE CURSE OF THE COAL

The Jharia coal fields in the Indian state of Jharkhand are among the largest in Asia. Coal is extracted here in open-cast mining over an area of ​​280 square kilometers. It is the land of black faces. Poisonous land, because for over 100 years toxic gases have been rising from countless underground fires: sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide. The air and drinking water are polluted, asthma, tuberculosis and skin diseases are rampant.

Nevertheless, people endure it here, even moving here in search of work. And children also work in the open mines, hauling stones.

© Supratim Bhattacharjee, India

© Supratim Bhattacharjee, India

© Supratim Bhattacharjee, India

© Supratim Bhattacharjee, India

© Supratim Bhattacharjee, India

© Supratim Bhattacharjee, India

© Supratim Bhattacharjee, India

© Supratim Bhattacharjee, India

© Supratim Bhattacharjee, India

© Supratim Bhattacharjee, India

© Supratim Bhattacharjee, India

© Supratim Bhattacharjee, India

© Supratim Bhattacharjee, India

The Indian photographer Supratim Bhattacharjee has captured all their misery in the faces of these children, horror, exhaustion, destruction. Scenes that could come from a dystopian movie; Faces that are difficult to forget.

The parents are mostly illiterate. The daily wage, the equivalent of one to two US dollars, in the often illegally operated mines on the edge of the large coal fields is so low that even four, five or six year olds are forced to work. Many girls and boys are malnourished; they don't go to school.

The photographer: Supratim Bhattacharjee, India

© Supratim Bhattacharjee

Supratim Bhattacharjee was born in Boraipur near Calcutta in 1983 and worked in film production before becoming a photographer. Its focus is on environmental and human rights issues. He has reported from Bangladesh and Nepal, but above all he is concerned with the socio-economic situation in his home country, to which he dedicates long-term projects. Seeing the children of Jharia, writes Bhattacharjee, would not only have pained him. They were "a shock" for him.